Posts By: Cheryl Wicker
The 2013 CWIMA National Conference is now underway with a new home back at the national headquarters in Dallas. This seems to be a good move for the organization since registration has doubled over last year’s conference.
I arrive on Wednesday evening with a West Monroe friend, Sherry Peveto who quickly jumped in with both feet by volunteering to stuff goodie bags as I set up my booth for Christian Movie Connect and Premier1 Studios. Since I spent all my time planning for my social media workshop, I really didn’t put much thought into the booth, but it turned out pretty nice anyway.
The event did not officially start until 7 p.m. so after the 3 p.m. registration, the ladies were on their own for dinner or shopping, etc. Considering that our hotel is right next to the Galleria, which provided lots of option. I was joined by Rosie Koebele and Carol Doyel for dinner at the Grande Lux Café. Carol will be my co-presenter tomorrow but this was our first time to meet. What a cute and fun lady. We had a royal stuffing, dessert and all.
I sort of regretted I had such a hearty dinner because we were greeted with more food temptations at the Opening Night Connection and Reception! I must say this hotel has wonderful chocolate chip cookies! We started with a social time in small groups sharing our most adventurous moments. What fun stories we heard. These professional women have quite a spirit of adventure!
Our entertainment for the evening was Florence LaRue, who was an original member of the 5th Dimension. Wow, what a beautiful, dynamic lady. I think she’s been drinking from the fountain of youth because she looks fabulous!
The keynote speaker was one of my favorites, Sheila Walsh. Many know her from Women of Faith, a singer, speaker and former host of the 700 Club. One of her best qualities is her ability to be totally open and transparent. She shared her struggle with depression and how God brought her through as she encouraged women to be authentic and not be afraid to share what God has done in their lives. Sheila is always such an inspiration.
After the event, the ladies took their time leaving, making good use of the networking time and hanging out in the hospitality lounge with more…yes, FOOD! I passed on the food and made a quick trip to Walmart. On the way, I met someone new and totally hilarious, author, editor and speaker, Raschelle Laudenslager. She told us some of the craziest stories of stuff she’s done, like picking up the intercom phone in Walmart and announcing over that she was a customer needing assistance in Housewares! She said it was amazing how quick a response she got! She also told about running into the Today Show’s Matt Lauer and deciding to greet him with “Matt! Well, fancy meeting you here!” She never let on that they weren’t pals from the past and he never let on that he didn’t know her. What a character!
Tomorrow in the morning session, Ruth Graham will speak. That should be good. There will be two media seminars in the afternoon…one of which includes my own, “Putting the Power of Social Media and Blogging to Work for Your Brand” which I will co-present with Carol Doyel of LivingBetterat50.com. So if you want to get the scoop on how to use social media to its full advantage in your ministry or business, make sure to attend at 1:30 tomorrow.
Check back for more from the Christian Women in Media Association National Conference hightlights tomorrow!
The film revolves around baseball all-star Cory Brand, played by Elrod (CSI: New York, Days of our Lives and Men in Trees), whose life spins out of control following a DUI incident. Distraught, his alcohol related-troubles gets into his game and costs him an eight-week suspension from his team.
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Today is the closing day for the NRB Convention…Day 4! Wow, the time has flown but I am so tired, I don’t think I could last another day anyway. I had breakfast with my new Parables family to start my day.
Nick Vujicic, was the keynote speaker in the morning General Session. Nick is from Australia and was born without arms or legs. He has an amazing testimony which he shared with attendees. He has gone from someone who was bullied as a kid and tried to drown himself to someone who spends his life encouraging others and is the founder of Life Without Limbs. He reaches out to wounded hearts around the world and tells his story of “No Limbs to No Limits” as he brings a message of hope and healing.
My sister met me for lunch along with Fatima Eid of Crown Entertainment. Even though I’m in my own hometown, this is my first time to see my sister since I arrived.
We had an afternoon full of CMC interviews. From “The Identical” I interviewed executive producer Yochanan Marcellino along with the star, Blake Rayne who played dual roles of twin brothers as well as Erin Cottrell, known for the “Love Comes Softly” series. We saw previews to this movie last night and it looks really neat. We also interviewed Isaac Hernandez of Parables. I always have such a fun time interviewing Isaac. Our last interview of the event was with Jason Jones, founder and president of Movie to Movement and producer of “Crescendo,” a short film inspiring women to choose life and to raise funds for crisis pregnancy centres.
