T.D. Jakes plans new film festival this month
More than a half-dozen films with spiritual themes will be screened in Dallas as a new part of megachurch pastor T. D. Jakes’ annual MegaFest.
The International Faith and Family Film Festival is planned for Aug. 29-31 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Included will be actress Jennifer Hudson, CNN news anchor Soledad O’Brien, and director Randall Wallace of Secretariat fame.
This will be the first time since Jakes started the MegaFest rallies in 2004 that he will emphasize cinema. He says he wants to change perceptions about what constitutes a faith-oriented film.
“Americans are looking for wholesome entertainment that reflects the values they practice and teach their children every day,” Jakes said in a statement. “We’re filling that void.”
The festival will feature films tackling issues such as identity, family and poverty. It will showcase films like Black Nativity from Fox Searchlight, Heaven is for Real from Sony Pictures, and Winnie Mandela, produced by Jakes. Hudson will star in the Mandela movie.
Other films to be screened at the festival include:
- One Chance, a British romantic comedy that follows the journey of opera singer Paul Potts on his 2007 quest to win Britain’s Got Talent in 2007.
- The Other Son, about two young men, a Jew and an Arab, who learn they were accidentally switched at birth and raised by families in the opposing communities.
- Child 31, a documentary on the charity Mary’s Meals, which feeds the poor in India, Kenya and Malawi.
- Playin’ for Love, a romantic comedy that follows a single mother and a basketball coach at a high school. The film was shot in Miami, with help from the Miami Heat.
- Grace Unplugged, a coming-of-age musical about a young singer who faces a test of faith and values as she gets her big break.
Also planned is Diversity in Cannes, six short films originally screened at the Festival de Cannes as part of the Beyond Borders Diversity movement. The films were shot in Spain, Italy and Canada.
Besides the screenings, the festival will gather entertainment industry figures for keynote talks and panel dicsussions on various facets of filmmaking.
Among the experts will be Kirstin Wilder, vice president and managing editor of Variety; Mary Claire Kendall, who covers Hollywood for Forbes; Tirrell Whittley, CEO of Liquid Soul Media; Charles King, an agent at William Morris Endeavor; and A. Larry Ross, spokesman for evangelist Billy Graham.
MegaFest has drawn more than 700,000 people in its nine years. Past speakers and performers have included Aretha Franklin, Steve Harvey, Dave Ramsey and Cirque du Soleil.
T.D. Jakes is the founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a 30,000-member church in Dallas. His works include films, TV, radio, and books as well as conferences.
Tickets for the three-day film festival are $99 and include admittance to other MegaFest events, including empowerment sessions for men and women. Discount family and group packages are also available. Registration is available online.
For a complete list of scheduled events, visit the MegaFest website.
James D. Davis