Judson film fest steps onto national stage (Sun-Times Media)

by Emily McFarlan Miller

I look forward to covering the Imago Film Festival at Judson University every year; this year, especially, because it ended with a pre-release screening of “Blue Like Jazz,” inspired by one of my all-time favorite books.

ELGIN — What’s a movie that begins: “Do you know the difference between being free and being high? Yeah, me neither,” doing at a Christian film festival?

Exactly what Imago Film Festival director Terrence Wandtke had envisioned for the short film festival, now in its seventh year at Judson University in Elgin.

Imago stepped onto the national stage for the first time this year with the highly anticipated movie adaptation of Donald Miller’s New York Times-bestselling book “Blue Like Jazz,” its first-ever pre-release showing of a film.

The festival ran March 27 to 31 at Judson, ending with that screening and a keynote question-and-answer session between Wandtke and its co-writer, producer and director Steve Taylor.

“Blue Like Jazz” was something the festival director “actively pursued” after seeing a trailer for the film last summer, he said. Luckily, he said, one of Judson’s trustees knew Taylor from his career in Christian music.

“I think the subject matter is completely appropriate, and I think the tone of the film is very on target for our festival,” Wandtke said.

“One of the things I like so much about the book is Donald Miller is so refreshingly honest about his Christianity, his struggles. Too often there’s this standard pattern that people feel like they have to fulfill, usually showing Christianity as some sort of heroic destination, rather than the beginning of a story.”

For the rest of the story, read Judson film fest steps onto national stage (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Andrew Nelles for Sun-Times Media.