The closing banquet was one of the best I’ve been to in the three years I’ve been coming. They did a mini-version of the “Lord of All Tour” with classic contemporary Christian music artists Clay Crosse, Wayne Watson, First Call and Russ Taff. They first all sang one song each individually. I loved hearing Russ Taff singing “Praise the Lord” and First Call singing “Undivided.” but then when they all came together and sang “Lord of All,” it was simply amazing. This tour is the first time these legendary artists from the 80’s and 90’s have performed together. Loved it.
Joni Eareckson Tada was the keynote speaker. I have been listening to Joni on the radio for a long time but had never heard her in person. She talked about how hymns have helped her get through the hard times in her life. She started the evening with the audience joining her in a hymn and then as she told her story of ups and downs and how her faith in God has pulled her through, she would sporadically break into an acapella hymn. She has such a clear and beautiful singing voice and it was all so much from the heart. Her love for the Lord is so real. I felt totally refreshed. What a beautiful evening.
Overall, I think I can say, this was the best NRB for me. I’m looking for much increased exposure with Christian Movie Connect in the coming months because of this year’s NRB.
I want to say a public thank you to my crew: my videographer Harold Hay of Florence, KY a 30 year veteran in the industry who runs Media Missionary School and is currently working on his first feature film after decades producing television (The Zone, Victory Videos); and Kenneth Sutton, an editor from Ruston, LA, who worked with me on “Flag of My Father” and is now my new CMC editor. You all did a fantastic job!
The Christian Movie Connect coverage of the 2013 NRB Convention continues…I started the day with a meeting with my good friend Kathleen Cooke, co-founder of Cooke Pictures and wife of media guru Phil Cooke. This was a rather informal meeting…for lack of finding seats, we sat in the floor and talked while I ate my McDonald’s happy meal!
We also had a couple of interviews today. I met Chip Rossetti who is the writer, producer and director of “The Accidental Missionary at the “Redemption” screening last night and slid him into today’s interview schedule. This film will be released later this yet by EchoLight Studios. I ran into singer/songwriter/film producer Steve Taylor in the hallway and nabbed him for an interview. Steve was a very popular Christian rock star from the 80’s (“I Want to Be a Clone”) and a record label executive (Squint Entertainment) and now the producer “Blue Like Jazz” based on the popular book by the same name. We also interviewed Brent Martz, producer of “Not Today.” This movie is about sex trafficking. It screened last year at NRB but is now set for a limited release to theatres in April.
Steve Taylor taught a film workshop. He talked about some of the challenges in Christian filmmaking and how he used crowd funding to film “”Blue Like Jazz on Kickstarter.com. He told the audience to shoot for excellence. “If you do a mediocre work and it sell, you’ll become cynical. If it doesn’t sell, you’ll be broke. However if you do outstanding work, you will feel good about yourself and you will inspire others to excellence as well.”
The CMC crew had worked up an appetite so it was time to grab a bite to eat. I went for my daily slice of pizza on the NRB Special! We were joined by Matthew who serves on the Film Committee of the NRB board. We philosophized about how to make a relevant Christian film until the dancing fountain started up which pulled me away. How incredibly spectacular!
The official NRB activities ended with “Night of Entertainment which featured Dennis Swanberg, Chonda Pierce and Michael Jr. and the Nate Terry Band. I laughed until I cried. The comedians were all great. This was my second time to see Chonda and Michael Jr., however I’ve sort of lost count for Dennis Swanberg, especially if I count his sermons when he used to be my pastor at First Baptist Church of West Monroe…they were often quite funny too!
One big event I look forward to every year at NRB is the ICVM ice cream social. This is a super fun networking event for film professionals. It serves as an opportunity to introduce ICVM to NRB attendees and is sort of a reunion for regular ICVM’ers…but I missed it this year because of the comedy night. I’ll be there next year.
Watch CMC’s 3rd day at the NRB here.
Tomorrow is the last day. The schedule is starting to catch up with me but I’m not ready for NRB to end! More news tomorrow.
Wow, what a busy day we’ve had at the NRB Convention today. Today started with a meeting with Jared Geesey of ChristianCinema.com. This is a week for major announcements…there is more excited news for Christian Movie Connect to share! ChristianCinema is motion picture production and distribution company which also provides movie news. They will now be adding Christian Movie Connect as one of their content providers. They will also be syndicating my National Christian Movie Examiner.com column. We’re growing folks! Thanks for supporting us and joining us in the journey.
