Day 1 of Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival

Pitching Hope cast and Cheryl Wicker at Gideon Film Festival
Gideon Film Festival at LifeWay Conference Center

LifeWay Conference Center in Ridgecrest, NC

The 4th Annual Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival is now underway in the beautiful mountains of Ridgecrest, North Carolina. I left Monroe, Louisiana on Thursday night, went through Nashville, TN to spend half a day with my family and rendezvous with my assistant Donna Botts from Kentucky. Donna worked with me at NRB earlier this year. We make a great team and are excited to work together again. Just remind me not to ask her to choose our hotel next time! Our stay in Knoxville last night at the Super 8 Motel was not the ideal choice. I’ll spare you the details but by time we arrived at the LifeWay Conference Center, it looked like an elegant 4 star hotel…It may not be 4 star but the accommodations really are very comfortable and aesthetic despite the bears. Yes, there was a bear sighting today by Francine Locke and Vanessa Ore! I missed out on this adventure. All that I’ve personally seen is a raccoon!

168 Film mini-shoot at Gideon Film Festival

168 Film mini-shoot at Gideon, credit: Sandra Hope

Some of those who arrived early to the conference participated in a 168 Film mini-shoot, “Second Fiddle” produced by Gary Voelker  and Paula Wood, directed by Christopher Shawn Shaw, written by Paul Spite, with Arledge Armenaki as director of photography. I was booked as an extra in a reporter role (a bit of typecasting, huh?) but unfortunately did not open my email soon enough to get my call time. Donna and I slept in late this morning, realizing it may be the last full night of sleep we will get until the conference ends. So don’t be looking for me (in this movie anyway!) So much for my big acting career!!!

It took me all afternoon to get checked in, unpacked, and organized for my day so I missed the showing of the film “Cutback,” winner of the People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the San Diego Christian Film Festival. So what could take so long, you ask? Well, when you bring 3 outfits per day that adds up to a lot of stuff to unpack! Not that I normally wear that many clothes in one day but with so many on camera interviews this week, I needed a pretty extensive wardrobe. So if any size 6 women run out of clothes this week, just look me up…I have plenty to share!

General Jerry Boykin speaks at Gideon Film Festival

General Jerry Boykin speaks at Gideon

I attended my first faculty meeting at the Gideon. It was great seeing friends from last year’s Gideon at this meeting…many of whose workshops I attended last year, like Katrina Cook, Torry Martin, Bonnie Johnson, and Angela Walker. It’s exciting to be on the faculty this year…and a little nerve wracking with all of my media activities, but I’m ready to pack it all in and have a great time.

The keynote speaker this evening was General Jerry Boykin, who was a commander of the Delta Force during Black Hawk Down. He is now a professor at Hampden-Sydney College and author of “Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom” and co-author of “Danger Close.” General Boykin challenged Christians to do everything they can to be bold in their faith, saying that “If the church will rise up there is nothing the enemy can do to stop us.

Pitching Hope cast and Cheryl Wicker at Gideon Film Festival

Pitching Hope cast with Cheryl Wicker at Gideon

Two exciting features at tonight’s film festival are “Pitching Hope” written, produced and directed by Tony Mendoza, starring Tim Perez, Joni Adahl, and Anita Cordell. It has the lead character competing in an underground, high stakes game of horseshoes to regain her funding for school. Very well done and very inspiring! The second movie is “Courage, New Hampshire” written and directed by James Patrick Riley, produced by Jonathan Wilson. It is a one hour TV movie starring Alexandra Oliver, Nathan Kershaw and Basil Hoffman and featuring Gary Moore who was present for the Q&A following the movie.

Rodney and Lori Marett in interview with Cheryl Wicker

Rodney & Lori Marett interviewed by Cheryl Wicker of CMC

Christian Movie Connect interviewed the actors from “Pitching Hope” as well as festival directors Rodney and Lori Marett. Looking forward to another fun-filled day tomorrow. Stay tuned to keep up with the rest of the week at Gideon. Lots of great things in store!


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