168 Film News & Events

2023 Winners Press Release

Results of the 20th Annual 168 Film Festival

By 168 Film on
2023 Winners Press Release

“Planted” Directed by CC Weske - 168 Film Festival Best Film Winner 2023. (L-R) Ron Pearson - “Ladder Comedian,” Leslie Laursen - Accepting the Award, John David Ware - Festival Director, Yvette Sams and Steve Puffenberger, 168 Board Directors

Nov. 4, 2023

168 Film Festival Winners 2023

20th Annual Film Festival at Trilith Georgia
Ten Short Films Invited for a Look by Angel Studios

Fayetteville, GA-This weekend, from November 2nd to November 4th, the 20th annual 168 Film Festival unfolded at Trilith Town Stage in Fayetteville, Georgia, generously sponsored by Advent Media, Inc., Hollyland, and CT Cantina & Taqueria Trilith. Filmmakers honed and crafted their skills in the 168 speedfilm competition, producing films based on scripture verses inspired by the 2023 theme, “Time.”

The prestigious title of Best Film was claimed by “Planted,” directed by CC Weske and produced by Joshua Yadon, Haylee Graham, and Tim Weske.

According to Weske, “Being a full-time mother of two children under three years old, it was a miracle that the film got done! But I believed that He would strengthen me and give me perseverance. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your trust in the Creator of the Universe.”

"(168) is an extremely fun, yet very challenging competition. I believe it truly brings out the best in artists. I would highly recommend it for both new and seasoned filmmakers.”

“Planted” earned six awards, including Best Director – CC Weske, Best Screenplay – Haylee Graham, 168 Exclamation Award - Leslie Laursen and Alora Weisz, Best Speed Film, and Best Film.

Best Film Runner-Up went to “Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy” by Darren Cogan, Christopher Shawn Shaw, Susan Shearer, Gary Voelker, and Aaron Fullan. This film excelled, winning in eight categories, including Best Original Score – Aaron Fullan, Best Production Design, Best Comedy Screenplay– Darren Cogan, Best Cinematography – Micah Powell, Best Supporting Actress - Darby Cappillino, 168 Exclamation Award - Victoria Jackson and Best Comedy.

The Best Proof of Concept went to “Hard Side of Miracles,” directed by John Fornof and produced by Justin Manntai and Steve Stiles. Since 2016, Producer Justin Manntai has received multiple nominations for various 168 awards. Justin Manntai produced three films in the 2023 competition: "The Likes of You," "Hard Side of Miracles," and "Flatline," which won for Best Write of Passage.

Manntai remarked, “We were filming 'The Likes of You' when 'Hurricane Hillary' was approaching SoCal. Some cast and crew were concerned about the impending storm in Huntington Beach. We all agreed to complete the shoot in one day. Our cast performed remarkably, handling the sudden change with ease.

Ten short films were invited for a first look by the Angel Studios Guild for potential funding and distribution as features and TV. Invited films include: Lifeless - A Musical Zomedy (by Darren Cogan, Christopher Shawn Shaw, Susan Shearer, Gary Voelker, Aaron Fullan), Flatline (by Justin Manntai, James Lee Beeler), Planted (by CC Weske), Hard Side of Miracles (by Justin Manntai), The Last Truth (by Sandra Martin), Brother of the King (by Aaron Kamp), Just Deserts (by Jonason Pauley), Little Daryl (by Jeff Reed), Family Therapy (by Lauren Shelfo), Waves of Grace (by Paul Giret).

The Best Student Film award was presented to “The Art of Kindness” by Michaela Ray of Atlanta, Georgia.

Best Alumni Film was bestowed upon “Dumplings” by Abbey Moe of Idaho Falls, ID. Moe’s second entry, "Christian Hitmen," secured a 168 Exclamation Award for Steven Fitchpatrick and the Best Making of 168 Film award.

The Best KidVid award was claimed by “Shades of Hope” by Kathryn Owens.

 2023 Winners - 20th Annual 168 Film Festival

  • Best Making of 168 BTS Film - Christian Hitmen - Abbey Moe
  • Best Sound Design – The Likes of You, Joe Valdez
  • Best Original Score - Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy - Aaron Fullan
  • Best Production Design - Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy - Maddie Klaus
  • Audience Favorite - Thursday/Friday: The Last Truth 
  • Audience Favorite - Saturday: You Can't Walk Backwards Into the Future - Billy Dickson
  • 169 Award - Deborah Brown—for Ministry to the World Through Film
  • Best Screenplay - Planted – Haylee Graham
  • Best Screenplay – Comedy - Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy – Darren Cogan
  • Best Scriptural Integration - Family Therapy – Lauren Shelfo
  • Evangelista Award - Family Therapy – Lauren Shelfo
  • Best Editor - The Likes of You – Matt Green
  • Best Cinematography - Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy - Micah Powell
  • Best Supporting Actor - Simone Scigliano as Dad in Family Therapy
  • Best Supporting Actress - Darby Cappillino as Delilah in Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy
  • Best Actor - Miles Anderson as Paul in Flatline
  • Best Actress - Liz DeCoudres as Mom in Family Therapy
  • 168 Exclamation Award! - Steven Fitchpatrick as Hitman #1 in Christian Hitmen
  • 168 Exclamation Award! - Chase Gamwell as Pete in Family Therapy
  • 168 Exclamation Award! - Victoria Jackson as Angel in Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy
  • 168 Exclamation Award! - Leslie Laursen as Grandma in Planted
  • 168 Exclamation Award! - Alora Weisz as Lilly in Planted
  • Best Director - CC Weske for Planted
  • Best Documentary - Redeeming the Time – Mona Hylton
  • Best KidVid - Shades of Hope - Kathryn Owens
  • Best Write of Passage Film - Flatline - Justin Manntai, James Lee Beeler
  • Best Alumni Film - Dumplings - Abbey Moe
  • Best Speed Film - Planted - Joshua Yadon, Haylee Graham, Tim Weske
  • Best Student Film-  The Art of Kindness – Michaela Ray
  • Best Comedy - Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy - Darren Cogan, Christopher Shawn Shaw, Susan Shearer, Gary Voelker, Aaron Fullan
  • Best Proof of Concept Film: Hard Side of Miracles – Director: John Fornof, Producers: Justin Manntai, Steve Stiles
  • Best Film Runner-Up - Lifeless: A Musical Zomedy - Darren Cogan, Christopher Shawn Shaw, Susan Shearer, Gary Voelker, Aaron Fullan
  • Best of the 168 Film Festival - Planted – Director: CC Weske, Producers: Joshua Yadon, Haylee Graham, Tim Weske

Angel Studios Invitations: These short films will be considered by the Angel Studios Guild for feature funding and distribution:

  • Lifeless - A Musical Zomedy
  • Flatline
  • Planted
  • The Hard Side of Miracles
  • The Last Truth
  • Brother of the King
  • Just Deserts
  • Little Daryl
  • Family Therapy
  • Waves of Grace

Use this link for the formal list of nominees and winners.