With a burst of energy I then began my interviews for the day. We interviewed husband and wife filmmaking team, Wes & Amanda Llewelyn. They are producers on the popular TV show “It’s Supernatural.” What a fun interview. I also interviewed Brian Wells, creative director of Walden Media Theater. Other interviews include George Escobar of Advent Film Group about the epic historical drama that is about the French and Indian War, “Alone Yet Not Alone.” I had a chance to see an advance screening of the film in Nashville last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Can’t wait to see its release. We also interviewed Joseph Simpkins, producer of “Adrenaline,” Nicole Abisino, producer of “The Investigator.”………. Six clothing changes later, we wrapped the interviews for the day!
Each day, we shoot a video update from NRB. Today we did the report from the Exhibit Hall and checked in with Chris Rogers and company from CDR Communications who produced “For the Glory.” You can see today’s update here.
This evening I caught an advance screening of “Redemption” by EchoLight Studios. This is a very neat film that will be enjoyed by family and can be used effectively outreach to those who seeking.
Then another very late night screening of a documentary by George Escobar. It was a 20 minute preview of the documentary he is working on. A very interesting project indeed.
Well, got a day full of workshops planned for tomorrow. Check back.
Christian Movie Connect descended upon the 2013 NRB Convention & Exposition in Nashville today with a light snow falling outside (beautiful). This is our third NRB…in fact CMC actually was born here in 2011 where we shot our first interviews. Isn’t it fitting that CMC should be bumped to the next level two years later at NRB! (keep reading for the details!!!)
The NRB Convention is a great place to network with professionals in your industry, learn and be encouraged. If you’re not familiar with NRB, check out my Examiner article here.
I started the day by meeting with the CMC crew, my good friend videographer Harold Hay of Media Missionary School and editor Kenneth Sutton, whom I worked with on “Flag of My Father.” Kenneth is also playing stills photographer this week as well. We got our game plan knocked out and then proceeded to our first interview with Gary Zelasko of Greg Laurie’s Harvest Ministries. Nice to see Gary again. He shared with us about his newest project “Hope or Hurting Hearts featuring the stories of Greg Laurie, Nick Vujicic and Jeremy Camp.
I also managed to grab a workshop today with filmmakers Wes and Amanda Llewellyn entitled “How to Win a Film Festival.” They gave a lot of helpful tips to filmmakers. Here are two high points I picked up: (1) Write your script based on your resources and (2) treat your cast & crew well, esp. if you don’t have a big budget. He said to pretend you’re having a big party and shooting a movie at the same time. I like that and couldn’t agree more!
It was great running into friends…some I haven’t seen since last year’s NRB event. I was so neat to see a group of my friends from the Christian Women in Media Association, including Tracy Mitchell and Robin Bertram.
The General Session featured Pete Briscoe of Telling the Truth Ministries and Senior Pastor of Bent Tree Fellowship as well as Raul Ries, Pastor and Radio Host of Somebody Loves You Ministries. I also enjoyed the performance of Christian singer/songwriter Cindy Morgan and Andrew Greer perform.
The evening wrapped with an Industry Reception. There are options for various industries but i chose to attend TV and Film, of course. By the way, this is the first year NRB has officially included film as a category….good to see. This gave me a chance to make some new acquaintances with film people, including Nicole Abisinio of Gabriel’s Messenger Films. She has a neat project coming out soon that she will share with me in an interview tomorrow.
Now here’s the really exciting news…[drum roll]…Isaac Hernandez had spoken to me at the International Christian Visual Media Catalyst Conference in Orlando last summer about picking up Christian Movie Connect on Parables TV. It’s taken awhile to get this wrapped up but the contract was signed tonight at NRB. This is a huge opportunity for us since Parables is a 24-hour Christian movies network and is also aired on some of the largest Christian networks in the world as well. This will greatly expand our audience. So be looking for us soon on Parables. You can go to Parables.tv to learn more about how to watch.
You can also watch Day 1 of the NRB Convention and Exposition here.
MeThinx Entertainment has brought together a formidable production team and a superb cast for an action-packed yet family-friendly film, The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone. The film, which producers said will captivate the hearts of the young and the old alike, will hit the silver screen on March 1, 2013.
Bill Muir, who is the president and chief executive officer of MeThinx Entertainment, is the director, producer, and writer of The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone. The film is based on the series of fictional novels of the same title also written by Muir. A new version of the novel, which Muir has co-written with New York Times bestselling author Alex Kendrick, will also be released next year in time for the film’s showing. The film’s cast include Alex Kendrick (Courageous, Fireproof and Facing the Giants) and Mark Dacascos (Iron Chef, Hawaii Five-O).
To read the full article, go to http://www.examiner.com/review/new-film-touches-base-with-moviegoers-of-all-ages. For more information about the movie, go to http://thelostmedallion.com/.
