Filmmakers who don’t do film festivals or who submit but don’t attend are missing out on a wonderful opportunity. We love going to film festivals, watching other movies, and meeting fellow filmmakers. Our weekend at Great Lakes Christian Film Festival was a blessed time.

Filmmaker Sharon Wilharm stops off at 127 Yard Sale on way to Great Lakes Christian Film FestivalEvery year we look forward to shopping at the 127 Yard Sale and were afraid we’d have to miss it this year. But as luck would have it, we were able to hit a stretch on our way to Buffalo, New York for the festival. We shopped hundreds of sales between Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.

A highlight of the sale was when a woman looked at the Summer of ’67 sign on the back of our SUV, and asked about the movie. As we talked with her about it, we discovered her brother was on the USS Forrestal at the time of the fire. Talk about a small world! She was excited to share with him about the movie.

We stopped at an antique mall in Mansfield, Ohio and discovered it was a filming location for Shawshank Redemption. So, of course, we had to drive on down the road to check out the prison as well.

Fred’s a big classic car lover, so once in Buffalo, we had to squeeze in a visit to the Pierce-Arrow Museum.  We also headed north a bit to Niagara Falls.

We’ve been to many film festivals over the years, but Great Lakes Christian Film Festivals is definitely one of our favorites. The festival screeners put together a lineup of over 100 amazing movies from all over the world. Director Shawn Patrick Greene organized them into 4 days of film screenings plus one day of workshops.

My favorite film was Together, a documentary about the gathering of hundreds of thousands of young people at the National Mall in 2016. Not only was the event itself inspiring, but the film was exceptionally well put together. It won Best of Fest, a well-deserved honor.

Sharon Wilharm teaching Marketing for Movies at Great Lakes Christian Film FestivalModern Day Miracles was a hard watch with all the stories of suffering children, but the film took us through the process to see the redemptive healing thanks to the kind doctors and staff at the Cure hospitals.

It was a treat to see Stacey Bradshaw in The Chance of a Lifetime.  We also get to watch The Erudite, a powerful short film by talented young filmmaker Aaron Bell.

I enjoyed teaching Marketing for Movies to a roomful of filmmakers eager to promote their films to the world.

We were blessed with a warm reception to Summer of ’67 and were glad that actors Ted, Hannah, and Timothy Rich were able to drive in for the screening.

The festival venue was set up in a way that allowed for plenty of mingling with fellow filmmakers and it was such a treat to see friends we already knew as well as form new friendships.

At the end of the weekend, we were honored to receive multiple awards – Best Writer, Best Lighting,  Best Production Design, Best Producers, and Alumni Award as well as a finalist for Best Actress and Best Cinematography.

Next up on our movie tour – Henderson, Kentucky for Message, Meal, and a Movie at Country View General Baptist Church.

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