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A little bit of a back story, it took me 2 years to finish this film, and this project was an adventure!

It all started in 2021 when I attended my first Catholic Art Institute conference in 2021 where I met Jared Seff. Only a few months before I met Sarah Crow, both of them became my good friends.

This year Kathleen Carr the founder of the Catholic Art Institute asked me about taking photos at their annual conference, I was excited about the opportunity to work with Catholic artists, it was an absolutely beautiful event and very inspiring, and it sparked my curiosity for Sacred Art.

I started spending more and more time with Sarah, observing her work, she was working on “Calling Of St. Matthew” by Caravaggio! It can’t get better than this, so I simply picked up my camera and started documenting her work.

Something started to develop, my idea was to capture Sarah’s beautiful conversion story, which we did, but we didn’t end up publishing it as it was very personal (maybe one day).

The project was developing further, I understood Sarah and respected her decision, so I switched gears and decided to focus more on the art itself than the person producing it, months were passing and I would capture tons of Sarah’s work at 2 of her studios. In the meantime, I started working on the goal of the film plus questions for the new interview.

This time we 100% focused on Sacred Art, and Sarah gave me tremendous answers making it super clear, what is Sacred Art, what is its role in today’s world, and why we should create more of it.

And that’s when the Catholic Art Institute announced their Film Festival! What a perfect timing!

I had great footage and answers to important questions but I felt like I was missing something, that was when I thought about adding a second person to the film, and my first thought was Jared Seff!

But he is living in Savanna, Georgia, and the deadline for the film is in 3 months, that didn’t matter to me, I knew I had to interview him and he was a perfect person for the film.

That’s how I ended up in Savanna for 2 days at the end of January, (and finally met Jared’s family and friends!).

I can say “The rest is history” I came back to Chicago, edited all new footage, reorganized my timeline, and applied to the film festival a few days before the deadline.

I was so excited to get the email from Kathleen on Tuesday morning Mar 19th, I took second place! Here is the official letter:

Dear Mr. Chlanda,

Congratulations! Your film “The Beauty of Sacred Art” has been awarded our Runner Up Best Short Film Award and a $250 prize. We will be screening it at our Festival on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in the Washington DC metro area at the historic Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in Arlington, VA. Our judges panel was very impressed with your project.

Please do let us know as soon as possible if you will be able to attend the festival screening.

Kindest regards,

Letters to Artists Film Festival Judges Panel
Barbara Nicolosi
Karen Hall

I couldn’t be more happy! Especially with such amazing judges, Barbara Nicolosi, and Karen Hall.

Don’t miss streaming on Sunday, April 14, 2024, in the Washington DC metro area at the historic Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in Arlington, VA.

Thanks again!

Sarah Crow


Jared Seff


Catholic Art Institute



Welcome to my blog! My name is Damian, I live in Chicago since 2015. I love to share my experience and knowledge on 3 subjects Photography, Coffee and Travel! Let me tell your story and capture memories with beautiful photography! Honorable Mention Award from “MIFA” – Moscow International Foto Awards.


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