I got a chance to see an advance screener of “The Lost Medallion” and thoroughly enjoyed it! I’m hoping it makes a big splash in theaters. Make sure to support this film by buying a theater ticket!
I am looking forward to meeting the producer, director and writer Bill Muir at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, March 2-5 in Nashville. “The Lost Medallion” will be screening at this event and I will be interviewing him for Christian Movie Connect. Be looking for it!
Two of the film’s couples are actually married, Producer/Actor David A.R. White and Andrea Logan White and Executive Producer/ActorAnna Zielinski and Matthew Florida. Much of the characters’ stories mirror Anna Zielinski and Matthew Florida’s own marriage struggles. Anna explains, “When you get married, you want that fairy tale…that love that lasts for a lifetime…that happily ever after. You go the altar and you take your vows and you say those things, but do you really mean them? I started to question that, especially when our issues starting popping up.”
To read the rest of the article, click here.
Although my late night hours do not allow me to start my day until a bit later, each day at the International Christian Visual Catalyst Conference (ICVM) begins with prayer at 7:45 and worship and praise at 8:30!!! A bit ambitious for me!. I began the day with coffee break which led into morning seminars on production by Writer and Director of “The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone,” Bill Muir, distribution by of Vision Video and Tim Willson of Crown Entertainment, and a Scene Shop by Director Bart Gavigan. I participated in the scene shop since with a small acting role (and even got a nice critique by Bart). I was particularly impressed by Bart because for any of the attendees who spoke to him at the end of the class, he also prayed blessings over them.
Today’s lunch had no speaker which was meant to give attendees more time for networking. That worked well so people networked for several hours until the “Speed Meet.” Speed Meet is where participants exchange their project ideas, business cards, trailers, demos, and headshots, etc. with six minutes for each conversation. You have to talk very fast so I keep a bottle of water handy. The good thing is you meet more people in a short amount of time then you could possibly meet on your own.
The last event of the evening was dinner at Sea World and then attending the park. Although I had never attended Sea World before, I really didn’t think I would like it. However, before the night was over, I had changed my tune!!! We had a blast. I took my tour with Steve and Rosie Koebele, Kay Gish, and Gerald Wallens which included the Wild Artic. This allowed us to see an adorable polar bear and be “kissed” by a walrus (through the glass). The other fun part of this event was accidentally taking the “helicopter ride” instead of walking. We weren’t really flying but it sure felt like it…and it was one adventurous, turbulent ride. I was screaming like I was dying and kept my eyes closed most of the time. But when we decided to do it a second time, I was much braver…well, sort of braver anyway! Shamu Rocks was a spectacular event. Wow!
We arrived back to the hotel as Alex Kendrick of Sherwood Pictures (Courageous, Fireproof) was arriving…that was an unexpected surprise. I have lined up an interview with him on Christian Movie Connect for tomorrow. Now that should be fun. Alex hung out in the lobby with the late night group and was also joined by Dave Christiano of the Christiano Brothers (7th Street Theater, The Secrets of Johnathan Sperry).
**Fireworks at Seaworld and Speed Meet courtesy of Mr. Worthington.
Day 2 of the International Christian Visual Media Catalyst Conference (ICVM) was an exciting one. Lots of great seminars, including evangelist Luis Bush, writer and filmmaker Bart Gavigan, and filmmaker Bill Muir and many others. Bart Gavigan known for “End of the Spear” and “Luther,” taught on “The Thriller Genre” where he gave tips to writers on creating great characters and telling a story that creates suspense. Thriller is a genre that Christians often stay away from making because of misconceptions about the genre in the Christian community. However, Gavigan told writers, “If you have been called to the world, know that you will be an outcast. You will live the life Jesus lived.”
Tim Willson of Crown Entertainment was the lunch speaker, with the topic “Icons and Symbols” which was a very in depth historical and philosophical look at religious symbols in Christianity. He urged attendees to “Let your life be a monument of the goodness and glory of God.”
The afternoon Directors Cut was a showing of “Undaunted” by Moolit Pictures and DBM Films, a docu-drama about Josh McDowell’s childhood and sexual abuse. Unfortunately I missed that running another very important personal errand…going to the beauty shop!!! Unfortunately and fortunately, the hairdresser spilled color on my shirt so I got a discount and free product. It was an old shirt anyway so that wasn’t a bad deal. He he!
Author Jerry Jenkins, known for the “Left Behind” Series was the keynote speaker at dinner…and then afterwards I was able to interview him for Christian Movie Connect. What an honor to meet this talented author who has written over 175 books. He also owns Jenkins Entertainment which has produced “Hometown Legend” and the award-winning movie “What If.”
