Darcy Force

Southwestern Adventist University’s Communication Department hosted the second annual 48-hour Film Challenge South x Southwestern. The twelve participating teams came from all over the United States. They had 48 hours to shoot and edit their film. The requirements included shooting with iPhones, shooting in the genre randomly selected for them, using a cactus in the film, and shooting without sound.

Two producers from Out of Order Production Company in Dallas, Chad Gundersen and Chris Juen, attended the challenge and provided a Master Class for the participants. Gundersen has produced films such as Hillary’s America, Like Dandelion Dust, and Hoovey. Juen has produced films such as Surf’s Up, Polar Express, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 & 2.

“I thought the film challenge was definitely a challenge,” says Clara Kolinek from Richmond Academy in Virginia. “It was kind of stressful at the time, but now that I look back, it was also probably the most fun I've had in a while.”

“It was really fun! It was nice to experience the campus,” says Valeria Padilla from Alvarado High School. “I'd love to come back next year with better and bigger ideas.”

The films were then shown at a red carpet premier event and judged for the categories listed below. The films can be viewed under the Resource section at

Photos of the event can be viewed here. The list of the schools that won, the name of their film, and their awards are as follows:

·      North Dallas Adventist Academy (1) – Purus: People Choice Award

·      Dallas Christian Academy – Star Wars: Best use of Cactus

·      Chisholm Trail Academy- Top Gun Campus Security: Best Production Design

·      Calexico Mission Academy- Blinded: Best Cinematography ($500 departmental award & $250 scholarship for participating students)

·      Burleson Adventist Academy (1) –The Set: Best Screenplay  ($750 departmental award & $500 scholarship for participating students)

·      Jefferson Christian Academy- Salvation: Best Editing

·      Alvarado High School (1)- Prickly Love: Best Director (Adrian Carroll)

·      Alvarado High School (2)- Cactus Noir: Best Actress (Lily Bost)

·      Burton Adventist Academy (1)- The Set: Best Actor (Caleb Pierce)

·      Calexico Mission Academy- Blinded: Best Film ($1000 department award & $1000 scholarship for participating students)




Communication professor Kyle Portbury had two films recently nominated for awards at the 2017 International Christian Film Festival in Florida. The festival takes place in early May this year. Beyond Heroes was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Director. Tell the World Episode 4, was nominated for Best Short Film/TV Episode and Best Short Screenplay. The Festival saw the submissions of 503 films and the majority of them did not receive nominations.

The Communication Department established the Institute for Christian Film in 2016. The program encourages writers to submit scripts for development.  The scripts then go through an acceptance phase with the potential for fundraising and further development by the skilled faculty and students in the Communication Department.


Discover more information about the Institute of Christian Film.