Faith and Film Festival

Jan. 27-29, 2022

Concordia Seminary’s annual Faith and Film Festival is a gathering to screen and ponder Christian themes in contemporary cinema. Geared toward people interested in film and theology, the festival serves as an opportunity for participants to explore Christian themes in movies and develop eyes to see film in new ways. During the three-day festival, participants will watch films together and hear from theologians, pastors and film critics. Participants should be prepared to engage in challenging discussions about the ways in which the themes of redemption, reconciliation, mercy, grace and more are embedded in film.

Throughout the festival, participants will attend plenary auditorium screenings, as well as breakout sessions where attendees will have an option to choose up to three films, each with their own discussion moderator(s).

Continuing Education credits are available. This is a limited seating event.


Disclaimer: This festival is for adults only.

Registration

Registration: $100 (includes meals)
Registration deadline: Jan. 14, 2022
Registration option: Sponsor a Seminary student’s registration. (See registration for details.)

In accordance with current St. Louis County regulations, face coverings are required indoors for people age 5 years old and older regardless of vaccination status.


New in 2022! Short film contest

New to the Faith and Film Festival in 2022 is a short film competition based on the theme of HOPE. The competition was open to amateur filmmakers at least 18 years old. Films of any genre or style were accepted (narrative, experimental, animation or documentary). The submission deadline was Oct. 15, 2021. All finalists will be notified by Dec. 15.

The four films selected as finalists will be screened during the festival.


Schedule

Thursday, Jan. 27

Time Event Location
Noon-1 p.m.
Registration
Wyneken Hall Foyer
1-1:15 p.m.
Welcome
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
1:15-2:15 p.m.
Josh Salzberg

Someone Else’s Eyes: The Vocation of Film Editing

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
2:30-5 p.m.
Breakout Feature 1 (pick one)

Promising Young Woman - Dr. David Lewis and Heather Choate Davis
Moonrise Kingdom - Dr. Josh Hollmann and Seth Hinz
The Night of the Hunter - Abby Olcese
A Better Life - Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.

Various locations
5:15-5:45 p.m.
Dr. David Lewis and Rev. Geordie Denholm

Discussion on Movie Graces

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
5:45-6:30 p.m.
Happy Hour
Koburg Hall
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Dinner
Koburg Hall
7:30-10 p.m.
Auditorium Feature

(To be revealed the night of)

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

Noon-1 p.m.

Registration

Wyneken Hall Foyer


1-1:15 p.m.

Welcome

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


1:15-2:15 p.m.

Josh Salzberg

Someone Else’s Eyes: The Vocation of Film Editing
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


2:30-5 p.m.

Breakout Feature 1 (pick one)

Promising Young Woman - Dr. David Lewis and Heather Choate Davis
Moonrise Kingdom - Dr. Josh Hollmann and Seth Hinz
The Night of the Hunter - Abby Olcese
A Better Life - Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
Various locations


5:15-5:45 p.m.

Dr. David Lewis and Rev. Geordie Denholm

Discussion on Movie Graces
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


5:45-6:30 p.m.

Happy Hour

Koburg Hall


6:30-7:30 p.m.

Dinner

Koburg Hall


7:30-10 p.m.

Auditorium feature

(To be revealed the night of)
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

Friday, Jan. 28

Time Event Location
8-8:30 a.m.
Coffee and Refreshments
Sieck Hall Foyer
8:30 a.m-12:30 p.m.
Breakout Feature 2 (pick one)

Magnolia - Dr. Travis Scholl and Dr. Timothy Saleska
Into the Wild - Heather Choate Davis and Dr. Michael Zeigler
Boyhood - Dr. Phil Hohle and Jacob Youmans
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Josh Salzberg
(lunch will be provided during discussion session)

Various locations
1:15-2:15 p.m.
Short Film Contest

Screenings, Q&A with winners

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
2:30-5 p.m.
Breakout Feature 3 (pick one)

Promising Young Woman - Dr. David Lewis and Heather Choate Davis
Moonrise Kingdom - Dr. Josh Hollmann and Seth Hinz
The Night of the Hunter - Abby Olcese
A Better Life - Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.

Various locations
5-5:45 p.m.
Happy Hour
Koburg Hall
5:45-6:45 p.m.
Dinner
Koburg Hall
7-9:45 p.m.
Auditorium Feature

(To be revealed the night of)

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
10 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
After Hours Feature

The Big Lebowski - Dr. David Lewis

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

8-8:30 a.m.

Coffee and Refreshments

Sieck Hall Foyer


8:30 a.m-12:30 p.m.

Breakout Feature 2 (pick one)

Magnolia - Dr. Travis Scholl and Dr. Timothy Saleska
Into the Wild - Heather Choate Davis and Dr. Michael Zeigler
Boyhood - Dr. Phil Hohle and Jacob Youmans
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Josh Salzberg
(lunch will be provided during discussion session)
Various locations


1:15-2:15 p.m.

Short Film Contest

Screenings, Q&A with winners
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


2:30-5 p.m.

