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"The Other Side of Heaven"
Articles and Reviews
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"The Other Side of Heaven: Behind the Scenes"
to air this weekend on television

March 14, 2002

Special to Air on KBYU and BYU-TV

Salt Lake City, UT--This Sunday, television audiences will get to look behind the
scenes at the people and places in the hit film "The Other Side of Heaven."
The 30-minute special will air on Sunday, March 17 on KBYU-TV (6:30 pm) and on BYU
Television (9:30 pm).

The special features in-depth interviews with stars Christopher Gorham, Anne Hathaway
and Joe Folau.  Interviews with filmmakers, including writer/director Mitch Davis,
producer John Garbett and Academy Award-winning producer Gerald R. Molen give
insights into the challenges of filming on location in the Cook Islands. 

Reviews of the film have all lauded the beautiful cinematography and breathtaking
locations portrayed in the movie about a young man's journey to the Kingdom of
Tonga.  Sunday's TV special lets viewers see how the production crew actually was
able to film challenging scenes, from recreating a massive hurricane to shooting a
small boat being rocked by enormous waves.

"The Other Side of Heaven" opened in Utah and Idaho on December 14, 2001 to
big crowds, and grossed the highest opening weekend per-screen average of any PG
film released in 2001. The movie will open in cities nationwide on April 12.  It
tells the true story of Utah resident and LDS Church leader Elder John H. Groberg
and his mission to Tonga in the 1950's. 

"The Other Side of Heaven: Behind the Scenes" will be rebroadcast on KBYU on
Friday, March 22 (8:30 PM).  It will be rebroadcast on BYU Television on Wednesday,
March 20 (5:30 PM), Saturday March 23 (6:30 PM) and Thursday March 28 (9:00 PM). 
BYU Television is broadcast on the DISH and DirecTV Networks.  

Mary Jane Jones
Media Relations, Excel Entertainment Group

Other Side of Heaven Opens Nationwide

For Immediate Release

Contact:        Ronni Chasen/Jeff Sanderson (LA)
                Chasen & Company/310-274-4400

                Steven Zeller (Field)
                GS Marketing/310-860-0270

                Mary Jane Jones (Distribution)
                Excel Entertainment Group/801-358-7020

PG-rated film produced by "Schindler's List" & "Jurassic Park" Oscar winner
Gerald R. Molen; stars Christopher Gorham and Anne Hathaway

"THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN" is the latest film from Academy Award winning
producer Gerald R. Molen ("Schindler's List," "Jurassic Park")
starring Christopher Gorham ("A Life Less Ordinary," "Popular,"
"Felicity") and Anne Hathaway ("The Princess Diaries") and is
being released nationwide on April 12 by Salt Lake City-based Excel Entertainment
Group.  This inspiring, heartfelt, coming-of age family drama was written and
directed by Mitch Davis (making his feature film directorial debut) and based on the

The film tells the true story of a 19-year old John Groberg's experiences as a young
man who travels to the exotic island of Tonga in the 1950's to become a missionary. 
Through letters, he shares his challenging, humorous and life-affirming adventures
with "the girl back home."  

"THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN" opened to great success in Utah and Idaho in
limited release in December 2001, grossing the highest per-screen average of any PG
film released that year.

The film has already garnered some advance plaudits from Larry King:  "This movie
is just what America needs.  I loved it."  Michael Medved said that the film
was "skillfully crafted, heart-felt, and altogether refreshing."

"THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN" was shot in spectacular locations around the Cook
Islands and New Zealand, using many of the same key technical crew that worked on
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."  The film will be the
third motion picture Excel has distributed in theatres in less than two years.  

Excel Entertainment Group was established in 1995 when Jeff Simpson, a former Disney
executive, became president and CEO of the newly formed organization.  The company
is composed of four independent record labels, a motion picture distribution
division and is a regional leader in the wholesale distribution of music and videos.

"THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN" is an Excel Entertainment Group release of a
3Mark Entertainment presentation of a Molen/Garbett production.  The film was
produced by Gerald R. Molen and John Garbett.  Executive producer is Mitch Davis. 
It was directed and written by Mitch Davis.

Letter to the Editor:
'Other Side' a great film

By: Edna Farrer
Date: 13 February 2002
Source: Deseret News

I'm trying to remember how long it's been since the last time I went to a movie theater and saw a movie that I totally enjoyed. Today I went to see a new movie, a movie that I didn't think Hollywood was capable of making or would want to make.

Now that I've seen it, I think that the people who made this film were not thinking of how much money it would bring in, because they had the desire to put into film a beautiful, clean, good and wholesome story.

When the movie ended I sat there thinking how rare this movie was; in a world where sex, immorality, violence, profanity and lack of respect for anything that's good and decent prevails, here was a movie that someone had wanted to make, that was worth watching. It seemed unreal.

I felt such gratitude for the people who were involved in making it and for the man who inspired it. If you too feel that no good movies are made anymore, you'll be nicely surprised when you go see "The Other Side of Heaven." It is beautiful and very well made. My thanks to all those who made it possible.

