Winners of the best documentary film called “Gracias Señor” (Thank you Lord) from the Central Venezuela Conference smile after receiving their award during the UVOFilm Cinematography festival held in Caracas, Venezuela, Oct. 1, 2022. The event was organized by the East Venezuela Union and drew in more than 300 people. [Photo: East Venezuela Union]

October 19, 2022 | Caracas, Venezuela | Steven’s Rosado and Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the East Venezuela Union recently held a territory-wide film festival where hundreds gathered to view more than a dozen evangelistic short films and celebrate their production. The event took place at Cultural Central Park Center in Caracas, Venezuela, on Oct. 1, 2022.

“We are breaking paradigms with these films prepared by our media teams across the eight conference and mission fields here,” said Hernavid Torres, film director for the East Venezuela Union. The cinematography film festival, coined as UVOFilms, becomes the first to feature 16 short films based on the parables of Jesus. The union held its first film festival in 2019 on a smaller scale.

It was important to hold the film festival to present the message of salvation in a different way, said Lenny Hernández, communication director for the East Venezuela Union. “This was all part of gaining experience to develop an audiovisual project 100 percent through and through, scout talent and give a boost to Venezuelan cinema,” said Hernández.

Pastor Lenny Hernandez, communication director for the East Venezuela Union speaks during the opening of the church’s UVOFilms Festival, Oct 1, 2022. [Photo: East Venezuela Union]

More than 130 script writers, actors, camera staff, editing staff and assistant personnel made up the various production teams which focused on one parable in the form of three categories: short film, documental or video clip style no more than 6:30 minutes in duration.

Venezuelan film directors

Among the judges was Luis Carlos Hueck, a successful Venezuelan film director, who congratulated organizers and participants for promoting messages of hope. “The message in your productions touched my heart,” he said. “What’s most important is the message you want to transmit to the world.” Hueck expressed his interest in taking part in future film events organized by the church.

Another successful Venezuelan film director and judge of the film festival was Edgar Rocca, who said that the Venezuelan cinema was going through a crisis and applauded organizers of film initiatives.  “I’m sure this is one of many UVOFilms editions and I would like to partner with the church as I too organize [film] festivals,” said Rocca.

Luis Carlos Hueck, a successful Venezuelan film director was one of the judges during the festival. He congratulated the church and participants for taking part in important the film festival. [Photo: East Venezuela Union]

Winners included the Central Venezuela Conference for its “Gracias Señor” (Thank you Lord) documentary film which was won for best photography direction and art direction. “La Llamada” (The Called) won as the best dramatization, best script, and best acting from the Central Llanos Venezuela Mission. The best documentary with the best sound, editing and set design went to “Lumbrera” (Lamp) documentary by the South Bolivar Venezuela Mission.  The South Central Venezuela Conference took the best video clip titled “Caminos” (Roads).

An opportunity to share the gospel

Jorge Díaz, who is screenwriting and film production professor at Montemorelos University and production assistant for Hope Channel Inter-America, was among the judges for the festival and spoke during training seminars days previous to the film event.  “The technological tools are not good nor bad, it all depends on their use and it’s time that we use films to advance the gospel.”

Díaz congratulated organizers and participants for inspiring others through their film projects. “It’s incredible how young people in the church are so involved and are excited because they see how this type of production is an opportunity to share the gospel,” said Diaz.  “The fact is when the church opens spaces for young people who have so much talent in the audiovisual world, it opens a new door so they can be useful for others to learn about the message of hope that we have.”

Jorge Díaz, screenwriting and film production professor at Montemorelos University, in Mexico, and production assistant for Hope Channel Inter-America speaks during the film festival in Caracas, Venezuela[Photo: East Venezuela Union]

The film festival is among the first to be held across the Inter-American Division’s union territory, said Abel Márquez, executive director for Hope Channel Inter-America. Márquez, who was also a judge for the festival, sent a congratulatory message during the event for the outstanding efforts in promoting creativity in production projects to share the message of the gospel.

“The fact that this event motivates persons who are not necessarily professionals in communication or cinematography, who are church members, pastors, administrators in local fields eager to learn new techniques and involved in such initiatives is a wonderful step in advancing the gospel to an audience that needs the only hope,” said Márquez.

UVOFilms an annual event

The event drew participation of so many church members earlier in the year when media teams were organized, said Pastor Hernández. Church leaders are already planning on making UVOFilms an annual event.  “We are challenging them to continue producing a message that can share hope and salvation,” he said.

A short film is featured during the cinematography film festival, Oct. 1, 2022. [Photo: East Venezuela Union]

President of the East Venezuela Union Pastor Jorge Atalido assured media teams of the church’s commitment to supporting evangelistic efforts through film projects. “We know that the world is moving faster towards destruction, and it is necessary to be creative in our methods to reach different persons,” said Pastor Jorge Atalido, president of the church in the East Venezuela Union as the event concluded.

To view the films featured during UVOFilms, click HERE

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