Christian Youth Film Festival

Youth work on their productions for the Christian Youth Film Festival.

“It changed my life!” These words were spoken by Destinee, a Bakersfield youth. What was the “it?” The Christian Youth Film Festival in Bakersfield put on by the Christian Youth Film Festival Society there. This young lady entered and discovered a new talent and passion that is, even now, shaping her future. It’s not an overstatement. Movies are the more influential communication medium today.

Today just about all Smart Phones include sophisticated cameras and the means to film and edit some pretty sophisticated movies. Many of our teens today use them in just that way, their films ending up on YouTube, and other publicly accessible sites.

But wouldn’t it be neat if those same teens — even pre-teens — had the opportunity to think about, construct, and make movies that explore such concepts as hope, forgiveness, and the true meaning of love, then see their creations on the big screen as they vie for well-deserved encouragement, recognition and prizes?

Well it’s happening sooner than you think. Feb. 18 is the final deadline to get your entries in for the Christian Youth Film Festival in Bakersfield. Then on Saturday, March 2, are the College Division screenings and Seminars and on Sunday, March 3, are the Teen Division screenings and Awards. Visit for guidelines and submission information.

Just a few more words about the festival. First, it’s been going on now for about a quarter of a century and, if you’re a young person who wants to express him or herself in film, you can’t miss this. Its history tells you why.

The first festival in 1994 was held at Bakersfield Christian Life Center, home of First Baptist Church. Early awards consisted of recycled bowling and softball trophies. As technologies improved and became more available, youth began creating real works of art. We started offering cash prizes and real trophies in 2004.

Then, in 2007 we moved to the Majestic Fox Theater in downtown Bakersfield and everything changed. It became a real competition for the best pictures and awards. Hollywood producers, directors, actors and writers joined our team of directors and judges.

We now offer workshops and seminars taught by professionals in the film industry. But we've kept all the wholesome fun, excitement and glamor of the original festivals, all the while teaching teenagers healthy competition, creative communication, cooperative teamwork and spiritual integrity. Our goal is to equip and encourage young people to create excellent visual stories of the Christian faith.

So, what now? Don’t wait. Get your movie ready and in by Feb. 18 using the information found on their website. If you need any last minute help, email Bill Kritlow at

Bill Kritlow is involved in the Christian Youth Film Festival.