Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventists in Martinique recently gathered to screen more than a dozen short films during a film festival that drew more than 400 church members across the island on June 30 and July 1, 2018. It was the first such film festival organized by the church in Martinique, to spike interest, promote collaboration, and generate positive competition in sharing the gospel visually among young people, organizers said.
Fifteen teams from 14 Adventist churches met the challenge to produce a film of 10 minutes or less that would convey a message of hope, raise awareness, or include a call to action.
“We wanted to use this festival to empower the young people, to encourage them to use modern technology, to use modern language to reach people,” said Martinique Conference communication director Jean-Luc Chandler, the main organizer of the event.
“This was a key event for the IAD,” said Abel Márquez, communication director for the church in Inter-America and director of Hope Channel Inter-America. The film festival is the first to be organized in the Inter-American Division territory, and one that Márquez hopes will inspire other countries in the territory to replicate.
Teams had to produce the entire film together, create a poster to advertise their short film, and submit and present it to the crowd of friends and fellow church members during the festival. A panel of judges chose the top spot, second place, third place, and a prize for the most creative film, while the audience voted for their favorite film during the event, said Chandler.
The top prize went to the team from the Galaad Adventist church for its film called Fidèle(Faithful), which tells of a Christian man losing his job, his subsequent struggles, his Christian walk, and how his faithfulness in God was rewarded. Other short films touched on being a Good Samaritan, doing the right thing, being anti-violence, and more.
Seventh-day Adventist Church communication director Williams Costa spoke during the festival and congratulated church leaders for the initiative of engaging young people to transmit a positive message around them.
“It’s wonderful to see that beautiful synergy of people, resources, ideas, all together producing materials that will inspire the church, call the attention of people, and create a link with the community,” said Costa. He added that the initiative needs to be followed in other parts of the world church, when leaders create opportunities such as a film festival for members to produce something meaningful to inspire others.
Sam Neves, associate communication director for the Adventist world church, praised local leaders for their support in engaging local members, teenagers, their parents, and those interested in coming together to make films to tell stories. “This is about total member involvement, where members are fully immersed in the mission of the church, each using their gift to spread the message of salvation,” he said.
French Antilles-Guiana Union communication director Thelor Lambert, who is also director of the church’s Hope Channel French-language station, Esperance TV InterAmérique, said the films will be featured on the TV station’s Web site. The station is based in Martinique.
Film festival winners received awards and new tools to help them in their film productions. Plans are being made for another film festival in 2019, leaders said.