The 2014 NRB has already exceeded my expectations and it’s only Day 1. There are so many new aspects of the conference, beginning with a first ever pre-conference, Digital Media Summit. I attended that and was overwhelmed with the level of speakers: top representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google. It was a plethoria of information ready to give ministries, organizations and companies an edge in the digital world!
Also new this year is a big film emphasis. The NRB added a film committee led by Movieguide’s Ted Baehr. There is now a film educational track, film screenings, film networking events and even a film Pitch-A-Thon where filmmakers can pitch their films to distributors.
Another really neat thing about this year is that my sister, Leah Ariaz Waite, and her 15 year old daughter, Miranda, are on my crew. Other than the fact that my sister is causing a bit of confusion as my lookalike, she is doing a great job as an associate producer and my niece is quite a little photographer! Also glad to have Kenneth Sutton from Monroe, LA, back on the crew. We also had the pleasure of joining up with friends Denny and Sandy Brownlee for lunch. I was interested to learn about their work in the new field of transmedia and was excited to learn of Sandy’s recent appointment to the Nashville Film Television Transmedia Council.
Because our decision to attend NRB was a last minute decision, we only a handful of interviews booked, going in, and none booked for the first day. However, we began booking on the fly and ended up doing seven interviews today. We caught up with comedian/actor Brad Stine who was promoting his new film, “Persecuted,” due for release in May. I also spoke with the writer/director of the film, Daniel Lusko, and producer, Jim Higgins, who also plays the role of the President of the United States.
The ever-busy, Gary Moore, who was recently seen on “House Of Cards” and whose award-winning film “Return to the Hiding Place” will also be releasing in May, graciously spent a few minutes chatting with me about several of his projects. Other interviews you can expect to see soon on Christian Movie Connect podcasts are Andrew Walkington, a UK director whose recent critically acclaimed film, “For Love’s Sake”, was funded by Vision Video. Also, I spoke with Tracy Trost and Scotty Curlee about “Letting Go”.
Good friend, Francine Locke, also took time to talk to me about her recent roles. Her leading role in the film, “Stand Your Ground“, had much success in its initial run in 17 cities. A wider release is scheduled later this year.
The evening event was the installation of the new NRB president, Jerry Johnson. The keynote was Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Michael W. Smith provided the entertainment. Also, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett presented about their upcoming “Son of God” movie. I can hardly wait to see the screening scheduled to be seen at the convention this weekend.
The evening was topped off with the industry receptions. What can be more fitting for “topping” off the evening than a scrumptious sundae bar? Am I a foodie? Yes! It was a fun ending for a day filled with family, food, filmmakers, films, and friends. More to come later…