Breakout Feature 3 (pick one)

Promising Young Woman - Dr. David Lewis and Heather Choate Davis
Moonrise Kingdom - Dr. Josh Hollmann and Seth Hinz
The Night of the Hunter - Abby Olcese
A Better Life - Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
Various locations


5-5:45 p.m.

Happy Hour

Koburg Hall


5:45-6:45 p.m.

Dinner

Koburg Hall


7-9:45 p.m.

Auditorium Feature

(To be revealed the night of)
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


10 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

After Hours Feature

The Big Lebowski - Dr. David Lewis

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

Saturday, Jan. 29

Time Event Location
8:30-9:30 a.m. Cinematic Forms and their Impact on Faith and Communications in the Modern Era (virtual)
Joel Mayward
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
10 a.m.-noon
Auditorium Feature

(To be revealed the day of)

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
Noon-12:15 p.m.
Closing thoughts
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

8:30-9:30 a.m.
Cinematic Forms and their Impact on Faith and Communications in the Modern Era (virtual)
Joel Mayward
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


10 a.m.-noon

Auditorium Feature

(To be revealed the day of)
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


Noon-12:15 p.m.

Closing Thoughts

Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

Presenters/Moderators

Erika Bennett is director of Continuing Education at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. She has been making things happen in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod entities — at Lutheran Hour Ministries, Concordia Publishing House and now Concordia Seminary — for more than 16 years. Although the idea of Christian themes in non-Christian movies was new to her, her passion for lifelong learning led her to “greenlight” the inaugural Faith and Film Festival in 2020.

Dr. Gillian Bond photoDr. Gillian Bond is the director of Deaconess Studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. She grew up in England watching biblical epics, James Bond and “Star Trek.” She is fascinated by the common themes of deliverance and redemption in action movies and science fiction, whether they contain Christ figures or point to common cultural misperceptions of salvation.

Heather Choate Davis is a Los Angeles-based author, speaker, composer, creative director and co-creator of the Faith and Film Festival. She wrote screenplays long before she read Scripture or earned her Master of Arts in theology from Concordia University, Irvine, Calif. Coming full circle, her vocation now includes tearing down walls between the church and the culture with projects like these, as well as her newly released album, “Life in the Key of God.”

George “Geordie” Denholm is a Master of Sacred Theology student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and pastor at Emmaus Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Mo. A theater major from Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., he grew up on “Star Wars” (original and prequel: Don't hate!), “Harry Potter” (the books are better and proud Hufflepuff) and Marvel Cinematic Universe (X-Men first, but then Team Stark). Geordie loves discussing Christ imagery in film, often including it in his preaching and teaching, and introducing friends to his favorite film, “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Dr. Erik Herrmann is professor of Historical Theology, dean of Theological Research and Publication, director of the Center for Reformation Research and director of Concordia Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He thinks some books are better than the movie (e.g. "The Passion of Christ") and some movies are better than the book (e.g. "The Godfather").

Seth Hinz lives in St. Louis. For 12-plus years, he’s worked in communications within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for churches, schools, universities, districts and national ministries. As a StoryBrand Certified Guide, he works with nonprofits and entrepreneurs to develop narrative-based messaging and marketing strategies that move people to take action. He grew up on movies, video games and frozen pizza. Wes Anderson is his favorite director.

Dr. Philip Hohle teaches for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Southeastern University. He has presented and published several scholarly articles on viewers’ responses to movies. He is the author of The Filmmaker’s Prayer and Lenses, which serve as the curriculum for the two series he created to enhance film literacy within the movie-going public, including “Cinema and Religion” (with Jacob Youmans) at Concordia University Texas, Austin.

Dr. Joshua Hollmann is associate professor of Religion and Theology at Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn., a published author and is working on his second Ph.D. at Radboud University in the Netherlands. Hollmann is a Wes Anderson aficionado and regularly watches classic and foreign films. He is currently writing Theology and Wes Anderson for the Theology and Pop Culture Series with Lexington Books and Fortress Academic. He thinks movies like “Moonrise Kingdom,” “City Lights” and “Of Gods and Men” illumine the wonder of connecting viewers to Christian theology and spirituality.

Dr. David Lewis is associate professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Residential Alternate Route (RAR) programs at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. His passion for films is captured in the essay, “Cinema and the American Mind,” (The American Mind Meets the Mind of Christ). Having a film festival on campus has long been a dream of his.

Joel Mayward is assistant professor of Christian ministries, theology and the arts at George Fox University in Newburg, Ore. He received his Ph.D. in divinity (theology, philosophy, film studies) at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He is the theology editor for The Other Journal and is fascinated by the intersections of Christ and culture, faith and film, spirituality and the arts. If you’ve ever had a “spiritual” experience watching a film, you have a kindred spirit.

Dr. Joel P. OkamotoDr. Joel Okamoto is associate professor and chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology, and the Waldemar and Mary Griesbach Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. You can tell movies are important to him because he takes questions about his favorite movies as seriously as questions about his favorite desserts, records and philosophers.

