BYZANFEST 2019 – Nominations2 August 2019
THE THRONE OF ST SAVA (Serbia)
In an era of great unrest, St Sava focused on finding a way to bring peace to the people through the Church.
Nominated for BEST FILM
CHRISTMAS ANTI-FABLE (Greece)
Set in an alternative retro-future, the world’s worm species is dying leading to impending massive ecological collapse. Who will be the one to save them and the whole world?
Nominated for BEST FILM, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST SCREENPLAY, BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Icons have always been vital to the Orthodox Christian, providing the connection between the person and the Divine.
Nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY
THE MIDDLE WAY (Canada)
Jasper searches a way where he can both front a rock band yet still live a deeply spiritual life.
THE LONELY INVENTOR (USA)
Joe Archimedes is a brilliant mind, but he’s yet to solve that ‘big empty spot’ in his life.
Nominated for BEST SCREENPLAY
UNDER THE ARCHANGELS’ WINGS (Romania)
Two students research the history behind their church after it was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1970s. Despite living under Communism, the priest & people risked their lives to rebuild their church.
Nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY
A man buys a drone capable of controlling the weather, but does it live up to the hype?
Nominated BEST FILM, BEST DIRECTOR & BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
A CUP & BREAD (USA)
While praying in church, a man hears the voices of the saints who counsel him through his troubles.
THE MAKING OF ORTHODOX WOODEN ICONS (Canada)
In a remote village in Romania, a woman works day & night on the art of sacred wood carvings.
THE GLOATER OF NOTRE DAME (Serbia)
A response to online discussions that the Notre Dame fire was divine punishment for the sins of the French people.
FATHER TANASE’S SANCTUARY FOR THE HURT (Canada)
Located 150km north of Bucharest is a sanctuary for vulnerable women and children.
Nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY
THE ALTERNATE (Australia)
A mysterious guide walks the delicate line between our dimension and a parallel world.
Nominated for BEST DIRECTOR & BEST SCREENPLAY
What is Byzanfest?
Established in 2014, Byzanfest is the world’s first and only online festival that screens short-films made by Eastern Orthodox Christian filmmakers. The Festival will go live from Sunday 21st July until 4th August 2019, running concurrently with venue screenings which are hosted by Global Screening Partners (GSPs).
As the world’s media and entertainment have become increasingly on-demand and interwoven with social media, Byzanfest saw the opportunity to venture into an emerging concept: the online festival. New and innovative, such an event is not limited by the physical constraints of traditional venue-based festivals. Byzanfest looked ahead towards the future of entertainment and wanted to engage globally with both Orthodox and non-Orthodox audiences. The Festival encourages interactivity where viewers can share through all social media platforms. The Festival showcases films which reflect Orthodox Christian themes, beliefs, culture and values, as well as being artistically creative. It is worth mentioning all funds raised from this Festival will go towards funding small individual Orthodox film and art projects.
The name ‘Byzanfest’ is in honour of the great Byzantine Empire, a place of wisdom, art and faith. Although it may no longer exist, the mindset and values of Byzantium are embodied in the creative works of Orthodox Christians in the Digital Era.
Byzanfest is an initiative of TRANSFIGURE MEDIA, an online organisation that specialises in showcasing, distributing, networking, mentoring and funding the creative works of Orthodox filmmakers and artists. The primary goal is to prove to artists and the world that someone who lives the Orthodox faith can integrate that phronema flawlessly into their creative process. Just as Christ transfigured before three of His disciples to reveal His Glory, may we through art express Christ and transfigure the world and culture around us.
Message from the Founder
It is with great joy and anticipation to welcome you to the third Byzanfest Short-Film Festival. This year’s submissions were of outstanding quality and it was an incredibly hard task to select the finalists.
The best way to describe some of these films is ‘cinematic theology’. This year’s selection includes exceptional examples, such as, Christmas Anti-fable, A Cup & Bread and The Alternate, because of their multilayered and creative approach to intertwining theology with the moving image. We also have some fantastic films of remarkable technical and creative ability: M.A.R.C is about a man’s struggle with consumerism and technology, and, The Lonely Inventor is about the smartest man trying to find love using science.
Submissions came from all over the world including: Greece, Serbia, Romania, Georgia, USA, Canada and even Australia. Not only will these films be available on-demand, but will be screened at 11 venues by our GSPs in Australia, USA, Canada, Serbia and Kenya. The purpose was to take the Festival from being a digital event to a real-world event, enabling us to connect with diverse Orthodox communities around the global. These events also give local churches and youth groups the opportunity to engage with their parishioners within a friendly and fun social environment.
It is also a big honour to have a judging panel which consists of some of the finest Orthodox filmmakers: Ivan Jovic (The Healing) and Norris J. Chumley (Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer) and Nicholas Savas.
The Festival is known by many in the Orthodox filmmaking circles and it provides a vital platform for them to be inspired and be discovered by the world and Church. This Festival is important because it is here that filmmakers have the opportunity to express themselves and to hopefully one day become cinematic Masters, such as, Andrei Tarkovsky and Pavel Lungin, just to name a few.
Please join me as we go on a journey of discovery and wonder.
About the Founder
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Chris belongs to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. Whilst attending Melbourne Grammar School, Chris discovered his love of cinema, but pursued higher studies. At Victoria University, he graduated with Bachelor of Laws (Hons)/Bachelor of Marketing degrees, majoring in Intellectual Property Law. Whilst at university, Chris made several short-films and worked on the sets of many others. Chris established the Queen St Film Festival (in honour of his law campus) where he directed and was patron from 2005-2009.
Chris is the founder and owner of TRANSFIGURE MEDIA. Operating since 2008, TRANSFIGURE has become the world’s biggest media and arts network exclusively for Eastern Orthodox Christians. The organisation’s goal is to showcase, distribute, network, mentor and fund the art of Orthodox Christians working in various creative industries.
He is also a member of Vatopedi Monastery’s International Association of Digital Media and Orthodox Pastoral Care (DMOPC). In June 2018, Chris, the only Australian representative, was invited to give a presentation at the DMOPC Conference in Crete, entitled: Jacob’s Digital Well: how a single online media house can strengthen the faithful and help evangelise the world.
Chris also writes a column about media, culture and faith in TO VEMA, the monthly newspaper published by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
Chris’ major interests include: film, intellectual property, Orthodox culture, Byzantine art, freedom of speech, protection of religious rights, digital marketing and human communications.