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Video contest strives to make Hollywood holy

Hollywood is often accused of being an influential bastion of immoral ideas and behavior.

Rather than simply criticizing it, FOCUS decided to do something about it.

The Colorado-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students and the Dynamic Catholic Institute partnered to sponsor a video contest for young adults to create videos that can impact and shape modern culture positively.

“Hollywood is an easy target, and yet it’s not enough to criticize it,” said Cliff Shiepe, a Los Angeles author and advisor to the contest. “We must be part of the solution.”

Imagine+Nation is a contest to give filmmakers aged 18-30 a creative outlet to express the true, the good and the beautiful found in Christ and the Church.

“This project is about raising up young storytellers in response to the new evangelization,” said Shaun Garrison, marketing and music specialist for FOCUS. “It’s to be able to show the world in their own unique voice what is good, true and beautiful about their Catholic faith and to reinvigorate the arts.”

The idea began after Dynamic Catholic president and CEO Matthew Kelly and FOCUS president and founder Curtis Martin and other lead Catholics discussed ways for faithful to use their talent to share the message of the Church via modern technology.

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FOCUS has found that many young adults leave the Church by age 23. The nonprofit works to reach these fallen-away Catholics primarily through relationships and new media, Garrison said.

Shiepe, who worked for Walt Disney Studios, was enlisted to advise the video contest.

He said the arts may serve as a way to worship Christ.

“We were created in the image of the creator. If you think about it, creation or the art of creation reveals the heart of the creator. That’s especially true in the visual arts,” he said.

Even one film has the power to change lives and give glory to Christ.

“Great stories can change lives for generations,” Shiepe said. “And the heart behind this is to use our resources to fulfill this call of the new evangelization.”

FOCUS is accepting video submissions from now until March, which will be judged by a panel of celebrities: Steve McEveety, executive producer of Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ; Matt Maher, an award-winning musician; and Eduardo Verastegui, actor in Bella.

Videos selected for first, second and third place will receive a $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 cash prize, respectively. There will also be a people’s choice award after a selection of videos is posted on the FOCUS website.

Ultimately, the contest is intended to give aspiring filmmakers a platform to express their faith.

“I think it’s less about the actual video and more about raising up the next generation of filmmakers,” Shiepe said.

Video submissions should be between 2 to 8 minutes and will be judged on their originality, creativity, effectiveness and ability to be compelling to young adults. Videos may be submitted in one of three categories: narrative, documentary or artistic.

“If anyone likes to make films, I would encourage them to go to our website and sign-up,” Shiepe said.


More about the Imagine+Nation video contest

A video contest for young adult filmmakers to actively create a beautiful work that impacts the entertainment culture in a positive way.
Submissions of 2-8 minute video accepted between Dec. 31 and March 15. Categories include narrative, documentary and artistic.
Judging criteria include how compellingly the video conveys its subject matter, the originality and creativity of the presentation and the effectiveness in reaching young adults.
Visit www.focus.org/imagine for details.


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