by Michelle Cox
Have you been wondering why YOU should attend the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival this year? There was an awesome discussion about Gideon last week on Facebook and I wanted to pass some of the comments along because I think they might help some of you who haven’t attended the conference and film festival yet to understand why the Gideon Conference & Film Festival experience is something you don’t want to miss.
When asked about how the cost of Gideon compares to other film festivals, Lori Marett (Gideon co-director) replied “The Gideon is 1/3 film festival and 2/3 conference. Unlike other film festivals that screen films from morning til evening, we offer workshops from 9:15 am – 5:15 pm, and then screen our films in the evening and have a Q&A following with cast and/or crew. Compare our rates with any other Christian or secular conferences and you will find we are comparable with their fees.”
So what do you get for your money from the Gideon experience? Co-director Rodney Marett says, “Well, let me tell you some stories. Have you seen October Baby? The writers for this story met at the first Gideon. They didn’t know each other before then. The film Meant to Be, it just came out, is written by my wife, Lori. She got the gig from meeting one of our faculty members the first year of Gideon. His name is Torry Martin. He in turn introduced her to another writer, Marshal Younger. When a director from LA wanted Marshal to write his next film, Marshal couldn’t do it, so, he and Torry talked about it and introduced the director to Lori. These are just a couple examples of what goes on at Gideon and I could go on with many other examples but I think you get the point. Hope that clears some things up for you.
Gideon attendee Jurgen Beck shares, “I want to chime in on what Rodney and Lori have stated, but from the perspective of having attended the Gideon. Depending on your location and how well-connected you are, the Gideon’s main focus as an individual involved in filmmaking or media is not the festival, as wonderful as it is. The true gem lies in the networking opportunities and the ability to start lasting relationships with folks in the industry. As you know, in our industry it truly matters who you know, and especially who you click with. Gideon is an opportunity to do this over the course of several days with a chance to get to know some of the people that may be influential in your career either now, or down the road. And of course, vice versa is the case as well. There may be people who can learn from your experience and expertise.”
In the vein of the MasterCard commercials: “Participating at the Gideon? Priceless!”
From my own perspective as both an attendee and a faculty member, I think you’ll discover that Gideon is unusual on many levels. I’ve never been around people who are more loving and giving. Often in this industry, people are super protective of contacts and information, but at Gideon there’s such a sweet spirit of helping and you’ll often see people who are tops in the world of screenwriting and making films who will sit with a newbie sharing their knowledge and skills. Or you’ll overhear comments like, “Oh, I need to connect you with __________. I think they could help you.” You’ll discover that Gideon isn’t just a conference, it’s a family.
The faculty is phenomenal and the classes are so informational and presented from a faith-based perspective. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see many of the faith-based films before they release. I’ve seen some amazing networking take place at the conference and seen results that are literally touching the nation and the world.
Gideon pulls in some impressive instructors, including Dr. Ted Baehr – media critic, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Movieguide and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission; Brian Bird – writer, producer, Touched By An Angel, The Shunning, Saving Sarah Cain; Michael Catt – Sr. Pastor, Sherwood Baptist Church, Executive Producer, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous; Dr. Linda Seger, writer, author, one of the top script consultants for Hollywood; Todd Starnes, radio host, news personality, author, host of Fox News & Commentary on Fox Radio; Phil Vischer, voice actor, writer, songwriter, director, puppeteer, producer, creator of VeggieTales; Ken Wales, actor, producer, executive producer, Amazing Grace, Christy, Revenge of the Pink Panther; Muse Watson, actor, NCIS, Prison Break, End of the Spear; and the list goes on and on.
John William Doryk says, “I’ve attended and taught at many world class secular and Christian conferences and film festivals and have found the folks at Gideon to be warm, welcoming, and have a great spirit of sharing and teaching while keeping both their doctrinal standards and caliber of production quality in teaching and screening high.”
For Lori and Rodney Marett, the Gideon Conference is a labor of love. They direct the Gideon year after year because “the body of Christ tells us this type of venue is so desperately needed.”
Jenny Cote shares, “In addition to all the above, you will find a bastion of supporters who will rally behind your work. In this industry, what a rarity to find a group of fellow soldiers who seek to partner with excellence to lift fellow soldiers up. And we have a ball together – it’s not just work, but a lot of fun play!”
Now, seriously, don’t you want to be there with us in Orlando this July? Register for the conference through the website and then get ready to watch God do big and amazing things at the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival.