11 April 2019 | According to a news report from the North American Division (NAD) of the Adventist denomination, a record 265 student filmmakers as well as professors and others in the industry attended the Sonscreen Film Festival at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, on April 4-6, 2019. Out of 95 submissions to the festival (another record high), 57 were screened as official selections at the event which was organized by the NAD.

“Sonscreen continues to grow each year, both in film submissions and attendance,” said Julio Muñoz, director of the Sonscreen Film Festival and associate director of the NAD Office of Communication. “Last year we broke records with 61 student film submissions. This year we jumped to 95. It’s exciting to see the numbers increase, as well as the caliber of films continue to rise. We have a limited number of films we can accept into the festival — we’re glad we could extend from 47 last year to 57 this year.”

In the NAD report, Muñoz was also quoted as saying that the aim was for the festival “to be an inclusive community where the young filmmakers are affirmed as artists and feel safe to use their craft to truthfully reflect on the world they live in.”

Sonscreen has now been held for 19 years and has given young adult filmmakers the chance to share their films, network with peers and learn from professionals. The films featured at the festival were divided into animated short, art/experimental short, dramatic short, documentary short, comedy short, and high school short.

“I think it’s pretty huge to have the Seventh-day Adventist Church sponsoring something like this, a film festival,” said Nick Livanos, writer and director of Belly of the Whale. “Our church doesn’t have a long reputation of being a fan of the movies, so it’s remarkable [that] all these people see that film can be this meaningful tool for self-expression or sharing the message of Christ, or sharing a humanitarian story that just has weight and importance.”

According to the NAD, schools and students present at the festival included: Andrews University (Michigan); Burton Adventist Academy and Southwestern Adventist University (Texas); Hawaiian Mission Academy (Hawaii); La Sierra Academy, La Sierra University, Loma Linda Academy, Pacific Union College, and Redlands Adventist Academy (California); Plantation Seventh-day Adventist Church (Florida); Regent University (Virginia); Spencerville Adventist Academy (Maryland); Southern Adventist University (Tennessee); and Walla Walla University (Washington).

The 2019 Sonscreen award winners and official selections were as follows:

Best in Festival (tie)
Charlie | Sarah Martinez

Beep Bop Symphony | Christin Smolinski

Audience Choice Award
Beep Bop Symphony | Christin Smolinski

Jury Selection
Car Treble | Noah Dauncey

2019 Sonscreen Vision Award
Jay Stern

Dramatic Short
Charlie | Sarah Martinez (Best Dramatic Short)

Car Treble | Noah Dauncey (Honorable Mention, Dramatic Short)

Movie Night | Tommy Moen

Heavy | Javi Hernandez

6 Feet Under | Hann Shawn, Ilene Koeppen

Mental Drive | Taylor Walker

Touch | Brandon Walker

Pacman | Wesley Jin

Polarized | Michael Moyer

Origami Bull | Summer Medina

Distant Light | Brendon Wilson

Hear Me Out | Clayton Kruse

Stand Strong | Andrew Cathlin

Whisper | Rachel Ermshar

Documentary Short
Passing Through | Erik Harty (Best Documentary Short)

A Child of Apartheid | Stephen Allcock (Honorable Mention, Documentary Short)

• Black Barber’s a Lifetime Thing | Madai Villa-Coppiano

A Song About You | Justin McLaughlin

Alone | Madelyn Rogers

Alexis Howard Profile | Dillon Siok

An SM Is Many Things | Joel Wagness

The Voices We Don’t Have | Joel Wagness

The Land Bleeds Still | Anthony Matos

Vow of Silence | Brittany Danese

Comedy Short
Missing Sock | Joshua Trevilcock (Best Comedy Short)

Writer’s Journey | Brittany Danese (Honorable Mention, Comedy Short)

Old People vs VR | Sarah Martinez

Intramurals | Barbara Chavez

The Unhireables | Hailey Ausmus

How to Solve the World in 5 Easy Steps | Hailey Ausmus

Lumaberry Farmer | Andrew Hansen

Animation Short
Beep Bop Symphony | Christin Smolinski (Best Animated Short)

Drawn In | Kacey Lason (Honorable Mention, Animated Short)

The Button Fly | Richard Roberts

Thanks, Obama | Laura Garcia

Just My Luck | Chris Cartwright

Art/Experimental Short
Bridge the Gap | Joy Ngugi (Best Art/Experimental Short)

Halo | Leonardo Leoni (Honorable Mention, Art/Experimental Short)

Roads | Morgan Sanker

Skate | Cameron Gustman

KYUSS | Arik Amodeo

Agirlsitsaloneatadesk | Julian Ybarra

But Fellas… | Jordan Barnett

Perspective | Skylar Jacobs

Red Towel | Sarah Cabral

Fish Tank | Hann Shawn

Redemption | Piang Piang

You Are Loved | Brandon Cheddar

DACA and the Death of Dream | Daniel Martinez

High School Short
Why Do You Make? | Ethan Gueck (Best High School Short)

Fear | Brandon Cheddar (Honorable Mention, High School Short)

Discover Driving Pleasure | Alex Zheng

Recipe | Fiona Lin

There’s No Money in Flipping Cards | Hudson Struck

Suicide PSA | Abby Inostroza

Dear Big Brother | Kayli Pascal-Martinez

For King & Country – Joy | Lindsey Gispert

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