Concordia Seminary’s first Faith and Film Festival was a success Jan. 23-25, with 75 participants representing 16 states attending the gathering. Geared toward people interested in film and theology, the festival served as an opportunity for participants to explore Christian themes in movies and develop eyes to see film in new ways.
Festival attendees had the opportunity to view five films out of the 11 presented, each with its own discussion and moderator. The movies included “The Rider,” “Coco,” “Mother!,” “The Way,” “The Florida Project,” “Children of Men,” “Leave No Trace,” “Ben is Back,” “Lars and the Real Girl,” “Arrival” and “First Reformed.” Most of the titles were revealed on the festival’s first day to enhance the communal viewing experience.
One participant, Ron Wright, drove from New Orleans to attend the festival, which was a Christmas present from his family. “I cried when I opened it,” he said.
Another participant, Rev. Michael Feldmann of Salem Lutheran Church in Salem, Ill., said he attended to gather some insights for the youth in his congregation, who he leads in film viewings, discussions and Bible studies.
Presenters and moderators included Dean of Theological Research and Publication Dr. Charles Arand, Director of the Residential Deaconess Program Dr. Gillian Bond, L.A. writer and festival co-creator Heather Choate Davis, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Professor Dr. Philip Hohle, essayist Rev. Joel Kurz, Assistant Professor of Exegetical Theology Rev. David Lewis, Kansas City-based writer Abby Olcese, Professor of Exegetical Theology Dr. Timothy Saleska, Managing Editor of Theological Publications Dr. Travis Scholl, co-host of the Cinema Bros podcast and festival co-creator Rev. Jacob Wampfler and The Lutheran Hour Speaker Dr. Michael Zeigler.
KFUO Radio also held a live broadcast from the festival and interviewed Lewis, Zeigler and Director of Continuing Education Erika Bennett.
The Seminary is thankful to the two sponsors of the festival: Lutheran Hour Ministries and the Lutheran Church Extension Fund.
Save the date! Next year’s Faith and Film Festival is set for Jan. 28-30.