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My name is Lauren Havel. I'm an eighteen-year-old filmmaker striving to create beauty, inspire others, and spread hope! My life has already been an incredible journey and I can't wait to keep on using it to the glory of God! If you want to know how I became a filmmaker and the details of this crazy adventure, then read on below!

A Filmmaker's Journey

In 2018, just after I turned thirteen, my mom signed me up for a film camp at a local private school. The moment I picked up a camera, I felt like I never wanted to put it down! I went home that first day, signed up for an online film course, and returned to my second day of camp brimming with new knowledge and excitement.  I had already become passionate about my new craft!

As I reflect back, I believe that God had been preparing me my whole life to be a filmmaker. For years I had directed skits with my cousins at thanksgiving, read countless classics, and found a love in storytelling through many unfinished books I'd tried to write. Filmmaking wasn't just something I stumbled upon; it was part of a perfectly orchestrated plan laid out by the greatest storyteller of all. God. 

Several months after that film camp, I began to see the importance of filmmaking. It wasn't just a fun pastime - it could be used to impact others and bring meaningful messages to the entire world. With the help of a friend, I wrote a script and threw my first short film together in a matter of days. Few people ever saw it but it was an amazing experience and I found myself more hooked on filmmaking than ever!

Just a few weeks after finishing that first short, I went on to create another. This time I recruited my Mom for moral support. Over the next six months, 'I Hate Kate' (An Anti-Bullying Film) came into existence. A couple months after premiering it at my church, I decided to create a YouTube channel where I uploaded 'I Hate Kate' for the world to see! As my passion for filmmaking wasn't fueled by dreams of fame and glory, I was undeterred when the views came in slowly. Before long, I decided to embark on an even more challenging project- the creation of my very first feature film!

It didn't take me long to realize that making a feature film is no joke! I had plenty of naysayers that said that it would be impossible at my age (just 14 at the time). Thankfully, I refused to listen to these well-meaning people, choosing instead to believe that when you follow the Lord's guidance, absolutely nothing is impossible! That was proven to me when, despite many challenges (including a four-month break due to lockdowns), 'Screened In' came to be!

By the way, something crazy happened while we were filming 'Screened In.' A few months after posting 'I Hate Kate' to YouTube, it suddenly went viral! To date it has amassed over 7.3 million views! Suddenly, thousands of children from all across the globe were leaving comments on my YouTube channel about their experiences of being bullied and how they had been touched by 'I Hate Kate'. My Mom and I personally responded to every single one. What a blessing it was for us to be able to encourage so many hurting people! I still marvel that God gave us such an incredible opportunity!

Screened In was released on Vimeo On Demand in August 2020, and in December of that same year, we began to work on a new screenplay- this time for my second feature film! You might think it would be smooth sailing the second time around but that's far from the truth! Filmmaking is never easy, but the challenges (and there are many), allow me to see the hand of God in ways I never had before I became a filmmaker! The challenges I face as a filmmaker have caused my faith to grow, my skills as a director and cinematographer to increase, and perseverance rewards me with the satisfaction of seeing another project brought to completion. Before I knew it, 'Not Broken' was ready to be premiered at our local theater! 

Just as 'Not Broken' was being premiered, my first feature, 'Screened In' won the Young Filmmaker Award at the 2021 Christian Worldview Film Festival! This accolade led to a distribution deal for both of my feature films! It's incredible, awe-inspiring, and humbling to see how God is using my life, and I want you all to know that none of this could have ever happened on my own accord. To God alone be the glory! As I look back on all that He has done in the past, I'm excited to see what he'll do with my life in the future!

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