What is 168 Film?

Founded in 2003, the 168 Film Project is an incubator for writers and filmmakers to explore scripture and to practice their craft. The 168 Film Project challenge to filmmakers worldwide is to draw a random scripture and in just 168 hours (7 days) shoot and edit a short film. In the Write of Passage competition, writers craft a 12-page script in 168 hours. 

We reduce barriers to production and create opportunities for pros and newcomers to just do it. Participants from diverse backgrounds and faiths forge dynamic, creative communities.  All Filmmakers are responsible for their own budget, cast and crew.

What started as a ministry to local Southern California filmmakers has expanded to a worldwide movement. Many different countries compete in this international contest, some winning top honors.

We encourage fair treatment of subjects with emphasis on story and subtlety.  But most importantly, filmmakers are encouraged to honestly portray the tale that God inspires through the foundational scripture.

“168” films uplift and inform the human condition, showing real consequences for actions and reflecting traditional, conservative Biblical values.  Content rules do not require overtly Christian characters, just real ones. We do not permit swearing or use of the word “God” or “Jesus” as an expletive.  There is no gratuitous sex, language, violence or drug use.

Why Filmmakers Participate

Filmmakers participate for the awards and recognition. There is nothing like the electric atmosphere at the 168 Film Festival as the winner is revealed from among all of the premieres. Casting agents come to see the many fresh faces. Because of the excellence of our artists, 168 is very well-respected and top films fare well in other festivals.

Some do it for the spiritual thrill ride and the many miracles they see during the experience. Many tell of an unexpected encounter with the God. We have seen salvations, people beating addictions and some deciding in favor of life instead of suicide.

See this haunting documentary of Verse Assignment Night 2007. During the Assignment in L.A., producers randomly select a stone with a hidden verse that will become the foundation for their story. Eight months after the tragic death of his daughter, Chris decided to make a 168 film in her honor. See what "randomly-assigned" verse was selected by clicking play.>>>

Why does 168 work so well?

168 participation has been called “life-changing” by hundreds of artists. The hard deadline ensures that projects are finished. Artists know that if they are late submitting finished films, then they will be ineligible for awards and that would be devastating to their team. This teaches individual and team responsibility and gives everyone a common goal.

Christian or not, filmmakers have the same dream: to make a great film. They are fully invested. The pressure makes for an amazing bonding experience built upon their dreams and the Word of God. The difficulty of the contest forces many to their knees to pray for help.

“168” rules and structure direct participants to understand the foundational verse and translate it into relevant words and pictures. Quite often we see believers and non-believers actively working together to gain understanding of the Scripture. Sometimes "the lights go on" and lives are changed in astounding ways.

Many non-Christians are part of the nearly 2000 attendees who come to the 168 Film Festival each year. Every film’s verse is voiced after screening. We think that is a good thing. This is more of God’s word than many hear in a lifetime.


“I'm very thankful for the 168 Film Project. Within weeks of moving to LA, it helped me get connected to other Christian professionals, who have become long-term friends and collaborators. Most of the crew on ‘CTRL Z’ (his short film, adapted into a 10-part webseries for NBC Universal) were people I've worked with on 168 projects, or wanted to work with after seeing their films at the festival.”

- Rob Kirbyson: Director of "Red Line," "Snowmen," (2010 Heartland Film Fest Truly Moving Picture Award), writer director, 168 Film "Pieces" (nominated for 12 awards in 2005) and 168 Film "Free of Charge" (Best Score and Best Actress-Marieke Douridas in 2006):

"John David Ware's 168 Film Project is one of the most unique, innovative, and needed ministries of our time. John Ware is harnessing the power of art and utilizing the medium of film through which to spread the Christian worldview.  Further, he is touching lives- and effectively being salt and light within an industry that some Christians had written off as un-redeemable. I applaud the great work that is being done through ‘168.’ John Ware is a visionary Christian leader, and I believe that the impact of his work will be very long term."

- Alex McFarland, President of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and the Veritas Graduate School of Apologetics, says of 168 Film:

"The 168 Film Project has made it possible for Icthus International to help more children in Latin America. We have used our 168 films in churches, small home groups, individual meetings, and in banquets to renew the vision among our donors and share Icthus.  Our Mexico leaders were motivated by our 168 film to do their own. Keep up the work you are doing, John, it is a wonderful ministry."

- Don Weisbrod, President, Icthus International, a ministry to help Spanish speaking churches reach children with the Gospel in Latin America and the USA:

“I love the competition and creativity of the films, done with no budget. These are the skills the studios look for. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this!”

- Ralph Winter, Producer of X-MEN: Origins: Wolverine, former 168 Board Member and Juror 

"168 catalyzes hands-on experiences of film-making, encouraging budding artists to explore and to reveal truth through beauty and story-telling."

- Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Founder and Board Member, The Veritas Forum

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168 Mission & Vision

168 Film Mission: to illuminate the Word of God through the medium of film and assist new and emerging artists by equipping them professionally and spiritually.

Through our grass roots work, we are a catalyst for change in Hollywood and ultimately, the world. As a Judeo-Christian group, we aim to challenge the world’s perception of Christians. We are a beacon for weary artists.

Our writing and signature speed filmmaking competitions provide positive pressure and practice of craft. We strengthen and encourage emerging filmmakers. The 168 pace, difficulty and community bonding experience shapes individuals in a very short time. The life-changing 168 process is an even more important measure of success than the films that are produced.

Core Verses

Mark 4:1 "Jesus taught them many things by parables...”

Isaiah 12:4 "Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.”

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”