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Erica Galindo
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Last edited on: September 1, 2013.

An incubator for emerging artists, the 168 Film Festival was founded in 2003 by John David Ware, a filmmaker from Columbus, Ohio.  It includes worldwide filmmaking and writing competitions based on foundational Bible verses. The winner of this year’s competition for won the Grand Prize of up to $1 Million dollars for a feature film budget, sponsored by Echo Light Studios. The 2013 winner for best film was ReMoved a film produced by California-based Christina and Nathanael Matanick.

Joth Riggs Director/Producer "Heartfall"

Continuing with our interview coverage of the this year’s 168 Film Festival, Sonoma Christian Home talks to Joth Riggs, the Director/Producer of Heartfall, one of the five semi-finalist in the 2013 short film category.

"Filming in Action"

Sonoma Christian Home: What attracted you to the 168 Film Project?

Joth Riggs:  The 168 Film Project is a great opportunity to make a short film with God-honoring principles.  The task of creating something in only 168 hours can be very challenging as well as very rewarding.

SCH:  What was it like when you picked your bible verse for the film, and did this verse have any special significance to you?

JR:  The verse we picked was from Leviticus and referred to the old testament ritual of burnt offerings.  Our film, Heartfall, focused on the grace of God today which no longer requires that because of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

SCH: Did you pay your talent and/or crew or did they volunteer? How did the team come together?

JR:  Many of my team members have worked with me on other projects and see the 168 as a unique opportunity to bless others with their skills and talent.

Producer/Director Joth Riggs behind the scenes filming "Heartfall"


SCH: What was your budget?

Director Joth Riggs making sure actor Gunnar Sizemore is safe before shooting a rock climbing scene

JR: Our film, Heartfall, was shot for around $3000.

SCH: Is there anybody we might recognize who was part of your team?

JR: Our film, Heartfall, included actor, Kevin Sizemore (Under the Dome, Red Line), as well as Jenn Gotzon (Doonby, God’s Country).

SCH:What was the hardest part about doing making the film in 168 hours?

JR: The hardest part of making a film in only 168 hours is not having the luxury to scrutinize and perfect every little detail.  There is very little room for experimentation and you really have to make a plan and stick closely to it in order to finish and deliver on time.

SCH:  What did you learn from making a film in a week?

JR:  It’s very important to have a good, reliable team.

"Single, single, over, over." Producer/Director Joth Riggs


SCH: What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers and actors?

JR: My advice to aspiring filmmakers in general is to get out there and make a film, even a lousy one.  In this business you learn by doing and making mistakes.  With the low barrier to entry, anyone can get out there and shoot something.  Take a chance.  Don’t wait.  Make it happen.

SCH:  Are you planning to participate in the 168 Film Project next year? Would you recommend participating in the 168 Film Project to your peers and colleagues?

JR: This is my third year directing a 168 film and I’m always open to doing another one.  I think the 168 Film Project is a great experience and I recommend it to anyone out there who enjoys telling stories and works well under pressure.

Joth Riggs with the cast and crew of "Heartfall" on the red carpet at the 168 Film Festival.

SCH: What’s next?

JR:  One film I worked on last year as Assistant Director, Grace Unplugged, will be coming out in theatersOctober 4th. I also have several other films in development and plan to keep the ball rolling in the coming year!

Click here to watch a trailer for “Heartfall”

Go behind the scenes with Dana Marie Newell to hear about her 168 short film “Lost in the Dark.”

Visit  168 Film Festival to learn more.



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