Nuworlds Productions, a Salt Lake City-based production company, announces the filming of its first feature length film, "Day of Defense." During the past two years, Nuworlds Productions has specialized in commercial, info-mercial and movie-short production. Distributors are attracted to Day of Defense because of its powerful story and the fact that it's the first feature film in Utah to use the new digital movie camera made famous of late by George Lucas in the filming of the last two Star Wars films.
Day of Defense is based on the book, "A Day of Defense" by A. Melvin McDonald. The screenplay, written by Andrew Lenz and Jim Westwood, centers around the arrival of two missionaries representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the fictional town of Marysville. The town, as well as the county, are dominated by a Christian Town Council. The Council, headed by a Baptist Minister, views the LDS faith as non-Christian, and therefore denies it a license to preach. An old-school judge has been recently replaced by a new female judge who decides to hear the missionaries' pleas, in the form of a trial, and let a jury decide whether or not Mormons are Christians and should be allowed to preach in the town and county. The judge's decision, said Westwood, sets off a fire storm of arguments as emotions flair and members of the community grapple with long-held beliefs and perceptions. Friendships, relationships and attitudes are stretched to the limit. At the heart of the intense and thought-provoking drama is the concept that Americans are still dealing with religious intolerance in many forms on a daily basis in communities across the country. However, as new generations emerge and take positions of power, change is possible. While the movie is partly framed around the experiences of the two missionaries, Westwood said it is not so much about the LDS church as it is about society as a whole and religious intolerance. "This time, the LDS Church is at the center of the problem. In another environment or situation, it could just as easily be the Catholic Church, Protestants, Jews, or any other religion".
Day of Defense has much the same feeling as the classic "To Kill A Mockingbird", a powerful courtroom drama which explores racial injustice and prejudice.Unlike Mockingbird, however, Westwood said the courtroom scene does not dominate the film but simply sets the stage for the real story, which is the affect the trial has on the town.
Nuworlds is emphasizing that this is different than any other "LDWOOD (LDS Hollywood) film that has been produced. "We consider this to be a cross-over film and are sure it will appeal to LDS and non-LDS audiences alike," said Westwood. "Day of Defense is extremely emotional, powerful and thought-provoking. It's provocative but not controversial. It's a two-box movie - two boxes of Kleenex." We expect it to start a dialog.
The main characters are played by actors Andrew Lenz and Brooks Utley, Michelle Wright, John Foss, Allan Groves, Jim Westwood, Mitch English, Salina Starr and Bryce Chamberlain The movie was Directed by filmmaker Adam Lawson; Director of Photography: Clark Cooper.
For more information, access the company's web site, www.nuworlds.net as well as the film's web site, www.dayofdefense.com.
There are two different movie posters, one featuring the Elders and one featuring the lawyers that can be seen here:
...So far, more than 15 LDS-themed movies have been produced for theaters since the success of "God's Army" in 2000, and a half-dozen or so others are planned for the next year. Two will hit theaters in the next two weeks: the mock-documentary "The Work and the Story" and the courtroom drama "Day of Defense."...
A new organization has jumped into "action."
Richard Dutcher and Jongiorgi Enos announced the creation of the Utah Filmmakers Association (UFA) last week, an organization the two founders say is designed to support independent films of all types in Utah.
Dutcher, who is well-known for his Mormon-niche films "God's Army" and "Brigham City," said in a news release that launching an organization that can give back to the community and foster arts locally has been one of his longtime dreams.
"We would like to see Utah remembered as, and increasingly become, a hotbed of creative energy all year long, not just in January," Dutcher said. "There are several groups, government agencies and, of course, the various film schools all working individually toward various goals in film-related arts in Utah, but there has never been a group to foster independent film generally, bridging the gap between the professional and educational worlds."
Dutcher will serve as executive director of the nonprofit group while Enos will be managing director. The two have already launched an ambitious schedule of events that includes a member orientation on Tuesday, a professional camera workshop and an introductory panel discussion on Thursday, and a Utah Filmmaker Feature Film Opening -- "Day of Defense" -- on Saturday. Many of these events are open to the public, while others are for members and require advance registration.
"UFA is going to be a very busy place," Dutcher said. "It's going to get even busier as we grow and get some help with some of this, but I'm excited by what we've already got set up."
For further information about the group and its activities, call 374-4832 or e-mail email@example.com.
NEW THIS WEEK
Day of Defense
[not yet reviewed]
Mormon missionaries go to court when a Midwestern town bans their proselytizing. At least they already brought their nice clothes with them. Opens Oct. 10 at theaters valleywide. (PG)
Fight the Power
Based on the book "A Day of Defense" by A. Melvin McDonald, the latest installment in LDS-themed cinema hits theaters this Friday. Written by Andrew Lenz and directed by Adam Lawson, it tells the story of two missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints arrested for breaking the unwritten law of unlicensed preaching.
In the film, missionaries are brought before a town council set on proving that the LDS Church is not a Christian faith. The local public defender is given the task of representing the young men while his best friend has the charge of leading the prosecution.
The movie, set up like a courtroom drama, explores the level of intolerance, religious freedom and belief found in a small American town.
In a strange parallel, the American Civil Liberties Union went to bat earlier this year, in Stratton, Ohio, for Jehovah's Witnesses when the city tried to prevent the group from door-to-door petitioning.
The movie probably won't settle the age-old question of whether life imitates art or vice versa. Still, if nothing else, it adds a different slant to the LDS cinema genre. "Day of Defense" opens in select theaters Friday.
Theaters (Starts Friday, October 10th)
Sign up on this site to get information on special events prior to the release of the movie. The movie opens at the following theaters in UTAH on October 10th, 2003. Check your local listings for exact times.
Salt Lake City