Chris Vlahonasios is a law graduate from Victoria University and Orthodox media writer for TRANSFIGURE Media.
Are you a filmmaker? A film buff? Then you’ve got to check out Byzanfest. It’s one of the most unique events around as it’s an online short-film festival. They’re films which must show innovation, originality, and creativity. The best part – they’re all made by Orthodox filmmakers!
Byzanfest, now in its second year, is the world’s first Orthodox web short-film festival. In our current digitalized world, web-based festivals offer so many opportunities. The Festival is dedicated to telling our stories, our way. Byzanfest offers audiences the luxury of watching each of the 12 finalists in their own time, on any device, anywhere in the world. It brings digital story-telling and Orthodox phronema together.
Since 2014, Byzanfest has grown dramatically. This year, several physical screenings were hosted across the globe, including in California, Arizona, Ottawa, and Melbourne, Australia.
However, no two Festivals are the same. This year’s 12 finalists came from USA, Romania, Serbia, and Lebanon. Out of Oblivion, with its slick special effects, tells the story of a young man who battles with reality and illusion.
In Breathing under Water, a woman suffering from a mid-life crisis comes to know Grace.
Winegrower is the only film from Serbia. In it, an unnamed monk works tirelessly at a tiny, secluded monastery with an elderly monk. Through his toiling, he lives out the true meaning of Jesus’ parables. Winegrower was the first short-film made by Ivan Jović, the filmmaker behind the upcoming feature film, The Healing.
Another powerful film in the collection is Fear Not, made by the St. George Scouts Group from Lebanon. The film tells the true story of one elderly man’s dilemma when faced with death because of his Faith. It’s an especially important story to share as it’s all too common for today’s Christians in the Middle-East.
This year is perhaps best categorized as the year of documentaries. There are several fantastic films which explore the hard realities of lives many of us know nothing about. For Katy is a powerful story about one family’s daily struggle combating a rare disease, PKU. There’s also the beautifully shot Romanian film Beyond Art which perfectly encapsulates the dynamics between being a Christian and being an artist.
What perhaps makes this year’s Festival special is not the fact several groups are hosting live screenings or that more films were received, but the massive outpouring of support from the global Orthodox community. Over $3,000 USD worth of icons and other prizes were donated, and the venue of one of the Screening Partners even brewed a special beer for the night! These are all signs of a small idea growing and being nurtured by others.
You have until February 14th (American-PST) to vote for your Audience Favourite. To vote, go to the Orthodox Filmmakers & Artists YouTube Channel, click ‘Byzanfest 2015’ playlist, watch the films, then click the ‘thumbs up’ icon under the film you liked. The film with the most ‘thumbs ups’ will win. ‘Thumbs down’ do not result in a deduction of votes.
The films will still be available to view even after Screening Week, but you won’t be able to vote for Audience Favourite.
Please show your support for our Orthodox brothers and sisters who make films that tell our stories.
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+