Abby Olcese photoAbby Olcese is the film editor at The Pitch magazine, co-host of the “Cinemaholics” podcast and a contributor to the “Think Christian” website and podcast. She also is a freelance writer on faith, culture and film, with bylines at Sojourners Magazine, Rogerebert.com and /Film. She lives in Kansas City.

Dr. Timothy Saleska is a professor of Exegetical Theology and the dean of Ministerial Formation at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He thinks of watching movies as a moral activity that helps us empathize with others, and has a deep appreciation for films that stir us to contemplate the mysteries of grace and redemption at work in the world.

Joshua Salzberg, a St. Louis native, got his start as a filmmaker by working for Oscar-winning directors Ridley Scott and Alexander Payne. He went on to work in editing for film and television with credits that include Will Ferrell’s “Step Brothers,” Adam Sandler’s “Funny People” and Kristen Wiig’s “Welcome to Me” (National Board of Review Nominee). In addition to editing, Salzberg co-produced Demetri Martin’s “Dean” (Tribeca Jury Prize) and directed the feature documentary, “Walking Man” (Palm Beach Jury Prize, SLIFF Audience Award). Most recently, Josh has written the screenplay for the forthcoming adaptation of Arthur Miller's The Performance.

Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. is professor of Systematic Theology, the Werner R.H. and Elizabeth R. Krause Chair in Hispanic Ministries and director of the Center for Hispanic Studies at Concordia Seminary. He enjoys international films, especially in Spanish, including those exploring the intersection of cultures and worldviews. He is drawn to movies that depict complex and paradoxical characters, and raise questions about what is true, good and beautiful in a grim yet graced world.

Dr. Travis Scholl is the chief missions officer of Lutheran Senior Services in St. Louis, Mo., and the author of Walking the Labyrinth. He sometimes wonders if he will ever again witness a film as beautiful as “A River Runs Through It,” which also happens to be, in his opinion, the only movie that is just slightly better than its marvelous book.

Rev. Jacob Wampfler is a graduate of Concordia Seminary and has served congregations in Kansas and Arizona. He is a co-host of the Faith + Film Podcast, an Army veteran, a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a co-creator of the Faith and Film Festival. He currently works as a street outreach coordinator for the Phoenix Rescue Mission, serving people experiencing homelessness in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Phoenix Valley area. His love for film began as a young movie theater projectionist. He believes that we can see Jesus everywhere, especially in film.

Dale Ward photoRev. Dale Ward began making short films in middle school and continues his passion for movie making. He was the producer and executive producer for the Emmy-winning national talk show “On Main Street,” and currently is the senior media producer at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in video/film at Webster University in St. Louis. His other films include “Ragman,” “Walther,” “500: The Impact of the Reformation Today,” “There’s Something in the Basement” and “The 2 Sons and Their Crogzookles.”

Jacob Youmans photoJacob Youmans is the director of the Director of Christian Education (DCE) program at Concordia University Texas, Austin. He created, with Dr. Phil Hohle, the “Cinema and Religion” course almost a decade ago. Jake is a gifted teacher, speaker, missionary team leader (he has led and served on mission teams to every continent except Antarctica) and is the author of Talking Pictures: How to Turn a Trip to the Movies into a Mission Trip.

Dr. Michael Zeigler is the 10th Speaker of The Lutheran Hour, the world's longest running Christ-centered radio broadcast, and co-hosts "Speaking of Jesus," a conversational podcast about life centered on the story of Jesus. His book, Christian Hope Among Rivals (2017), explores the power of story to set up, upset and set in hope. He enjoys watching this power on display in film.

Additional Continuing Education Opportunities

Faith and Writing Workshop

Concordia Seminary’s “Faith and Writing” workshop explores various forms of creative writing — starting a blog, creating a sermon or devotion, “traditional” forms of creative writing (story, nonfiction, drama, poetry) — and everything in between.

Learn More

Lay Bible Institute

Calling lay people, students involved in homiletical education, pastors and others interested in the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world: the Lay Bible Institute is for you!

Learn More

Multiethnic Symposium

The Seminary’s annual Multiethnic Symposium brings together Lutherans and mission leaders of various ethnicities from across the country for workshops, discussions and worship.

Learn More

Pre-Lenten Workshop

The Pre-Lenten Workshop includes sermon manuscripts, textual notes, orders of service for midweek services and also suggestions for the Sundays of Lent to help pastors in developing their own worship resources.

Learn More

Theological Symposium

Parish pastors, LCMS district and Synod officials, Seminary and Concordia University students and faculty, and interested laypersons attend each year to delve into some of the most pressing issues of our time. One CEU is available for attending the Symposium.

Learn More

Workshop Series

Hosted by congregations across the country May through August, and led by Seminary faculty, these workshops offer an opportunity to delve deeply into topics ranging from the teachings of Martin Luther to pastoral tools, such as preaching, responding to conflict and teaching confirmation.

Learn More