First-Timer Jeff Hamm's 'The River' Wins Best Film at 168 Film Festival 2106

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Speed film, THE RIVER was honored with eleven nominations and three wins, including Best Film, at the Annual 168 Film Festival at Regal Cinemas Premiere House at LA LIVE (Aug. 20-21). The River was produced by first-timer, Jeffrey Hamm, who also won for Best Director and Best Editor.

Speed film, THE RIVER was honored with eleven nominations and three wins, including Best Film, at the Annual 168 Film Festival at Regal Cinemas Premiere House at LA LIVE (Aug. 20-21). The River was produced by first-timer, Jeffrey Hamm, who also won for Best Director and Best Editor.

Hamm teamed up with a Dallas-Ft. Worth crew, including award-winning writer-producers Jason Walter Vaile and Mark Blitch (WASHED UP Best Comedy 2015) to tackle this year’s 168 Film Competition theme, “Work.”

THE RIVER is based on Proverbs 31:31, Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

It’s the story of a family -- Christian Heep as the father and Anne Beyer as the mom -- on a camping trip in the wilderness. Their little girl Abby, played by Kelsey Walton is lost and as the sun sets, her chances for survival grow dim. But, the wise woman will not give up on her daughter, who has learned well from her mother.

According to producer Jeff Hamm, “Our skeleton crew battled a storm that destroyed one set and stopped production a few times. We were running out of time, money, and resources but God gave us the strength to persevere, and it was worth every second! My team and I are so thankful for the opportunity to use our gifts and abilities to continue to build the Kingdom of God. We look forward to the 168 festival in 2017!”

The Best Speed Film Runner Up was nine-time-nominated, THE PAPERCLIP, by Producers John Lockmer and Justin Manntai. Writer Lee Kovel won Best Screenplay and Best Scriptural Integration and William Kircher (Bifur and Tom Troll in THE HOBBIT films) won for Best Supporting Actor.

The film is based on Exodus 18:18, You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.

PAPERCLIP writer Lee Kovel’s often-comedic story deals with inter-generational values like care of the family outside of work, teamwork, the emptiness of wealth and the true measure of success.

Younger viewers of the film have expressed the need to spend more time with family, while older people have been reminded of the need to mentor younger people. Lockmer and Manntai expect to impact their world with this gently convicting film.

Aaron Kamp and Maggie Meyer’s CAGED IN swept the non-speed awards, with Best Director going to Kamp. Acting winners are Best Supporting Actor Robert Hartburn as Luke, Best Supporting Actress, Melissa Meyer as Lily, Best Actress, Maggie Meyer as Sara and Best Actor Jeremy Levi as Jack.

168 veteran Aaron Kamp plans to use the (literally) hard-hitting film to help raise awareness of domestic violence issues. “168 has been a great training ground, it’s hard work, you sometimes feel like giving up, but ultimately it’s inspiring and a great event to be a part of," Kamp said.

The speed film award for Best Actress went to 168 veteran, Tea McKay for her role as Emma in THE CHOICE. According to McKay, "Not only has (the 168 competition) allowed me to network with amazing people all over the world, it has also helped me launch my career. 168 has greatly built up my reel and got me noticed. It played a key role in booking the lead in my latest film UNBRIDLED," starring McKay, Eric Roberts and TC Stallings.

Best Actor went to Tony Lo Bianco (The French Connection) as Johnny in BLONDIE. Best Supporting Actress Leslie Thurston as Dr. Morris in STROKE OF FAITH.

Best Comedy went to husband and wife writer/producer/actor team, Jason and Megan Marsh for BEHIND THE SCENES, the story of what really happens behind the scenes on a 168 Film set.

Best Write Of Passage Spotlight Film, went to THE LAWN BOY written by Penny Gibben and produced by 168 veteran Mark Baird, who entered a record five films into the 2016 competition. He received three awards Best Write of Passage, Evangelista Award (best evangelistic tool) and the 169 Award for distinguished service to 168 Film.

Best Kid Vid went to CARDED by veteran producer Susan Shearer, who teamed up with Baird as a writer, winning the Evangelista Award for the film.

Best International Film was won by AFTER by Ben Whimpey from Australia. The film won six awards, including Best International Film, Best Make-up and Hair to Jessica Taylor, Best Making Of 168 Film, Best Sound Design to Peter Brewer, Best Production Design to Alexa Harrington and Simone Wake and Best Cinematography to Sam Bennett.

