When Christian Cinema's Christian Movie Madness opened on March 8, thirty-two teams completed in four brackets: True Stories, Historical, Parables, and Ministry. Emerging victorious thanks to votes from people like you, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone succeeded in emerging from the Ministry bracket to beat out True Stories' Hacksaw Ridge. Here is a brief recap of the competition.
In the first round, some lesser known films like Unlimited and Yellow Day lost to similarly-marketed films like Voiceless and Remember the Goal, but a few surprise victors emerged, like I Am Potential (which edged The Young Messiah) and New Life (which defeated heavily-decorated Providence). The second round saw several pre-tournament favorites, like Hillsong: Let Hope Rise and Alone Yet Not Alone, fail to advance. Still, several heavyweights like Miracles from Heaven, Risen, and God's Not Dead 2 remained after the second round, but they fell to other theatrically-released films like The Resurrection of Gavin Stone and the Rachel Scott biopic I'm Not Ashamed in the third round.
By the fourth round, semifinalist Priceless faced off against eventual winner Resurrection of Gavin Stone. In Priceless, for King & Country's Joel Smallbone plays James Stevenson, who at one time was a good man with a great life -- but finds himself involved in kidnapping a pair of sisters for a sex trafficking ring. Struggling to grasp at life after the death of his wife and the custodial loss of his daughter, Stevenson must determine where he will draw the line. Across the bracket, I'm Not Ashamed fell to Hacksaw Ridge. In Scott's story, we see how she was shaped from childhood to believe God had a purpose for her life, even as issues arose around her. When she finds herself at Columbine High School facing down two murderous teenagers, Scott's faith and courage are tested. Both Priceless and I'm Not Ashamed carry powerful stories about courage, faith, and standing strong in one's faith.
But there could only be one winner after all. In the final, the Desmond Doss story in Hacksaw Ridge could not overcome the modern-day parable about church and grace in The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. While Doss' story, about how one man's conviction to serve his country without carrying a weapon, saw Oscar nominations and critical acclaim, Andrew Garfield and Co. could not edge the film about one man's conversion to Christianity. Here, the story of failed actor Gavin Stone and his encounter with grace in a church's Easter pageant proved to push Dallas Stone and Harvest Bible Church's James MacDonald into the top spot of the contest's third year.
Who will win next year? Will it be The Case for Christ or The Shack, or will some surprising film rise to the top spot in 2018? In the meantime, you can watch some great Christian movies on ChristianCinema.com