Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival

We first learned of the Bare Bones film festival back in 2013 when Caleb Vetter mentioned in his Faith Flix interview that PAWN’S MOVE had won at Bare Bones and he’d had a positive experience there. So we submitted FLOWERS FOR FANNIE and lo and behold, got three nominations, and Patricia Binkley won Best Actress.

bare bones pat

Next we submitted THE GOOD BOOK and got two nominations and won Best Ensemble Cast. We were filming PROVIDENCE the week of the festival, but Apolonia Davalos represented the film at the festival and again, had a great time being recognized as a Bonehead (what they call the award winners).

bare bones apolonia

This year PROVIDENCE was nominated for six awards and we were excited to finally get to attend the festival. We were joined by Juli and Jeff Tapken, native Okies who had never actually been to Muskogee, Oklahoma.

We all had the idea that Muskogee would be a small town but were surprised that there was much more to it than we expected. We kicked off Saturday by checking out the cute little vintage shops along Main Street. We got to talk to the various shop owners and as we promoted the movie, we got to hear their stories as well. One couple balances their time between running a vintage clothing shop in Muskogee and working in the music industry in Los Angeles. Another owner races cars. Another store was holding a trunk show for a jewelry designer whose work is trending all over the country. Mine and Juli’s favorite, though, was the shop that had a shelf of free fabric. We each ended up with a bag of fabric to take home.

Untitled design (19)

One of the best parts of a festival is getting to meet fellow filmmakers and watch their films. We were privileged to watch several short films that screened right before ours. WITH OR WITHOUT used an unique approach of using split screen to show the impact of lives with or without God. NAME DROP was a hilarious film that was probably the most succient presentation of the gospel I’ve ever seen. It was short, to the point, and very well done. AMAZING GRACE was a short film about the story behind the famous hymn. I loved the way they combined cartoon style graphics and live action to create a fun little film that would make a great children’s tv show. SARAH’S FRIEND was a more serious film. It was intense and powerful. We were especially impressed with the acting of the young girl who played Sarah. She did an incredible job!

Following PROVIDENCE was another faith-based feature END OF THE TRAIL by Barry Tolli. What impressed us the most about this film was that not only did Barry play one of the leading roles, but he also wrote and directed, shot and edited the movie. It was filmed in a beautiful wooded park in California and he did a great job of capturing the exquisiteness of God’s creations.

While we didn’t get to watch their movies, we also were blessed to meet M. Legend Brown and Fred Keel, the filmmakers of A MAN CALLED JON and STREETS OF HARVEST.


The festival concluded, of course, with the awards ceremony. We were excited to see many of our new friends rewarded for their work. END OF THE TRAIL won Best Production Design, NAME DROP won Best Mirco Short Faith Film. A MAN CALLED JON won all kinds of awards. We were blessed to tie with A MAN CALLED JON for Best Faith Feature. We also were excited that our two young actors Emily Knapp and Chase Anderson each won acting awards.


We’re in the midst of film festival season, so much more festival coverage to follow. Next week is the International Christian Film Festival in Orlando where PROVIDENCE is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress – Juli Tapken. We’re unable to be there as I’ll be speaking at a Director’s Cut PROVIDENCE screening in west Tennessee, but Juli and Jeff will be representing Faith Flix and writing about it. If you’re going to be at the festival, be sure to look for Juli and pose for a picture.



About the Author Sharon Wilharm

Christian speaker, Sharon Wilharm, is a popular media guest, award-winning female filmmaker, and women’s ministry leader, whose faith-based films have screened in theaters, festivals, and churches around the world, and on multiple television networks. Sharon has recently taken over as women's ministry director at her church. Her passion is to lead prayer retreats, engaging women of all ages to pray with each other, for each other, praying with expectation.

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