Cedarville student’s short documentary about depression and faith leads to award

A Cedarville University student’s dream to work in filmmaking is no longer out of reach as it’s turned into a reality.

Sophomore Elizabeth Kollmar is a broadcasting, digital media and journalism major from Spring Grove, Penn. who has always had a passion in creating “God-honoring” entertainment. She grew up in a home that nurtured her passion by learning about photography from her grandfather and making a YouTube channel with her mom during COVID-19 that taught people how to sew masks.

“One of the videos I made with my mom had over 1.5 million views,” she said. “I realized through that project how time-consuming making videos is, but the payoff at the end is completely worth it.”

Although Kollmar has a passion in filmmaking, she felt that career was not always possible until a class project led to a film award.

During her first year at the university, Kollmar took a video technology class where her final project was to create a documentary or short film.

Kollmar decided to make a documentary and tell the story about a girl in her discipleship group, which studied Hebrews in the New Testament, who struggled with depression after being diagnosed with Turner’s syndrome. Kollmar said who said her friend’s testimony was “really impactful” to her.

“It wasn’t about whether she was struggling or thriving that determined her faith, but how she learned to trust in God throughout the times of struggle. This film has given me the chance to share the gospel with others, and I hope that its story can continue to impact others,” she said.

To make the documentary come to life, Kollmar spent 45 minutes interviewing, two days filming and nearly 10 hours editing the four-minute documentary.

“The work of making a film is much more than people would expect. Getting all of the little details to work together to tell a cohesive story, shaping an interview, is so labor intensive but so rewarding,” she said.

After she turned in her project, Sean O’Conner, assistant professor of broadcasting, digital media and journalist, recommended Kollmar submit her documentary to a film contest, the 2022 International Conference on Missions.

Kollmar submitted her documentary in September, but didn’t expect anything to come out of it, until she got an email over fall break saying she was nominated for then final round then another on Oct. 22 saying she had won the contest.

“It was exciting to win because film is something I have wanted to do forever. To win an award is like a payoff for all of the hard work. Even though making the film and having people enjoy it is a reward in itself, knowing that this will keep the impact of the film going is exciting,” she said.

Kollmar was awarded earlier this month with the award for the Best Documentary at the International Conference on Missions (ICOM) in Columbus, which is hosted by Good News Productions International (GNPI) and Redeem TV. Her documentary, titled “Power in Weakness,” can be streamed for free through RedeemTV.

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