The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Shining a Light on Talent

Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival celebrates 5th anniversary

2 months ago

By Skylla Mumana

This Thursday, Feb. 15, will mark the start of the 5th annual Waco Family and Faith International Film Festival.

The Waco Family and Faith International Film Festival is the brainchild of Dr. Tyrha Lindsey-Warren, a woman with numerous accolades and titles. The festival is also presented by Warren’s family charity, the GB Lindsey Family Charitable Fund. From professor to author to market strategist to — more recently — lead producer. Warren has worked tirelessly to bring quality entertainment to the 254.

Warren has been producing international film festivals since 2013 and has had an extensive career working at entertainment hubs in both Los Angeles and New York City. She started the Waco Family and Faith International Film Festival back in 2020 to foster community amongst local creatives and film enthusiasts and to help promote a diverse array of entertainment and conversation amongst the public.

“I thought maybe a film festival could be my small contribution to bring the community together outside of football,” Warren said.

Submissions are curated through filmfreeway.com, a platform that allows film festivals and screenplay contests to advertise their submission openings to potential filmmakers and enthusiasts. Then, together with her lead film evaluator DaManuel Richardson, Warren whittles down the submissions and hands off the final list to her film jury which consists of authors, CEOs, radio hosts and film directors. Then, after deliberating, the award winners will be announced at the festival.

“We keep submissions open for about two months,” Warren said. “After that, they go through a film evaluation process by my lead film evaluator who is also a film evaluator for Sundance.”

The festival will feature the works of 29 filmmakers from all over the world and will present 32 feature, short, student and animated films that will be screened at various locations across Waco, such as the Cambria Hotel, Bear Ridge Golf Club, the Waco Hippodrome Theatre, MARIE’s Wine Bar, Lee Lockwood Library and Museum, Waco Civic Theatre, Art Center Waco and the Pavilion at the Carleen Bright Arboretum.

This four-day festival will also include special events, such as the Champions Award Gala, the 4th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic and the 5th Anniversary Concert with Grammy Award-winning rock group Ozomatli.

Overall, aside from the glitz and glam, Warren hopes that this festival will help to encourage local creatives and entertainers to tap into their potential and be brave and proud of their work, especially the youth.

“I try to do my best to empower young people, especially black and brown kids, to dream big because I’ve noticed in Waco since I’ve been here that there’s lots and lots of talent,” Warren said. “Whether young people or adults, I don’t think a lot of the times people get empowered to shine their light with their talent. This film festival is not just for filmmakers. This film festival is for people who like to go see films and anybody who likes to come to the movies. This film festival is for you.”

Read more about the festival in our December issue.