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LifeWay announces winner of first Short Film Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“The Stars” by Eric Herron has been named the overall winner in the inaugural eMediaLINK Short Film Awards.

Herron’s entry was among nearly 50 digital films entered in the competition sponsored by the e-business department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The 20-year-old from Decatur, Ala., will receive the competition’s top prize of a Canon XL2 Professional DV Camcorder.

Filmmakers chose from four categories — faith, hope, love and the plan of salvation — to submit films of under three minutes in length. Entries were received from around the country between August and December.

“We were thrilled to receive the breadth of short film entries we did,” said Michael Epps Utley, e-business marketing coordinator. “There are so many church media ministries and film students out there doing good work. It was tremendously rewarding to be a part of shining a spotlight on some of that work.”

Herron said he felt “really good” when he heard about his win. “I’m especially excited about the new camera,” he said, “and I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in this.”

Herron’s film, an entry in the love category, examined the memories of a man who once had realized the promise of God’s love while looking at the stars with his mother. When his mother tragically died, the boy lost sight of God in his grief. After finding his mother’s Bible as a teenager, he rediscovered God’s promise and eventually examined the stars and God’s love with his own son.

A panel of e-business judges narrowed the field down to 16 finalists, with four in each category. An online public vote determined the grand-prize winner, individual category winners and runners up. E-business personnel presented the finalist films for viewing online using LifeWay’s streaming video tool, eMediaLINK.

“The eMediaLINK service is the perfect platform for this increasingly popular form of storytelling and tool for ministry,” Utley said. “Online audio and video content are becoming more popular every day. The church needs to be there, whether through creative works or webcasts of Sunday sermons, telling the greatest story of all.”

Herron said he is glad his film can serve as a ministry tool. “Television and media play a big role in this generation, and churches need to change with the times.

“The basic message doesn’t change, but there are always new ways to get the point across,” he said.

Some of the 16 finalists will remain available online for individuals, churches and other ministries to view and use as ministry materials at no charge. The other final films will be integrated with the eMediaLINK service and available only to subscribers.

Utley said online video and audio are “powerful tools for reaching not only the homebound, but also for sharing the Gospel, letting people make a virtual church visit and even staying in touch with church members overseas such as men and women in the military.”

Each individual category winner received a 20 GB Apple iPod and a $100 iTunes gift certificate. Top winners by category were: faith, “The Power of Prayer,” by Masaru Horie of British Columbia, Canada; hope, “Job’s Eyes,” by Tim Sabic of Phoenix; love, “Baby Talk,” by Craig Bellaire of Rochester, N.Y.; and plan of salvation, “What’s Your Excuse?” by Mark Younge of Waipahu, Hawaii.

For a complete list of winners and runners up, to view several finalist films or to learn more about eMediaLINK, visit www.lifeway.com/emedialink.

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