This seems to be a year for new film festivals. Hollywood Divine International Film Festival is a new Christian film festival kicking off this fall in Pennsylvania. Director Mark Den Bleyker gives us a behind the scenes glimpse into the festival.
Introduce yourself and your role with the festival.
I’m Mark Den Bleyker and I am a filmmaker/actor/realtor/entrepreneur and now Co-Founder and Director of the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival. Along with my co-founder Jameson Hesse we have started a Christian based Faith/Family film festival hosted at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, PA.
What was the inspiration to start the festival?
The inspiration behind the festival really comes from the desire to create and enrich community around some of our passions…God and film. We love films, TV and music and as filmmakers ourselves we want to build something meaningful for other filmmakers, industry amateurs/professionals, and anyone else who loves to be engaged by visual storytelling.
What is your goal for the festival?
The goal is very similar to the inspiration behind it. To create community, as well as, encourage, support and inspire faith/family filmmakers in their passion to create meaningful content that will not only entertain but effect and challenge audiences in their spiritual walk and world views. Through that community, we hope to provide an outlet for filmmakers to bridge cultures through spirituality and to promote the arts through independent film and music. As a result of this, we are hoping to be a part of the change that will, at least, balance out the darkness spread by mainstream Hollywood and the music industry, and give independent filmmakers and musicians the chance to build their ministries by displaying their art to the world.
What are you looking for in film submissions?
We are looking for films that are uplifting and encouraging toward the human experience; stories of love, faith, sacrifice, determination, brokenness, and the miraculous; stories that will challenge one’s thinking about who God is as well as who you are and who you were made to be. We believe God is in all of us and he is working through us whether we believe in Him or not.
What distinguishes Hollywood Divine International Film Festival from other festivals?
We desire to be different from other festivals in that we are Christian based, yes, but not just exclusively for Christians and Christian audiences. We believe God can work through anyone and by using one of the most powerful mediums available, we can help artists speak to the world in ways they couldn’t before.
What can attendees expect at the festival?
Being our first year we are hoping this will be the start point of a truly amazing event with areas to explore all types of films, speakers, workshops, vendors, and music. Attendees will hopefully be part of a gathering of people who genuinely want to engage in what God is doing in the “entertainment” world. Specifically we will also be screening exclusive content from the upcoming Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox/Warner Bros. film Breakthrough staring Chrissy Metz and Topher Grace. There will be a special Q&A with the real life Pastor featured in the movie played by Topher Grace, Pastor Jason Noble. We are working on adding more special guests and content every day, so stay tuned.
We believe that creating art, in any form, is a reflection of God. It’s one of the best ways to praise God and share his infinite love with the world.
Our festival will run October 11&12, 2018 at Christian Life Assembly, Camp Hill, PA.
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