Christian Orthodox filmmakers from all over the world can submit their short and feature-length films to the fifth edition of Byzanfest Orthodox Film Festival. The competition accepts films made in the Orthodox ethos. The productions can be sent online until August 23, 2020.
Byzanfest aims to promote Christian Orthodox filmmakers because film serves as a highly effective medium for evangelization and brings spiritual beauty in art, which it makes available to a global audience.
The event is initiated by Transfigure Media, organization coordinated by Chris Vlahonasios, a Christian Orthodox from Melbourne, Australia.
He chose the name of the festival to honor the legacy of the Byzantine Empire, the longest empire in history, which lasted over a millennium. It was “a place of great wisdom, art and Faith”, says the organizer. “The spirit and values of Byzantium shine out in the works of Orthodox Christians in the Digital Era”.
Designed as an online festival, Byznfest has not been affected by the pandemic restrictions. Films will be screened online for a period of two weeks in October this year.
Feature-length films will be part of a program where audiences can ‘rent’ the film online. All money raised from rentals will be shared equally with filmmakers.
Nominated and awarded films can be viewed on the Youtube channel of the festival. Two documentaries submitted in last year’s edition were focused on Father Nicolae Tănase and the community from Valea Plopului village in Romania. One of them was nominated for the Best Documentary award:
The other one actually won the award for Best Documentary at the 2019 edition. It tells the story of the Valea Plopului villagers who rebuilt their church destroyed by the earthquake. It was during the communist regime, when building churches was not authorized, so the whole community, young and old, worked together, mainly at night, unintimidated by the authorities:
The festival accepts submissions from professional and amateur filmmakers, without age restrictions. The films do not need to be religious, but they need to be created in an Orthodox spirit, say the organizers.
Last year, the Best Film award went to a Serbian teenager, Jakov Popov, aged 14, who sent an animation short-length film in the competition: