The Power of Film (Even a Very Short One)

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making a film

Recently, I had the privilege of being invited to be one of ten judges for the “Film Your Faith” video contest, sponsored by Faith Counts. Contestants submitted a two-minute video that somehow dealt with the subject of “faith.” The winner, Kyle Churchwell, who created a film called “Faith is Knowing,” got a healthy $20,000 prize. You can  watch it here:

An additional $10,000 went to the “fan favorite” (assuming that we judges weren’t fans, I guess). That went to Cooper Anderson, who made a video called “Shameless.”

When doing radio interviews or public speaking, I often point the power of media, both from positive and negative perspectives. Of course, the former really jazzes me whether it’s people turning spare bedrooms into prayer closets (because of War Room), saving babies (Alison’s Choice) or making first-time decisions for Christ (Jesus Film).

Along those lines, I found out that the film that took home grand prize this year also reaped an unexpected positive outcome.

Churchwell’s winning film focuses on a young woman named Tori who was, almost literally, thrown out with the trash. Her biological mother put her in a garbage can after Tori was born, and when her biological brother found her hours later, she was blue from lack of oxygen and covered in ants. She wasn’t expected to live, but she did.

It’s a remarkable story already, but one that becomes even more remarkable after the filming stopped. My friend Julie Fairchild, who helped represent the “Film Your Faith” contest, wrote the following:

The young girl in that video, Tori Welford, came to the Faith Counts award presentation with the filmmaker, Kyle, and a bunch of his family members. … Tori told me that the Faith Counts video being posted on Facebook was passed around, and a man in [Tori’s hometown] watched it 20 times.  He had known the infamous biological mom who knew many men, and when he saw Tori’s baby picture in the film short, he compared it to his own, and realized he could be her father.  He contacted her and offered for her to take a DNA test.  She did and sure enough, he was her dad.  Since they saw the film online in July, and then got the results that confirmed it, Tori has seen her dad and siblings three times. It goes to show the power of film, and that we never know who will be touched by a project we work on.  Had this video not been a finalist, it would never have happened.  God is good.

Yes, He is. All the time!

Who wrote this?

Bob Waliszewski is the director of the Plugged In department. His syndicated "Plugged In Movie Review" feature is heard by approximately 9 million people each week on more than 1,500 radio stations and other outlets and has been nominated for a National Religious Broadcaster's award. Waliszewski is the author of the book Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids With Love, Not War. You can follow him on Twitter @PluggedInBob.

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