Film academy proves rewarding

Tyler Slawson, Contributing Writer

It was July 22 as my friends and I were strolling along the conference center in Orlando, Fla., where we had just won first place for our film “Relentless.”

“So, Tyler Slawson, now that you have won the award, what are you going to do next?” my friend asked, impersonating a reporter.

“I’m going to the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Academy,” I responded confidently. And I certainly did.

On Oct. 24 I flew out of Love Field, bound for San Antonio and unaware of what to expect. I woke up the next morning at 6:30, ready to see what the Lord had in store for me.

I arrived at the convention center shortly before 8 a.m. I followed the signs with arrows to go and check in for the week. For the few people I passed on my way, all they probably could say is that I was beaming. I had been waiting for the Academy since I had heard about it in October 2009.

I had no trouble making friends. I had made three before the first lecture.

I knew already this was going to be a great week.

The Academy was intense to say the least.

Classes began every morning at 8:30 and ended about 9 in the evening, except for the second day on which classes ended at 11 p.m. I heard some very deep and fascinating lectures by world-renowned Christians in the world of film.

Some of the more notable speakers were Kirk Cameron, known for his role in the show “Growing Pains” and more recently for his role as Caleb in “Fireproof”; Stephen Kendrick, co-writer and producer of “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof”; Oscar-nominated composer Bruce Broughton; David Cook, author and screenwriter of the upcoming film “7 Days in Utopia” starring Robert Duvall; and many successful graduates of the Academy.

It is simply amazing what God can do. These people would not be where they are now without God.

People came to the Academy from all over the world, including some from New Zealand who quickly became my friends.

It was their first time outside of their tiny island country, and they came for the same purpose the rest of us did: to see what God can do in the film industry.

After the Film Academy concluded, the latter part of the week was the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. I was able to attend screenings of some great inspiring films.

Christian Films have come so far.

Lord has blessed me with many experiences in my life, but I can honestly say the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and Christian Film Academy has been one of the greatest blessings so far.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

So, as I sit here and reflect back on my experiences in San Antonio and where God is leading me, all I can do is sit back and smile because I know our God is an awesome God.

And as I think about the Christian film industry as a whole and where it’s going, a quotation from “Facing the Giants” comes to mind: “Get off the tracks because the freight train’s coming.”