More than 450 church members from across Adventist Churches in Martinique gathered under a tent to screen 15 films during the first part of the film festival on June 30, 2018, held in Sainte Luce, Martinique. Image by Abel Márquez/IAD

July 9, 2018 | Sainte Luce, Martinique | Libna Stevens/IAD

Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventists in Martinique recently gathered to screen more than a dozen short films showcased during a Film Festival which 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 short film of 10 minutes or less that would convey a message of hope, bring awareness, or 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 Pastor Jean-Luc Chandler, communication director of the Martinique Conference, and main organizer of the event.

From Left to Right communication leaders: Pastor Williams Costa of the Adventist world church, Thelor Lambert of French Antilles Guiana Union, Sam Neves of the Adventist world church, and Jean-Luc Chandler of Martinique. Image by Abel Márquez/IAD

“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 Marquez 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, 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 most favorite film during the event, said Chandler.

The top prize went to the team from the Galaad Adventist Church for its film called “Fidèle” or “Faithful” which tells of a Christian man losing his job, his struggles, his Christian walk and how his faithfulness in God was rewarded.  Other short films touched on being a Good Samaritan, contained anti-violence messages, doing the right thing, and more.

Poster of the wining film produced by the group from Galaad Adventist Church in Robert, Martinique. Image courtesy of French Antilles Guiana Union

Communication Director for the Adventist World Church Pastor Williams Costa spoke during the festival and congratulated church leaders for the initiative to engage 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. Costa 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.

Pastor 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 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,” Neves said.

Church members from the Galaad Church celebrate their victory for producing the film “Fidèle” which took the top prize during the film festival, June 30 to July 1, 2018. Image by Abel Márquez/IAD

Pastor Thelor Lambert, communication director for the church in the French Antilles and Guiana Union and director of Esperance TV Interamérique, said the films will be featured on the church’s Hope Channel Inter-America (French channel) online which is based in Martinique.

Film festival winners received awards and new tools to help them in their filming productions. Plans are for another film festival next year.

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