Riva + 168 awards.

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Riva won 7 awards. 

And I could not be more proud of my fellow filmmakers, Chris Wiegand and Alan Tregoning. It was both a joy and honor to create this film with you. 

Also, I must thank God for His provision in completely showing up at every step along the way from clearly working in the hearts of crazy generous people – who let us film at their locations, created our entire wardrobe, and so much more – to His provision in keeping me from getting bitten by the snakes in that water! 

As I got home well after midnight – after all the excitement of the after party, red carpet photos and interviews, and meeting our amazingly talented fellow filmmakers and award-winners – all was still and quiet. And I couldn’t help but think:

“That’s it?”

These awards are my first ever in the entertainment industry (besides winning Best Actress at a showcase in 2009.) I’ve watched many awards shows on TV from my couch – the Emmys, Grammys, Academy Awards and others – and I’ve thought, “How cool it must be to be there! How great to be getting recognized! How… fulfilling!” 

But as I experienced it all for myself (though just to be clear, I am not comparing this to the Academy Awards by any means!), as I was the one walking up to receive awards, and I was the one giving that acceptance speech… I was also the one coming home to a quiet house after all was said and done, on a Sunday night before a Monday morning when it’s back to the grind and wondering if I will ever work again in this town! 

As crazy as it seems, I’ve heard successful filmmakers and famous actors say they have the same doubts. They have the same fears. And I know some feel the loneliness and weight of that quiet when they find themselves in that calm after the storm – that inner emptiness that continually lurks despite the greatest amount of worldly “fulfillment.” 

I felt a tugging at my heart for all those actors and filmmakers who don’t know Christ. I long for them to know His love, to find their worth in Him, their acceptance by Him, and their fulfillment in Him. I long for them to know they are His child, He is their Father, and they don’t have to fear. 

“I’m no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God.” – Bethel Music, No Longer Slaves

Because at the end of the day, when the bright lights of the stage and flashbulbs fade, there is only one true light that remains, that endures through all the “hype,” that cuts through the darkness without fail. Every time. 

There was a swelling sadness in my heart that arose amidst the great joy from the evening. With a heavy heart, I prayed for those who don’t know Christ in this industry. 

And with a grateful heart I thanked God for His goodness in encouraging me along in my career – on this journey that often seems so rocky, so winding, dark and unknown. I thanked Him for being the faithful One who makes my crooked paths straight (Isaiah 45:2), who leads me by still waters (Psalm 23:2), who calms the storms of life (Psalm 107:29), and who brings me fulfillment – not the fulfillment that comes from worldly recognition and praise, but the fulfillment that comes from knowing who I am in Him. 

I would love to continue working in the entertainment industry. I love acting. I love writing. I love storytelling. I love creating quality content to be consumed by believers and non-believers alike – content that is pure, that gets people thinking, that is high quality, and that ultimately points all to Christ. 

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But I know there is much I can’t control in this industry, and I know there is much I can’t control in my life (and thank God for that!) But I also know that wherever the Lord leads, whatever doors He opens (or doesn’t!), that I will be used by Him, that He will guide me on the path He chooses, and that as long as I look to Him, seek to glorify Him, always give Him the recognition, honor, and praise – where He leads, I will follow. And I will be fulfilled. 

I am beyond grateful for the recognition we received last night for our film, Riva – one that represents a ton of hard work, of literal blood, sweat, and tears, and years of pounding the pavement in this industry. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to create this film and for everything the 168 Film Project is doing. There are some incredible films created through it, and I’m thrilled to share ours with you soon. 

Thank you for reading my scattered thoughts and reflections. To Him be all the recognition. 

Riva won the following awards at the 168 Film Festival:

Best Editor

Best Director

Best Cinematography

Best Scriptural Integration

Best Supporting Actress

Best Actress

Best Film

Stay tuned. We will eventually post the full 11-minute version of our short film, Riva. But in the meantime, you may watch the trailer here!

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