Prior to 2003, founder John David Ware encountered many Christians in the filmmaking industry who were talking about making faith-based short films, but were frustrated for a variety of reasons.
A timed film production competition was just the thing to get people to stop talking about making a film and TO DO IT. The objective was to make the contest long enough to allow production of serious art that would advance careers (on both sides of the camera), and short enough to allow people to work for free and to not go broke in taking time off of a day job. Seven times twenty-four is 168, and that is how the contest was named.
The mascot was and remains Franklin B. Dog, who starred in the John David Ware scribed "New Best Friend." Dog received Best Animal Actor for his work in the film.
The first competition was held in 2003. At the first 168 Film Festival, thirteen films screened in Evans Chapel at Bel Air Presbyterian Church to a standing room only crowd. "I am sure that some of those folks came to see how bad these short films based on Bible verses would be," said Ware, "But, they came and saw how good they were and it created a buzz in both churches and in the filmmaking community."
There were fifty-three entries the second year and in the first ten years, over 600 films have been screened, launching careers and changing lives all over the USA and in over 20 countries. "168" films have touched people in places as diverse as Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Russia, Azerbaijan, Japan, China and many others. We are excited to energize filmmakers to produce art that celebrates the truth of God's Word.