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Deborah Brown receives the 169 Award in 2023

For ministry to the world through film

By 168 Film on
Deborah Brown receives the 169 Award in 2023

Deborah Brown receives the 169 Award from John David Ware at the 20th Annual 168 Film Festival Awards Ceremony

The 169 Award is for people who go beyond the call of duty to: Change the media and change the world.

In 2023, it went to Cinque Minuti ("5 Minutes") Producer and Missionary Deborah E. Brown for her ministry to the world through film. Brown uses all volunteer crews on her films to give people a chance on both sides of the camera. The gospel is often shared in her 168 Projects. Deborah has trained hundreds of believers from Italy and Ethiopia in use of media tools since 1998. Her ministry has included the production of 12 films for the 168 Project and over 600 short films. Following in Brown’s footsteps, a 168 team is planning to go to teach at the film school of Ethiopian Mekane Yesus Seminary in 2024.

"Cinque" depicts a suicidal woman on a bridge over the canals of Milan, Italy, when a man claiming to be Jesus Christ asks for 5 minutes of her time to tell her how much he loves her. Produced in 2006, the film won four awards in total, including Best Film, at the 4th Annual 168 Film Festival . "Cinque" was presented at the 2007 Cannes Short Film Corner and has been viewed online by over 25 million and translated into 22 languages. (Facebook: CinemaVerità)

Watch "Cinque Minuti" (5 Minutes) Here:  (11:26)

That film featured long-term compadre Barbara Sanua, a two-time heart transplant recipient due to her longtime battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

On Barbara’s last film with Brown, “Second Mano” (Second Hand), Brown said, “We filmed Barbara’s big scene in a park on the first day of shooting. The next day Barbara had a serious heart attack and was hospitalized, but we continued filming. The film ironically had a hospital room scene, which we filmed from behind with a body double."

Barbara Sauna with Deborah, after 2006 award ceremony

With 48 hours to go before turn-in deadline Brown was given 3 minutes to visit Barbara in the Cardiac ICU and filmed those lines with just an iPhone. Barbara pulled down her oxygen mask and said her lines, each line only one time, from memory, and Brown edited Barbara's voice together with the body double scene.

“We all will never forget when you (John David Ware, 168 Film Festival Director) called me to the stage at the 168 and we all prayed for Barbara," Brown said.  "She died 2 months later. At Barbara’s funeral, we were able to give a DVD of Cinque Minuti to 500 people who came to remember her, profoundly extending the Gospel impact of the film.”

How has this film been able to accomplish so much with nearly zero funds behind it? 

According to 168 Founder and Director John David Ware, "It's because Cynque Minuti is blessed by the Lord. Is the film flawed? Yes, but it's pure of heart and that is why it wins. I remember in 2006, when it was up against a technically superior and also excellent film starring the late, great Don LaFontaine. 'Cinque' won because it is magic. When the "Jesus" character shows the troubled woman a picture of her as a child, she reaches out to grab the photo, but he says no, because he keeps memories of all of his beloved children. It is a breathtaking cinematic moment of truth." 

"The film was global from the start, added Brown. "From Egypt, Sergio Mascheroni wrote the script, then arrived to Milan in time to co-direct the film with Brown. The crew was composed of twenty volunteers from ten nations."

Extending the reach of this small but mighty film, were people associated with 168, who have facilitated translations of "Cinque" into many languages. The translation into Somalian Oromo language required coordination on three continents.  In Italy, Brown and co-producer Alex Basana sent files to U.S. composer and missionary Guy Moon, who performed audio sweetening.  Moon uploaded the project to Dhaba Wayessa for language translation at Sandscribe Communications in Ethiopia, Africa.

Originally, the Oromo version was to be completed in America, but to have the greatest impact overseas, translation occured in Ethiopia, where common words and phrases were chosen for greatest cross-dialect accessibility.

Producer and Composer, Guy Moon traveled to Ethiopia with a missionary team to teach media techniques and to oversee the translation.  The team included Derrick Warfel, Tommy Stork, Johnny Kuldeka, Natalie Oman, David Kiang and Alex Kiang. 

According to Brown, "The film has been translated to French, German, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Farsi, Croatian, Romanian, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew and more, 22 languages so far.  

Where "Cinque Minuti" go with your help? 

To support this international ministry of Deborah Brown contribute tax deductible donations here: https://italianministriesusa.org/project/brown-deborah/  and help share the gospel in many new and exciting ways to unreached peoples throughout the world.


Deborah with Ethiopian students, 2023

Deborah filming Barbara Sauna on the location of "Second Mano," just before Barbara's hospitalization

168 film crew in Sicily

Deborah Brown with ministry partner, Alex Basana

Deborah and film students in Napoli