Everyone knows that having the right people with the proper skill sets is essential to a media project’s success. It’s not always known, however, where to find such people. In recent years, Christians are increasingly turning to media conventions as a way to overcome this obstacle. There are good reasons for doing so. Conventions serve as a way to connect people to other professionals outside of their normal circles. They provide opportunities for like-minded people to partner or collaborate. They also serve as a place to learn through the many workshops that both educate and train in various fields of interest. Some even come with perks, such as prescreening a yet unreleased movie or Q&As with a famous director, actor or industry professional. While most media conventions are located inside the United States, some are international. Below are some of the largest.
The NRB Convention
The largest and longest running conference in the U.S. is the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. It caters to a broad spectrum of Christian media industries, including film, TV & radio broadcasting, publishing, digital media & marketing, news media, church media, digital ministry, podcasting, and more.
Started in 1944, the convention has served as a gathering place for Christian communicators from around the world. Cinematographers from Australia, investors from the United Kingdom, producers from China, and digital effects designers from Korea all mingle with their U.S. counterparts on the expo floor, as well as in the many meeting rooms, forums and workshops. While there are private and invite-only events and meeting spaces, there are many open dessert socials, luncheons, affiliate events and meet-and-greets that provide more opportunities for networking. Opportunities to worship with fellow believers also exist, starting with an opening night worship service and daily morning devotionals.
The conference provides broad opportunities for those interested in film. Attendees at times are treated to special pre-screenings of upcoming films. Those with completed films, video projects, screenplays, and book manuscripts have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with production companies and distributors at the NRB Pitch-a-thon. Over its seven years of existence, a number of production and distribution deals have been struck. There are also award shows. The International Christian Visual Media Association (ICVM) will host its annual awards, highlighting over 60 film nominations from faith filmmakers around the globe. The films cover a wide array of topics, ranging from archaeology and history to stories of Middle East conflicts.
The convention will also host the TV Showcase, an event designed to introduce producers who’ve created tv programs with network program directors and station managers. This gives stations in need of programming the chance to see what’s available and strike deals. Any attendee can enter a showcase submission. For those looking for employment, access to the NRB members job board will be provided. Each convention is hosted once a year in cities all over the U.S., including Nashville, TN, Orlando, FL, and Anaheim, CA. This year’s convention will run from June 21–24 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, TX. Speakers, event schedules, and workshop lists can be found on the convention website, along with daily updates on new additions to the ever-growing convention itinerary.
The ICVM Convention
The International Christian Visual Media Convention is an annual conference that brings Christians involved in visual media production and distribution together from around the globe. Started in the 1970s, the conference has grown from a national event into an international one, with members from over 20 countries being represented. The goal of the conference is to provide opportunities for Christian media creators and distributors to meet and collaborate on projects that bring the message of Christ to the world. Producers, distributors, writers, directors, actors and investors are just some of the individuals who make up ICVM’s ranks.
Networking, however, isn’t the conference’s only draw. ICVM offers a host of other opportunities as well. Guests will be treated to seminars, speaking events, Q&As, and film screenings. There’s also the opportunity to pitch TV programs, films, video projects and scripts to distributors like Provident Films and Pureflix. Then there’s the prestigious Crown Awards, a show that not only highlights the best in Christian visual media, but also offers cash prizes. This year’s conference date and location have yet to be finalized, but are currently in the works. Updates and new information can be found on ICVM’s website.
The CONTENT2021 Film Festival & Media Summit
Since 2014, the Christian Filmmakers Network has put together its national media conference called CONTENT. Each conference bears the year it’s held in its title, which is why this year’s summit is called CONTENT2021. The conference boasts of over 50 speakers and panelists, while offering master classes and boot camps on screenwriting, acting, cinematography, church filmmaking, journalism, and more. Attendees will also get the chance to compete in the conference’s film, script and acting competitions, with over 75 awards up for grabs. Lastly, CONTENT2021 will host screeners for everyone interested in viewing up-and-coming films.
The conference itself is being held at Capernaum Studios, the shot location for season one of “The Chosen.” The studio boasts of both indoor and outdoor film sets from a variety of different eras, including a first century village, a variety of New Testament Biblical settings, an 18th century cabin and fort, a modern-day main street and an apocalyptic/disaster town. Attendees can get a firsthand view of potential shot locations for their upcoming projects while at the same time finding potential collaborators at the conference.
CONTENT2021 not only promises the ability to network with industry leaders, but also to fellowship with them. Attendees will have opportunities to discuss victories and challenges together as well as pray and worship with one another. Daily worship services, devotionals and prayer are offered to help everyone draw closer to God. CONTENT2021 will meet Sept. 6–9 at Capernaum Studios near Dallas, TX.
The CEVMA Conference
As stated earlier, not all large Christian networking conferences are held in the United States. Since 1981, Christian European Visual Media Association (CEVMA) conference has served as a gathering place for Christian visual media professionals from around the world. Believers from North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and Africa join their European brothers each September to meet, network, share ideas, projects, and challenges, as well as to be spiritually refreshed. While business has its place, the leaders at the CEVMA conference emphasize spiritual formation so that attendees “also meet with God.” Their desire is to have “Christ as the unseen, but not unfelt guest.”
Each conference is held at easy to reach locations in Europe, like Germany, England, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. This year’s gathering will be held Sept. 8-12 at the Hotel Belmont in Ede, Netherlands. The conference will include time for networking, workshops, breakout sessions, Q&As, keynote sessions and worship.