Rediscovering Cinema through a Spiritual Lens

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Experience the Rhythm In:
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2009 – Faith Through The Storm


The 2009 John Paul II International Film Festival was the festival’s innagural year and ran from October 29th through November 7th in Miami, FL. The festival’s 2009 theme,Faith Through the Storm, was in honor of the trust it takes to journey the unknown while keeping one’s convictions.

The 2009 film festival was held in several one-of-a-kind, beautiful, and fairly intimate theaters through out South Florida including the Dolphin Mall Cobb’s CinéBistro, which hosted the JP2IFF’s Opening Night Film & Reception.


2009 seems to be a tough year for everyone. With the economic hardship, international warfare, the threat of a global pandemic, and the day-to-day struggles each of us face, it is safe to say we
are all caught in a storm– one that is testing our strength, both physically and spiritually.

We first began putting the festival together the last week of January, 2009. When we began, many friends and co-workers thought we were crazy. To tackle on a big project during a
recession seemed ridiculous, but to put together a film festival was sheer madness. Nevertheless,
we persisted. It was clear that this project was not being put together for our benefit, but for all.
It was obvious to us that our community needed to be reminded of its strengths, of its
triumphs, and of its faith.

As soon as we were ready for submissions, we knew we wanted a theme that would link together all of our filmmakers and their work. After all, our festival is about unity, and like with all
artists and creators, their films are a reflection of each of them. We thought, “What could unify
us? What is it that seems to be relevant to all of us?” It didn’t take long to come up with
an answer—and our theme: “Faith Through the Storm“.

Not long after choosing a theme, did Ralph come across a passage that spoke about the
endeavors of everyone involved in this project:

“…Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord. He is like a
tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when
it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.”  – Jeremiah 17: 5-10.

It’s amazing that in this “year of drought,” our filmmakers are somehow “bearing fruit.” It reminds us of the passage: “God’s ways are not man’s ways.” Modern “wisdom” would
probably have told us that we were not “wise” to start a company and festival, during these
hard financial times. Yet, “like the tree planted beside the waters,” many, including the crew
behind the John Paul II International Film Festival™ “fear not the heat when it comes.” It is our joy to share the witness of these courageous filmmakers with the community. Because, when the storm comes, it is our faith that will keep our roots planted and ready for the harvest.

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