Student filmmakers from the United States to the Middle East and from the Philippines to Mexico sent in their short films, hoping for a chance at the grand prize: an international trip to assist with filming a story for Mission Spotlight!

The “Mission is . . .” film contest launched on April 7, 2017, at the Sonscreen film festival in California, United States. Students from all over the world were encouraged to submit 30-second films that expressed what they think mission is and why it’s still important today. The top 10 entries were then selected by a judging panel. These 10 films were posted on the Adventist Mission website, where the public voted for their favorite films.

Adventist Mission believes that films showing mission work and how God is changing lives are important tools for evangelism and building faith. That’s why Adventist Mission produces the Mission Spotlight and Mission 360˚ short films that church members across the world watch each Sabbath.

Meet the Winners


Rachel Fortunato

University of Montemorelos, Mexico

Prize: International film trip

Mission 360° (M360°): What attracted you to filmmaking?

Rachel: Film to me has always been more than simple pictures running rapidly across a television screen; it’s an art that has expressed every human emotion, touching more people than any other area of study.

M360°: What motivated you to enter the contest?

Rachel: I was motivated because it allowed me the opportunity to engage in one of my passions. I also liked the fact that the church has put a lot of effort into filmmaking, and the different prizes were really nice.

M360°: What message do you hope people will take from your film?

Rachel: Being a missionary isn’t simply traveling to other places where there’s poverty. Mission is a way of living. What Jesus commanded us to do in our daily lives is to serve others as He did here on earth. The mission is right in front of us: a neighbor, friend, anyone in need.


Madai Villa-Coppiano

Andrews University, United States

Prize: GoPro HERO5 camera

M360°: What attracted you to filmmaking?

Madai: What attracted me most was its ability to influence people’s perspectives and help us understand each other more, as well as the art behind it. My creativity is always expanding, and I have come to really love that it’s never the same work over and over but something new each time.

M360°: What motivated you to enter the contest?

Madai: I have always enjoyed Adventist mission work in my church ever since I was little. I love doing mission work, going on mission trips, and I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to combine film and mission work. I knew I had to do it and just could not miss out.

M360°: What message do you hope people will take from your film?

Madai: I hope people take the message that it is really important to have your own spiritual walk with God and to have Him as your best friend before you go door to door or tell your neighbor about the love of Jesus. People will look at your character and your personal life with God before they can commit to your words. And if you live what you preach, that’s what mission really is to me.


Ash-raf Awad

Middle East University, Lebanon

Prize: Ricoh Theta S spherical camera

M360°: What attracted you to filmmaking?

Ash-raf: The power of media. Media is everything now. We can reach all people and access people who are hard to reach.

M360°: What message do you hope people will take from your film?

Ash-raf: Mission is important because it helps you learn how to give something to someone in need. In Egypt, we say, “Teach me how to fish; don’t just give me a fish.” It’s important to teach each other. Mission can be anywhere, and it’s not only a story, it’s also an experience that can change both the missionary and the one the missionary reaches.

Judges' Choice

Madelyn Rogers

Southern Adventist University, United States

Prize: Scratch-off world map

M360°: What attracted you to filmmaking?

Madelyn: I chose to pursue filmmaking because I’ve always loved to tell stories. I think film is one of the most powerful ways we can communicate and make an impact on others, and I love the endless possibilities it holds.

M360°: What motivated you to enter the contest?

Madelyn: I decided to enter at the last minute. I didn’t really think I could do it, but finally I realized that if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t learn anything, and I wanted to learn. I knew learning by experimentation always leaves the longest impression on me, so I took the dive, pulled together a crew, found an idea, and entered it.

M360°: What message do you hope people will take from your film?

Madelyn: Through my film, I hope others will be reminded that they don’t necessarily have to wait until they have an opportunity to go overseas—they can spread light right at home, maybe even next door. Mission starts with you.

The “Mission is . . .” film contest inspired these young filmmakers to express their feelings about mission and its importance in today’s world. Watch the winners’ short films at

Kayla Ewert
Office of Adventist Mission