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Home > Alumna Builds Second-Year Film Festival, June 11-12

Alumna Builds Second-Year Film Festival, June 11-12

June 7th, 2010

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

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Sarah Pride (Literature, '07; center) directs a short film with other Christian filmmakers from northern Virginia in 2009

Arriving at work each day at Patrick Henry College, Literature alumna Sarah Pride (’07) usually sports a laptop bag with a MacBook Pro and an external hard drive. It isn’t necessarily required equipment for her job as PHC’s web content manager and editorial assistant, but she occasionally needs them to address urgent video editing needs that arise.

In the past year, she has used the portable Final Cut Pro editing suite to produce a complete commemorative DVD of the fall Barbara Hodel Center dedication ceremony, as well as multiple videos for PHC’s website. She has also twice travelled to Mexico in recent months to chronicle on film the work of ministries in that country. And it is with some breathless wonder that she notes that next weekend (June 11-12) will mark the second year of her Moonlight Film Fest (MFF), an independent Christian film festival she has organized to showcase “the creation of excellent films that communicate beauty, goodness, and truth.” Sessions of the festival will be held both at PHC and at the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg.

Click on small brochure above for a larger version.

As a freshman, Pride took a screenwriting course taught at PHC by a faculty member from Act One from Hollywood, an organization that trains aspiring Christian writers to make an impact in the mainstream entertainment industry. This spring, seven years later, Pride contacted Act One to arrange a screenwriting seminar for her film festival and was elated to learn that Jack Gilbert, the same professor who taught her freshman course, would oversee the session. His two-hour story seminar on the morning of Saturday, June 12 from 9:30-11:30am in Nash Auditorium will introduce attendees to the art of writing scripts that work. Interested participants can register online for $30.

“Story is the center of film,” Pride explains. “Nobody in the Christian world teaches story more effectively than Act One.”

Three years ago, Pride had not touched a movie camera. But a series of events, including a change from a History to a Literature major prior to graduation and involvement with PHC’s student-led theatrical group Eden Troupe, began to redirect her love for the arts toward film.

“Thanks to PHC’s wide core curriculum, I knew how to attack a new discipline. And even more thanks to PHC, the College employed me,” grins Pride, whose work as the College’s webmaster and editorial assistant since 2007 has also allowed her to explore her passion for film.

In the process, she also credits a mentoring relationship with Advent Film Group founder George Escobar, who produced the movie Come What May on the PHC campus in the summer of 2007.

Pride directs a short film, Caught!, in 2008

“Film is such a difficult art form, involving everything from business savvy to people skills to technical ability to artistic talent of many different kinds,” Pride says. “Escobar’s kindness allowed me to catch the vision and see that even a ragtag collection of diverse talents can make film work.”

The idea for her own MFF grew slowly as Pride took stock of the condition of the Christian film industry and started an M.F.A. in Script & Screenwriting via distance learning from Regent University.

“I had big dreams for my stories, but a long road to go to bring them from page to screen,” she notes. “I have to learn my craft, and I have to meet others who are reaching for the same goals. Most of us Christian filmmakers are near the beginning right now. Why not grow together?”

This year’s Moonlight Film Fest features a Friday night panel discussion with John Ware (Founder and President of the successful 168 Film Project on the West Coast), Eric Highland (networker and founder of Christian-movie.com), and representatives from In Jesus' Name Productions and Regent University. Pride will webcast this panel, using the same technology PHC recently implemented for its Commencement webcast. On Saturday afternoon, she is showing short films from across the country at the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg.

“Looking back, I see how God has been training me for years to be able to do this,” notes Pride soberly. “God uses the weak things of this world to shame the strong. I am a weak thing.”

Find a schedule of events for June 11-12 and get involved on the Moonlight Film Fest website.

Click on the embedded video below to view an illustration of "Goodness" produced by Moonlight Media, LLC, Pride's production company, and scored by former PHC student Benjamin Fan.