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Inspirational film festival returns to Waterworks cinema

| Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011

The ninth annual Projecting Hope Film Festival returns to Waterworks Cinema this Saturday bringing with it inspirational movies like "Courageous" and "Soul Surfer."

Admission to the films is free, but donations are accepted. Donations will go to Mission Vision, a Cranberry-based nonprofit that provides free vision care to the homeless and uninsured poor.

"That just started last year," festival producer Scott Anderson says.

"Last year's program raised about $5,000 for Mission Vision, and we're hoping to do the same or better this year."

Mission Vision executive director Susan Henault says the films will "grab your heart." Last year, she says, she saw that firsthand as she stood in the back of the theaters collecting donations.

"Men, women, and children were just moved by what they experienced," she says. "It was moving to see the sobbing, the laughter, the quiet and the peace. It clearly, clearly, impacts people."

"They are family friendly, spiritual, thought-provoking films about life-changing experiences that we've all gone through or know someone who has," she says.

Anderson says he came up with the idea for the festival 10 years ago in response to Christians' concerns about the content of popular movies and complaints about the cost of admission.

"The church was doing a lot of crying foul to Hollywood and boycotting," he says. "Instead of cursing the darkness, we decided we wanted to try and light a candle. We kind of learned as we went, but it's really not hard to sell something that offers hope and is free of charge."

He started the festival in his hometown of Dubois, where he works as media director at Tri-County Church.

From there, it grew to include the Pittsburgh event and a film festival in North Carolina.

"We honestly get requests from all over the country to do events like this," he says. "There's just a real demand for wholesome, God-honoring entertainment."

The three-day festival offers more than 20 showings of the movies.

Among its films are new releases like "Courageous," a movie about four law enforcement officers from the makers of the Christian film "Fireproof."

Popular recent releases like "Soul Surfer," based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack, starring Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid, will be shown as well.

For the youngest filmgoers, three animated VeggieTales features are included in the mix, as are two double features from Max Lucado's Hermie and Friends series, which teach Biblical life lessons to young audiences with stories about Hermie, Wormie and their garden friends.

Other offerings run the gamut from the drama "The Grace Card," with Louis Gossett Jr., to the thriller "Jerusalem Countdown," featuring Randy Travis, to "The Shunning," a Michael Landon Jr. film based on a book by best-selling author Beverly Lewis.

While admission is free, those interested in reserving tickets in advance can do so for a $5 per ticket fee. Tickets are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, while supplies last. The box office opens 45 minutes before the start of the first screening each day.

Additional Information:

Projecting Hope Film Festival

When : Friday-Sunday. Box office opens at 4:45 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. Saturday and 12:15 p.m. Sunday

Where : Waterworks Cinemas 10, Pittsburgh (near Aspinwall)

Admission : Free. Tickets available on first-come, first-serve basis. On the day of the showing, moviegoers can request free tickets for any film that day. Advance tickets can be reserved for a $5 fee. Donations go to Mission Vision.

Details :

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