21st June, 2008
They tackle everything from the abolition of slavery, the plight of children living in Colombia, and the global sex trade through to the inspiring story of South African farmer Angus Buchan and the Biblical stories of Moses and Esther.
Such is the programme of the inaugural Faith On Film Festival, a joint initiative between national cinema chain Hoyts and film distributor Heritage HM.
COMING SOON: Scenes from Faith on Film festival movies - Top: Faith Like Potatoes; Middle - Walking On Water; and Bottom - Trade.
Amazing Grace (PG)
The story of eighteenth century anti-slavery crusader William Wilberforce. Read a review here.
Faith Like Potatoes (M)
Based on the true - and inspiring - story of Angus Buchan, the film follows Angus as he leaves his farm in Zambia to travel south to start a better life in South Africa.
Lord Save Us From Your Followers (PG)
A US documentary that explores the “collision of faith and culture in America”.
One Night With The King (PG)
An epic retelling of the Biblical story of Esther. Read a review here.
The Disposable Ones (Exempt)
A documentary based on the visit of former NRL star Jason Stevens to Colombia where, accompanied by representatives of Christian child sponsorship ministry Compassion, he witnesses firsthand the plight of children in the South American nation.
The I Heart Revolution (To be confirmed)
Filmed over 18 months, the film follows band Hillsong United as they tour the world.
The Ten Commandments (G)
An animated presentation of the story of Moses with star voices including Christian Slater, Sir Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina and Elliot Gould. Read a review here.
The story of a 13-year-old girl Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) who is kidnapped by sex traffickers in Mexico City and of her 17-year-old brother Jorge (Cesar Ramos) who sets out on a desperate mission to save her.
Walking On Water (Exempt from classification)
Bryan Jennings takes two young boys - Tyler and Luke - on a life-changing trip around the world where they meet former and current surfing champions.
The festival, which kicks off in Sydney on 12th July, showcases nine films, all of which have an aspect of faith to them, and even includes two world premieres - The Disposable Ones, a documentary which follows former NRL star Jason Stevens as he travels with Christian child sponsorship ministry Compassion to Colombia to see first hand the plight of the nations children, and the I Heart Revolution, a documentary which follows the band Hillsong United as they tour the world over an 18 month period.
The festival’s coordinator Fiona Pulford, a film programmer for Hoyts Cinemas nationally, says that the idea arose as the company began thinking about holding some sort of screening in conjunction with the Catholic Church’s upcoming World Youth Day, in which tens of thousands of young Catholics are expected to descend on Sydney from across the globe.
“Someone asked us whether we were going to do anything for World Youth Day or in conjunction with it,” says Ms Pulford. “And we thought it was a good opportunity, given we’ve already been working with Heritage HM film distributors - distributing some of their films throughout our exhibition circuit. (So) we thought, let’s give it a try.”
Ms Pulford says there seems to have been a big growth in interest in faith films around the world and says the company these days see a considerable level of enquiry about faith-based films.
“If you go online, there’s lots of really interesting stuff starting to happen,” she notes. “And a lot of it it really just about people looking at circumstances or events around the world and saying ‘Well, look, what can we do to change some of these circumstances or events?...”
“I think there’s a big demand for it. People want to see films that are inspiring and entertaining but are also good for the whole family. Probably Trade is the only film that you couldn’t take everybody to...but everything else is a great family film.”
Rod Hopping, of Heritage HM, says the festival recognises that there is more and better quality faith-based films now available than has previously been the case.
He says that while some of the films appearing warrant a release in cinemas, there isn’t always the opportunity whether it’s due to budgetary constraints or even the fact that there’s no 35 millimetre print of a film.
“This festival is a digital festival predominantly,” he notes. “Although we certainly will be screening some 35 millimetre prints.”
He says that while films like Amazing Grace have previously been seen in Australia, many of those who are coming from overseas for World Youth Day may live in countries where it hadn’t yet been screened.
Mr Hopping adds that five of the nine films in the festival have never been screened in Australia before and says that while the films have faith aspects to them, they will also appeal to a general audience.
Ms Pulford says Hoyts is hopeful that the festival will be an ongoing annual event.
“We’re really enthusiastic that this is something we can just keep going. We see it as an ongoing project.”
While the festival will be centred in Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter - nine films will be shown there over 12th to 27th July - a smaller selection of six films - including Faith Like Potatoes, The Disposable Ones, The I Heart Revolution, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, Trade and Walking On Water - will be shown at selected Hoyts sites around the country from 23rd to 27th July.
Hillsong United will appear on the festival’s opening night at Sydney EQ (tickets via Hoyts website or direct) and Jason Stevens will appear the following day to launch his movie, The Disposable Ones.
The Faith on Film Festival will be shown at the following Hoyts cinemas
12th to 27th July:
Hoyts Entertainment Quarter, Sydney
23rd to 27th July:
Hoyts Blacktown, Sydney
Hoyts Eastland, Melbourne
Hoyts Belconnen, Canberra
Hoyts Carousel, Perth
Hoyts Tea Tree Plaza, Adelaide