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International Christian Visual Media

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ICVM grew out of a group of Christian film-makers and distributors that formed in the 1960's. Currently it has a membership of a couple hundred entities (individuals and companies) from 20 countries. The Catalyst Conference is the annual get together, usually timed to coincide with the Christian Booksellers Association conference, since ICVM delegates often attend both events.

Members are actors, writers, producers, distributors and others from the industry, and there is a dual emphasis on spiritual fellowship/formation and professional development. Among the workshop leaders and speakers have been Ralph Winter, Howard Kazanjian, Lee Batchler, Mark Fincannon, Phil Cooke, Jack Hafer and Ravi Zacharias. There are workshops on marketing, script-writing, legal issues -- various production- and distribution-related issues. The speakers are generally very accomplished (except for my marketing seminar this time around rolleyes.gif), and there is a very collegial atmosphere. The conference concludes with the annual Crown Awards, honoring the best in Christian film-making. The company I work for has been heavily involved for many years, so you'll find my comments skewed heavily in favor of ICVM. (Note: Crown Awards are not related to Crown Video.)

I would agree with the prevailing notion on this board that the overall quality of Christian films has been sadly inadequate (as a stereotype), but I love ICVM for the real mentoring and partnership that is changing that. I also appreciate the great range of talent, ability, cultural expression, and denominational affiliation. There will always be rank beginners with more dogma than skill, but there is a growing competance that is beginning to show up in our art.

Should you attend? I would say it's a great place for film-makers who are Christians who want to connect with others (for professional and spiritual purposes), and especially for those who are willing to contribute; we all have a lot to learn from each other.

In some ways I feel like this board expresses a certain contempt for Christian films -- or, more correctly, for the artlessness that has characterized them. Yet, I really wish many of you could be at ICVM to help elevate the view of great cinema and to plant high aspirations for artistic achievement (though that is already happening there to some degree). You have made an enormous contribution to my own appreciation of film, and I'd love to see ICVM place as much emphasis on beauty, mystery and elegant writing as on technical skills.

Hope that helps!

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Sounds good, and good to know!

It sounds like ICVM and Act One (i'm sure there are others) are working toward the same goal from different angles. And I think that's a good thing.

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