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Online voting begins for Short Film Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—The final phase is underway in the “Short Film Awards” competition sponsored by the e-business department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The contest, now in the voting stage through Feb. 14, began last August when the LifeWay unit issued a call for entries –- and filmmakers from coast to coast responded with enthusiasm.

To view the films and vote, visit www.lifeway.com/emedialink.

The awards coincide with the introduction of a streaming media tool called “eMediaLINK,” LifeWay’s new service for churches to have audio and video on their websites.

“We are very pleased with the number and quality of the films submitted,” said Michael Epps Utley, e-business marketing coordinator. “It is exciting to see the calling to tell stories on the hearts of so many creative people.”

Nearly 50 entries were received during a five-month period, ending Dec. 1. A panel of judges in e-business narrowed the field to 16 finalists. Those filmmakers’ entries are now online for the general public to judge.

“There was such a variety of submissions, including animation, personal testimonies, documentaries, dramas and more,” Utley said.

Contest rules stated films could be no more than three minutes in length and should address one of four possible topics: the plan of salvation, faith, hope or love. Utley said e-business received films in each category, but directors most frequently entered films about salvation and hope.

“The story of Jesus Christ and the hope of our faith as Christians is perfect for film, even short film,” Utley said.

Beyond awarding prizes — including a professional digital camcorder and video editing software — to aspiring filmmakers, Utley said the Short Film Awards provide Christians with important evangelistic tools.

“We hope these films, and perhaps submissions to future contests, will have an impact for generations to come,” Utley said. “In a society where truth is often considered relative, provocative and honest expressions of the Gospel will find a footing in the hearts and minds of the lost more than debates over facts.”

After the winners are announced Feb. 17, Utley said e-business plans to continue making the films available on eMediaLINK for churches, individuals and other ministries to download and use as they see appropriate.

“The culture is online,” Utley said. “Churches need to be there, too. Placing audio and video clips online, even whole sermons, is a great way to engage the culture and touch lives.”

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