Students prepare for Hollywood
“Son of God” producers choose two winning teams in the Elect Jesus competition
After more than one month since launching the competition, producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey announced the final winners of their video contest Monday, Feb. 24.
The contest, intended to promote the couple’s new film “Son of God,” prompted 65 total video submissions with more than 2 hours of content. After narrowing the field of competitors to top 10 and top three, the final two teams were both awarded as grand prize winners.
The two teams, a total of 10 students, will be flown to Los Angeles to personally meet producers Burnett and Downey and to attend a taping of the hit television show “The Voice.”
Senior DJ Judd won first prize with his video entitled “Google Search.” The video, which shows viewers the desperate online search of a man struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts before landing on a trailer for the movie.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting so many hits,” Judd said. “I posted it everywhere I could think of. I got it out there, and I’m glad people watched it.”
According to Burnett and Downey, videos were judged on originality, creativity, quality of filmmaking, brand effectiveness and the number of views on Liberty’s YouTube channel.
“I had seen a documentary from a Canadian film festival about a breakup over Facebook,” Judd said, explaining the inspiration for his video. “It was in the same style as the way that I did first person on my video. Watching that documentary of a breakup made me feel like I was breaking up with someone. It was really intense, so I knew how powerful the first person perspective on screen was. That’s what really led me to pursue the onscreen-only aspect.”
According to Judd, the video took him and his partner, Tiernan McGrath, 20 hours in total to record and polish.
“(McGrath) helped me with the pre-production and post-production,” Judd said. “He did all the script work and paperwork in pre-production, and then he actually made the part where the 30-second movie trailer plays, and then I plugged it into the overall video.”
Judd discovered he had won the competition after a surprise visit from Johnnie Moore, Liberty’s senior vice president for communications.
“It was really a 180,” Judd said. “When I walked up to the door, I was really upset. My (resident assistant) told me that my (resident director) wanted to see me, but he didn’t give me any other information. I thought I was in super trouble because when do you ever get called into your (resident directors’) But I was really surprised. I had no idea that it was going to happen right then.”
According to Judd, the victory was especially satisfying as a student of the School of Communications and Creative Arts.
“Since the cinema department was founded, there has been a rivalry between cinema and digital media and broadcasting, so it felt really good to come out on top,” Judd said. “That was part of the reason that I went with the onscreen approach. I had other ideas that would have required filming with cameras, but I knew that since it was open to all the students, the cinema students would be entering. I know that they have $50,000 Red cameras, so that’s why I took the onscreen Google search approach. I knew that it would stand out and most likely be different from what everyone else was doing.”
Though the students do not have their itineraries yet, Judd is excited to travel to the West Coast for the first time and to see the impact the movie will have in theaters.
“I think it’s really exciting for people who maybe wouldn’t read the Bible or for someone who has heard about Jesus but has never really been explained or told in detail about his life and what he did when he was here,” Judd said. “Hopefully, they will see this movie as something that they can go to with one of their Christian friends or even by themselves and really get to start answering some of the