By: Katelyn Swager 

“The Way," a short film created by Walla Walla University students Erik Edstrom and Jesse Churchill, won Best in Festival and Best Dramatic Short at the SONScreen Festival held April 2-4, 2015 on the campus of La Sierra University. 

“The Way” is a modern retelling of the biblical story of Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.

"The award for Best in Festival is the highest award given at the SONScreen festival and represents exceptional merit in both content and technical quality," said David Bullock, chair of WWU communications department, "The competition this year included more than 15 entries in the Documentary Short category, and quality was exceptionally high among entries.” 

A second film created by WWU students, “Student Story//Stephen Farr,” was a finalist in the documentary category.

Three WWU students also contributed to two winning mini movies created by teams comprised of students from WWU and other universities. In this category, Edstrom won first place as cinematographer, Cloud Tsai won first place for audio and acting, and Micah Hall won second place as director of “Stay.”

“WWU students and faculty attended the festival because we believe in the mission of the festival to encourage students to consider ways of sharing their passion for Christian filmmaking," said Bullock. 

The SONScreen festival was created by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists to nurture Christian filmmakers in their craft, career development, and spiritual lives. The festival began in 2002, and has become a destination for both established and beginning filmmakers to share their creative work and to network with other media and film professionals. 

“These awards bring attention to the outstanding work of our film/television students and professors at a time that we are expanding our program offerings to include a new graduate degree in media ministry," said Bullock. 

The new WWU master's degree in media ministry is designed to attract top graduates from film programs across the country in order to produce work of the same quality as "The Way."