Blessed by God:
Faith-Based Kairos Scriptwriting Contest Changes Lives
The $50,000 Kairos Prize Competition for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays, now in its eighth year, isn’t just changing Hollywood. It’s also changing the personal lives of the winners.
A case in point is Christina Denton of Martinsville, Va., the 2009 Grand Prize Winner for her script A MATTER OF TIME.
Christina felt the call to write a screenplay, something she had never attempted before in her life. She submitted her script to the Kairos Prizes for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays presented by MOVIEGUIDE® and supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Even though her own husband thought she was wasting her time, Christina, a committed Christian, believed it was something God was calling her to do.
Surprisingly, Christina’s script won the Grand Prize her first time out. Now, the movie version of her script, starring Kevin Sorbo, Shelley Long, and Jason Burkey, is already in post-production after shooting this summer.
If watching a dream come true wasn’t enough, Christina may have found that the larger blessing was the one that God planned for her family.
“Immediately after winning the Kairos Prize, I called my husband to tell him the news,” Christina said. “He shouted, ‘Thank you Jesus!’ I have to say that meant more to me than winning, because that was the first time he had mentioned the name of Jesus in a very long time.”
Christina’s husband had pulled away from Christ some years before, so his exclamation was a blessing and a turning point for her family.
Christina added, “I believe God used this competition to show my husband that God blesses those who are faithful to Him. Praise God, he is now back in church and living for the Lord! Before Kairos, my husband thought I was wasting my time following His call to write. Now he’s very supportive and nearly as excited about it as I am.”
While Christina attended the Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival (Ridgecrest, NC) in hopes of meeting with producers, it was her fellow Kairos Prize winner Rusty Whitener, also wrapping his Kairos winning script in June, who introduced her to producer Chuck Howard.
“After receiving the script, Mr. Howard called me,” Christina relates. “He was so excited about A MATTER OF TIME and said that he definitely wanted to make it into a film! I am so blessed to have worked with them.”
Since then, Christina has completed her second faith-based script (DARK DAYS) and is now diligently working on her third, ANGEL OF THIRD STREET.
What makes Christina’s story all the more amazing is that the vast majority of new and beginning screenwriters, if they are one of the very few that find success, often struggle for years to get their script into the right hands. This was a significant reason for the creation of the Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays – to bring faith-based and faith-friendly scripts into the hands of top filmmakers who could get them made.
MOVIEGUIDE®, founded by Dr. Ted Baehr, has stood on the forefront for more than three decades Helping Hollywood understand the profound impact that the media has on our culture. In 2005 Dr. Baehr and Dr. Jack Templeton of the John Templeton Foundation created the Kairos Prize to help ensure truly outstanding faith-based and family-centered scripts by beginning writers find an elevated path to production.
With the largest cash prizes of any screenwriting competition of its kind ($50,000), the Kairos Prize larger winnings may just be the contacts afforded to its recipients. With two winning scripts in the can this year alone and a third to begin lensing this fall (and two others behind those by the end of the year), the Kairos Prize, in seven short years, is quickly becoming a significant player in the screenplay competition circuit.
One of the quickest paths into production is the 2011 Kairos winner UNDER THE APPLE TREE by Matthew Hill and Landon Johnson. In less than 2 years after winning the Kairos Prize, their script will begin shooting under the direction of Mark Freiburger. Since the 2010 release of JOHNNY, the Kairos Prize winning script from its inaugural year, the Kairos Prize has continued to bring exceedingly high quality scripts (and its writers) to the marketplace. Few screenwriting competitions, whether secular or faith-based, have as high a winner to production ratio than what the Kairos Prize is now racing toward.
While the success of the Kairos Prize is heady stuff in the screenwriting competition world, MOVIEGUIDE remains vigilant in its mission to bring the brightest faith-based, family-friendly screenplays to the industry in the hope that these works will help inspire a revolution of positive change.
The early bird $50 deadline for submitting a script for the Eight Annual Kairos Prize Competition is Sept. 24, 2012. After that, the entry fee will be $80 until the final deadline of Nov. 2, 2012. Criteria for the prizes may be found on the Kairos Prize website at www.kairosprize.com.
A MATTER OF TIME is centered on the romantic drama of a young man so bitterly blinded by a broken heart that he’s unable to see the true love of his life standing directly in front of him. However, the story is more about opening your heart and obediently following God’s amazing plan for your life. This same theme is strikingly evident in Christina’s own life while writing the screenplay.
“I visited the set in Nashville,” Christina said, “and I have to admit, I teared up several times. It was so amazing to watch the characters God created through me actually come to life!”
Before it has even been released, Christina Denton’s A MATTER OF TIME has already made a positive impact in this world.
“Take a leap of faith,” Christina advises other writers. “Never give up. If God has called you, He will absolutely equip you.”
Christina continues to hear God’s call to the honor and glory of His Name.
Editor’s Note: The John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org) serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights. The Foundation’s vision is derived from the late Sir John Templeton’s optimism about the possibility of acquiring “new spiritual information” and from his commitment to rigorous scientific research and related scholarship. The Foundation’s motto, “How little we know, how eager to learn,” exemplifies its support for open-minded inquiry and its hope for advancing human progress through breakthrough discoveries.
Dr. Ted Baehr is chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® (CFTVC) ministry and director of its family guide to movies and entertainment, Movieguide® CFTVC and Movieguide® are an international non-profit ministry, advocacy group, and watchdog dedicated to “redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and by informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media.”