Family Drama JOE238 Takes Top Prize at Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival Image

Family Drama JOE238 Takes Top Prize at Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival

By Henry Eshelman | February 10, 2023

Everywhere you looked at this festival, there were signs of excellence that belied its size. From the programs to the passes, the look and feel of all the festival indicia were first-rate, a constant surprise that attracted me to the festival in the first place. It might seem silly, but its remarkable fit and finish speak volumes. The tickets and directional signage look great. The pre-roll screen was gorgeous. The clips and events went on without a hitch. There was always someone nearby to cheerfully answer questions and lend a hand.

A Baylor college professor who started in TV production and who also owns a marketing company, Dr. Lindsey-Warren promises that was no accident. “I’ve spent years honing and refining my team, and many have been with me for ten years,” she says. “My production head puts on shows at the Kennedy Center, for example.” With that team, precision, and discipline in hand, the Festival has recently started a Nigerian edition and plans a festival of works from HBCU educational institutions.

Waco significantly advances the concept of what a family and faith film festival really can be. “It’s come a long way from ‘Sunday School on Screen,’ Lindsey-Warren says. Most significantly, the family and faith genre embraces impact filmmaking: the concept of filmmakers and films acting as agents for positive social change. “At their best, all faiths hope to improve the social condition—with many underpinned by a commitment to charity, service, and compassion. It’s our hope to bring more of those films under our umbrella.” Lindsey-Warren stretched the traditional boundaries of the genre in other ways too, screening films with sci-fi, magical realism, and educational elements. One film, Nathan Scoggins’ WHAT REMAINS, was billed as a murder mystery and was Anne Heche’s last film.

l-r Talk Back Moderator, Dr. Terri Woods Campbell, MD, and Raising Faith Filmmaker, Stacey O. Irwin and Her Daughter. Photo by Sybilka Storie.

“Waco significantly advances the concept of what a family and faith film festival really can be…”

Scoggins served as my wingman, faith-based translator, and believer. He commented, “The Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival is seeking to do something new by specifically engaging filmmakers interested in faith in a bold and contemporary way. It was a pleasure to meet other like-minded colleagues and dive into deep conversations, all against the fast-developing Waco backdrop.”

Friday morning, under the guidance of Sidney Warren, self-styled “Minister of Fun” and co-founder of festival presenter the GB Lindsey Family Charitable Fund, 40 golfers—fortified by copious amounts of Dutch Bros. coffee and H.E.B. box lunches—bravely set off in 36-degree temperatures for the 3rd annual Celebrity Golf Classic, presented by Greg May Honda. As the wind initially strafed the golfers under “very wet conditions,” Team H.E.B. emerged victorious with a better ball 11 under par 61; The Dutch Bros. team came in second with a 71 as the temperatures warmed up to a balmy 55 degrees.

The bulk of the festival programming took place Saturday, beginning with Waco’s first annual “Pitchfest” hosted by Courtney Parker, President of LostNThought Productions and Senior Executive Consulting Producer of Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for A+E Factual Studios. Parker patiently took well over a dozen pitches from aspiring reality TV show creators. It was a revealing and fascinating exercise that went on for three hours, washed down with Raisin Cane’s fried chicken fingers and (VERY!) sweet tea nicked from The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder presentation downstairs in the Hippodrome, the only one of Waco’s grand early 20th-century entertainment palaces to survive. While Parker said there were few new ideas—but rather only different ways of presenting them—the winning pitch came from Brenda Self, titled, “The Releaser,” based on her own experiences in a job that prepares inmates to leave the prison system. Self won $250 and a Shopping Agreement with Parker’s LostNThought Productions in Hollywood. At the end of the pitch session, Courtney told her suitors: “I can’t imagine doing my job WITHOUT faith, and neither should you.” With thousands of pitches landing in front of development executives and acquisition people each year, how could it be otherwise?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon