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Past Sonscreen Winners on Filmmaking, Faith, and the Festival


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The 2016 Sonscreen Film Festival award winners

The 2017 Sonscreen Film Festival is just around the corner! This year’s festival is being held at Loma Linda University in California on April 6-8. Special guests include Bill Mechanic, Debora Galloway, and Terry Benedict. More than 35 official film selections will be screened during the festival, and awards in multiple categories will be presented on the final evening.

Here’s a look back at what a few 2016 award winners had to say about filmmaking, faith, and the festival itself.

Ben Josse, Best Sound Design: “Film is a powerful thing. It can reach a lot of people. . . . I think just finding ways to target the Adventist audience with films that are effective but also push at boundaries in the sense that they start dialog that on [topics] we need to talk about within the church and such. People want to be entertained by film, but it’s also a popular dialog-starter and communication tool. I think just finding ways to make good, quality films in the Adventist system that have good stories and get people talking is important—and maybe we can talk about lots of other things.”
Emily Mastrapa, Best Screenplay: “Winning an award at Sonscreen really meant a lot to me. I think the most amazing thing was seeing and hearing so much positivity towards my work. I went to Sonscreen not really knowing if people would understand or like my work. It was encouraging to see that people both understood and liked it enough to give me an award for it. I was not expecting to win for Best Original Screenplay at all. . . . I’m not great at expressing myself in person, so I turn to film. People were able to see my voice through my film and I think that’s amazing. 
"Sonscreen is such a great festival because you’re surrounded by people that have the same values as you and are your age. This festival is such a wonderful place to make friends and possible future collaborators.
"It was extremely encouraging to hear some church leaders speak about young adults working in the media. I remember [NAD President] Dan Jackson talked to us about that quite a bit. . . . I think it’s cool that I can go to a film festival filled with people my age and still hear about what’s going on within my church."
Zack Josse, Best Sound Design: “The great thing about film is that it gives us the opportunity to cultivate amazing stories that can reach peoples’ hearts and open a dialog. I think there are enough clever people in our church and denomination where we can make awesome things to reach out to people outside of our faith and bring them closer to Christ. That’s what the Great Commission is in Matthew—to go out into all of the world and share in His good news and with film—and not just with film, but with the Internet—we can do that way easier as opposed to Peter, James and John who had to go and walk everywhere. We can make an inspiring little ‘doc’ or a ‘short’ to open a dialog or to show our faith, show who we are and what we’re about, and put it on the Internet and share it with people—short content that speaks may be more effective than a month-long evangelistic series.
“One thing that I really appreciate from watching something that’s well-written or well-made is asking a question after I’m done with this piece: What now and what do I do with this information, what am I supposed to learn, what did I get out of it? We have this message that we wanted to share and that’s Jesus Chris so making content that opens dialog and asking the question for outreach I think that’s very important.”
Want to learn more from other filmmakers, including this year’s award winners? It isn’t too late to register for the 2017 Sonscreen Film Festival (onsite registration is available). Click here for more info.

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