Woodsy drama, THE VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS won Best Original Score for Olivia Davies. Written, produced and directed by Andrew Thorn, the film featured 168 favorite, Jack Jovcic in the lead role and two Best Actor Nominations - one for Jovcic and one for eight-year-old Orlando Borg. The film was nominated 12 times including Best Film, Best International Film and Best Director.

Best Music Video went to THE LAST SONG ON EARTH by Joshua Barker and Jahmal Holland. Barker gave a hip-hop acceptance speech at the awards show.

Best Documentary went to LITTLE ANGELS by Nellie Gonzalez for her explosive expose on child abuse.

Audience Awards went to I AM by Anthony Varon (writer Jon Moch received Best Comedy Screenplay) and We Are Loved by Sharelle Hall.

Honorable Mention awards went to two Downs Syndrome actors, Evan George Vourazeris and Cristina Sanchez for their work in THE LAWN BOY. Jonathan Loria was also commended for his role in La Svolta, Shot in Italy.

The Best Super Hero Award was won by Zachery Michael Burgess for ZACH AND MYHRE for his acting and his bravery in fighting a terrible disease. 168 Executive Director Dwayne Tarver said “It is our privilege to give encouragement to all of our actors and crew in this way.”

The 168 Film Project has inspired over 1000 films created by an estimated 17,000 cast and crew. 168 Film is also a launching pad for emerging artists like Tea McKay star of UNBRIDLED, Maggie Jones, actor in WE BOUGHT A ZOO, and Joshua and Rebekah Weigel, writer/producers of THE BUTTERFLY CIRCUS with over 45 million Downloads, starring Nick Vujicic.

For interviews with filmmakers or Founder John David Ware or for more information: info(at)168film(dot)com.


Best Speed Film:             The River - Jeffrey Hamm    
Best Alumni Film:             Caged In - Aaron Kamp, Maggie Meyer    
Best KidVid:                 Carded - Susan Shearer    
Best Music Video:             The Last Song on Earth - Joshua Barker, Jahmal Holland    
Best Documentary:             Little Angels - Nellie Gonzalez    
Best Write of Passage:         The Lawn Boy - Mark Baird    
Best International Film:         After - Ben Whimpey - Australia    
Best Comedy:                 Behind the Scenes - Jason Marsh    
Best Director:                 Jeffrey Hamm - The River    
Best Director:                 Aaron Kamp - Caged In (non-speed)    
Best Supporting Actor:         William Kircher as Ed - The Paperclip    
Best Supporting Actor:          Robert Hartburn as Luke - Caged In (non-speed)        
Best Supporting Actress:     Leslie Thurston as Dr. Morris - Stroke of Faith    
Best Supporting Actress:     Melissa Meyer as Lily - Caged In (non-speed)    
Best Actress:                 Tea McKay as Emma in The Choice    
Best Actress:                 Maggie Meyer as Sara - Caged In    (non-speed)
Best Actor:                 Tony Lo Bianco as Johnny - Blondie    
Best Actor:                 Jeremy Levi as Jack - Caged In    (non-speed)
Audience Award 1:             I AM by Anthony Varon
Audience Award 2:             We Are Loved by Sharelle Hall
Best Make-up and Hair:          Jessica Taylor - After    
Best Making Of:             Making of After - Ben Whimpey    
Best Sound Design:         Peter Brewer - After    
Best Original Score:         Olivia Davies - The Voice in the Wilderness    
Best Production Design:         Alexa Harrington, Simone Wake - After    
Best Screenplay:             The Paperclip - Lee Kovel    
Best Screenplay Comedy:    I AM - Jonathan Moch    
Best Scriptural Integration:    The Paperclip - Lee Kovel    
Evangelista Award:             Carded - Mark Baird    
Best Editor:                 Jeff Hamm, Matthew Clark - The River    
Best Cinematography:        After - Sam Bennett    
Honorable Mention:             Evan George Vourazeris as Sherman - The Lawn Boy    
Honorable Mention:             Cristina Sanchez as Kelly - The Lawn Boy    
BEST SUPERHERO:        Zachery Michael Burgess as Super Hero Zach - Zach and Myhre    
169 Award:                 Mark Baird

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John David Ware
168 Film Festival
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