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When you think of Liberty University, you think of receiving a Christian education. Yet, there is more to this pretty campus with the sprawling mountains of Lynchburg, Va. There is a touch of Hollywood emerging out from the Liberty University Cinematic Arts, Zaki Gordon Center, and it is good.

The Liberty film “God’s Compass,” won Best Screenplay at the International Christian Film Festival in May.

But there was more to come.

Executive director of  the Liberty Cinematic Arts department, Stephan Schultze, didn’t know his film would also be walking away with awards for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Actor as well.

“Being nominated as a film at the highest level of the faith market and then to win the award in screenwriting, validates the incredible educational opportunity our students engage in as they go through the Cinematic Arts program at Liberty University,” said Schultze, according to a press release.

“Heaven is for Real” and “Brave Heart” director and writer Randall Wallace praised the film.

“‘God’s Compass’” portrays a kind of faith that seems out of reach to most of us and yet affirms its potential for all of us. Bold and brave in its story and its style, this is a film to applaud.”

The film tells the story of Suzanne Waters (Karen Abercrombie) who celebrates her retirement as a high school principle, but her journey would take another turn after taking in a delinquent teen named Eli (Joey Ibanez). The connection would change her life forever, and rekindled her faith in unexpected ways.

Abercrombie said during a recent interview with the Christian Examiner that the experience was “amazing.”

“We started each day with prayer, and everybody ate breakfast together, from the crossing guard to the actors to the director. Everybody was always on the same level; no one was favored for another. Then, we would take turns sharing Scripture, every morning. Also, while we were shooting, there were different groups and churches praying for us.”

A little Hollywood in Virginia–why not? If Liberty continues its current path, it might get a whole lot bigger and become a player in faith entertainment.

Schultze also wrote and directed “God’s Compass,” and shared that the recognition by the festival affords students a stage in the entertainment industry, especially the faith market. “No other film school in the country makes fully funded movies with its students. Liberty University’s cinema department is giving its students a tremendous gift.”

The “God’s Compass” was released with rave reviews on DVD May 3.


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