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Why Are We Doing an Online Film Festival?

Asking why TransformingTheChurch.org is doing an online film festival of entertainment films, and not educational content, is a fair question with a couple of simple answers. This is our second film festival and the answers are the same as with our first festival.

First, we need some traffic to try out our newly upgraded features of streaming media platform.

If you are visiting our website for the first time, we are a North American online distance-education site that serves multiple denominations of the greater Church in North America. Large amounts of high-quality video content are the core of almost all of our courses. Each of our courses typical consists of six to eight hours of professionally-produced high definition video. To support our video, we operate our own extensive streaming media platform.

We need lots of visitors and a high volume of traffic to fully exercise our newly upgraded video streaming platform as its final real-world trial before we place our new features into full production for all of our students. While tested extensively in our laboratories, nothing beats having a couple of thousand regular people in the real world using the system while employing almost every type of access device under the sun.

In today's environment, users have many different devices to use:

  • Personal computers (with several operating systems, versions and ages)
  • Many different web browsers; (with many different releases)
  • Tablets (again with several different operating systems and versions)
  • Smartphones (from several manufacturers and versions)
  • Smart televisions.

Taken together, there are thousands of different variables for end users' devices that will use our website and view our content.

We wish to serve all of them equally well. To meet this objective, we do extensive cross-platform testing. Even when we finish testing, nothing beats real-world experience.

In this upgrade, we are deploying an all-new media player.

The new features of our streaming media platform have been carefully implemented and fully tested. However, we would still like a "pulse event" to create a lot of traffic in a short period. We can collect statistical information about its performance across a broad base of users with all of the different types of devices they will use.

For this reason, our idea is to host a FREE online film festival open to the public for all of our students, friends and guests.

The quid pro quo is that you will get to see over three hours of FREE, high-quality streaming entertainment. In turn, we will get traffic statistics on our new media platform so we can analyze its behavior before we fully deploy it into production.

The film festival will be the first time our new media player will be used by the general public within our media system. However, we are highly confident that the new platform can handle the load.

Our second reason for offering an online film festival is that we often do online events for our students and members. Less frequently, we do large-scale public events for not only the people regularly associated with our website but also for the general public. This online film festival is one of those occasions.

Our third reason for offering a public online film festival is because it will be fun. We will bring a unique documentary to our audience that is likely unknown and unseen by many of you. Not all of our events have to be serious; we can also have some fun.

This films is both general entertainment and educational; it is not our typical educational video. It should appeal to a broad audience.

The Motion Picture Association of America has not rated this film, but it should be suitable for audiences of all ages.