It competed at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, which had its fifth annual event January 8-10, 2009. This event is sponsored by Vision Forum, and its $101,000 cash prize for the Best of Festival Award was a sizeable incentive to succeed. Mite went up against such films as Expelled and Fireproof. While many in the mainstream wouldn't recognize the title of either movie, both films are well-known in homeschool circles, and were shown in theaters across the country. In 2008, Fireproof especially reached a large audience, grossing the most of any *independent* film at the boxoffice, thus beating even the now-Oscar-studded Slumdog Millionaire.
A month before the event, on December 9, 2008, John Moore blogged about the competition their film faced. Instead of turning defeatist, he viewed the upcoming competition with an incredibly positive attitude, closing with this thought:
"We need to take the blinders off, look at the real world of films, and grow up. Moaning about Fireproof and how unbeatable it is ultimately shows how small our picture is of the filmmaking world. It's time to think big, grow up, take charge, move on."That optimism paid off. The "Best of Festival" Jubilee Award and its $101,000 prize went to The Widow's Mite. It was also runner-up for "Best Feature Film," the prize that went to Fireproof. The Terri Schiavo Story -- hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada -- was named the "Best Documentary." The Prodigal Triology was deemed the "Best Dramatic Short," and the "Best Biblical Family" was portrayed in Binding Faith, a story of the missionary Dr. Ajai Lall's persecution in northern India. The "Best Original Score" was found in The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry. The "Young Filmmaker's" Award went to a thirteen-year-old mastermind who told the story of the man who began the Childrens' Aid Society in New York. Surprisingly, Noah's Ark: Thinking Outside the Box (a film produced by Answers in Genesis), and not Expelled was given the "Best Creation" award. And new ideas are already in the works: a three-page condensed script called Sandtown won the "Best Treatment" award.
Is your interest picqued? Take a look at behemoth.com/festival to catch the soundtracks or films of several of the finalists and semifinalists. And if The Widow's Mite is showing in a theater near you, go, then tell 100,000 of your closest friends! (Thank you, Rush).