Another “Popcorn Movie Night” and tonight I was able to make my own six minute presentation where I featured a Christian Movie Connect promo video as well as the 3D animated book trailer I produced for “Quest of the Keys” by Scotty Sanders. It’s great being able to share your projects and learn what everyone else is doing.
I also interviewed Chris Rogers, president of ICVM today. Of course, I offered him an interview last year but could never find him when it was time for the interview. I accused him of “hiding” from me but he assured me that was not the case! Ha ha! I enjoyed hearing the story behind ICVM from Chris who’s been a part of the organization since the beginning…and he shared about his movie “For the Glory,” which releases later this year.
After the last event, I had some fun “girl time” back in the hotel room with my roommate, Fatima Eid of Crown Entertainment and our friends Marcy Grams of Blacksmith Productions, Rosie Koebele of Koebele Media and Heidi Habben of CRASH+SUES. Then on to the lobby to write my blog…
I think one of the highlights of my day just might be hanging out at 3 AM with such an illustrious group of film professionals which consisted of Brad Mix, of Crown Entertainment, music composer David Silverman, Bobby Downes of ChristianCinema.com and Echo Light Studios, Isaac Hernandez of Parables TV, Rick Garside of Side by Side Films, Chris Morrow of Echo Light Studios, and producer Kurt Tuffendsam. Conversations vary from the serious to the ridiculous at this time of the morning as Brad Mix demonstrates how to “take off his thumb!” And if you find this entertaining, all I can say is … thumbs up!
**Photos taken by Mr. Worthington!
The 2012 International Christian Visual Media Catalyst Conference (ICVM) is in full swing. Held at the Double Tree Hotel/Sea World in Orlando, Florida, the conference runs from July 10-13. I arrived on Monday evening, just in time for the Ice Cream Social for international and early arrivers. It was great seeing everyone, but as fun as that was, it may have taken a back seat to the ‘make-your-own-sundae’ bar. Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve built a sundae! I should have taken a picture but my camera was still packed in my rental car!
The days leading up to this event consisted on many late night “work parties” and one all-nighter. So, in my state of excessive sleep deprivation, I called it an early night on Monday. With today being the first official day of the conference with the first event starting at 5:00 p.m., it gave me some time to catch up on some things I couldn’t get done before leaving home….you know, important stuff like a manicure and pedicure!
The first event today was a meeting of producers and distributors as well as a meeting of writers and actors. I went to the producers/distributors group and we all gave one minute introductions and then mingled. This was followed by dinner with keynote speaker, Luis Bush. Known as the “Billy Graham of South America,” Bush’s topic was entitled, “Raise Up a New 4/14 Window Generation to Transform the World.” The “4/14 window” is the term for the age demographic of 4 to 14 which happens to be the age most receptive to the Gospel. Luis encouraged media professionals to follow the example of Jesus in their ministries.
“Popcorn Movie Night” followed dinner which grants attendees a six minute time frame to highlight their projects: movie trailers, demo reel or just six minutes in the spotlight to talk about their film. I stepped away from the event for a few minutes to shoot a Christian Movie Connect “man-on-the-street” interview with attendees. Make sure you look for the daily podcasts from Christian Movie Connect over the next several days.
Incidentally after my “man-on-the-street” interview, we hung out until almost 1:00 a.m. I enjoyed talking with producer Bobby Downes and Jarred Geezy of ChristianCinema.com and Echo Light Studios, as well as Chris Morrow of Echo Light Studios, Paul Vander Niet of Neema, a film distribution company in the Netherlands, and actors Jerry Gill and Gerald Wallens. Gerald is an evangelist who ministers while portraying the role of Jesus! So there were many jokes at the table about “breaking bread with Jesus” and the like.
Today’s activities made me look forward to another action packed day tomorrow. Make sure to come on back and get an inside peak into ICVM!
Christian Movie Connect (CMC), an online Christian video podcast hosted by film producer and media personality Cheryl Ariaz Wicker will be bringing an up close and personal look into the 37th Annual ICVM International Conference. This event will be held at the DoubleTree/Seaworld Hotel in Orlando, Florida from July 16 – 18, 2012.
CMC will be giving viewers a daily dose of the freshest happenings via a daily video podcast of the previous day’s events at the ICVM Conference starting July 17. CMC features in-depth interviews with top profile personalities in Christian filmmaking. Joining this year’s ICVM, the CMC team is joined by award winning and Emmy nominated San Diego documentary filmmaker Patrick Rea as videographer and editor. To read the full article, click here.