Edna Farrer

The Other Side of Heaven" - A Review by 'MaoriFett'

By: MaoriFett
Date: 2001
Source: Dark Horizons

Just got back from a pre-screening of Mitch Davis's "The Other Side of Heaven" being shown to Polynesian audiences in Salt Lake City. With all the recent buzz surrounding the boy-wizards, hobbitts, casino thieves, and sporting legends of this year's yuletide season, I must admit that it seems we are definitely in for a cinematic "season for the ages". To compliment all of the vivid action and adventurism in store this Christmas, "The Other Side of Heaven" provides an absolutely heart-warming and inspirational movie experience. I really wasn't expecting much going into this movie, as I am a Maori man that simply can't wait to see my comrades and homeland in LOTR [Lord of the Rings] & AOTC [Star Wars: Attack of the Clones]. But this film is absolutely outstanding all across the boards. Terrific directing, perfect casting, simply stunning cinematography, and most of all, a story that leaves you better than you were before you walked in the theater. The academy-award winning producing team of Schindler's List, Jurassic Park & Dead Poet's Society were present at the pre-screening and called it their "best movie-making experience hands down" and it truly shows. Don't miss the chance to compliment this incredible cinematic Christmas with a film that will truly elevate your senses.

REVIEW: Heaven' has missionary zeal but fails to tie episodes

By: Richard Nilsen, Gannett News Service
Date: 8 March 2002
Source: The Arizona Republic (
Alt. Source: Fortworth Star-Telegram, 12 April 2002 (
Alt. Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 12 April 2002 (

*** [3 out of 5 stars]

The Other Side of Heaven is about a Mormon missionary's three years in the South Sea Islands, holding temptation at bay while bringing moribund children back to life and incurring the alternating trust and suspicion of the natives, all the while building a church and writing letters to his sweetheart back home.

Critics sometimes write about movies that "aren't for everyone." Usually when they say that, they're talking about movies they enjoyed but which will not find a wide audience. The Other Side of Heaven isn't for everyone, and in this case it's not for me, either.

Yet those who look for a family film that isn't totally banal will find a good deal to appreciate in it. It maintains a rock-solid morality without ever getting bogged down in doctrine. Except for the particularities of Mormon missionhood, our hero might be an adherent of any of a dozen other religions.

But while it stands head and shoulders above such previous Mormon movies as God's Army, it's still rather unfulfilling for those not listening to the sermon from the choir.

The problem isn't the acting, which is uniformly good. Christopher Gorham brings dimension to the missionary, and the New Zealand and Tongan actors all create fully drawn characters. Nor is there a problem in the production: This is not an amateur movie - its producer, Gerald Molen, won an Oscar for producing Schindler's List. The problem is that the movie never quite develops as a drama. It has some pleasant episodes, but they don't pull together to create a single narrative with tension and resolution.

There is no meaningful conflict in the film. The missionary comes to the island and does good. He comes to love the islanders, but then, he never disliked them to begin with. He becomes more competent as he progresses, but he doesn't evince any inner growth. In fact, he doesn't evince much of an inner life; what spirituality he has is all in the externals.

And the plot of the movie is just one episode after another: Missionary brings dying boy back to life; missionary survives having his feet gnawed by rats; missionary survives typhoon, survives being tempted by beautiful island girl and, later, survives church bureaucracy. But we never doubt our hero will prevail.

Nor, we soon learn, should we doubt that his necktie will prevail with him. At first, he just looks a little out of place among the Tongans in his coat and tie. But later on, it becomes an unintended joke as he survives a devastating hurricane, muddy and bloodied, but never loosens his tie. The tie seems so miserably out of place in this film, but it is a symbol of the inner rigidity of his character.

And finally, the movie never questions the desirability of converting the Tongans to a religion that would seem to make little sense in their world. Near the film's end, there is a nod to the doubt whether it makes any sense for Tongans to listen to The Lone Ranger on the radio, but it has no doubt they are better off for wearing ties.

[When this review was later published in the Rochester (New York) DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE, it was given a 6 out of 10 score.]

Art Briefs:
LDS Cinema News

Date: 26 March 2002
Source: Salt Lake Tribune

LDS Cinema News

The mini-genre known as "LDS Cinema" marches on with two recent announcements:

* "The Other Side of Heaven," which has grossed more than $1.6 million in regional release, will go national on April 12.

The film -- based on LDS Church official John H. Groberg's experiences as a missionary in Tonga in the 1950s -- will debut in 160 markets nationwide, at between 400 and 1,000 screens, according to Mary Jane Jones, publicist for Excel Entertainment Group.

A TV special on the making of "The Other Side of Heaven" airs tonight at 6:30 on KBYU (Ch. 11).

* A movie version of Jack Weyland's novel Charly, one of Deseret Book's all-time best-selling titles, is scheduled to hit theaters this fall.

Charly is a romantic comedy, first published in 1980. Its protagonists are Sam, an uptight BYU student, and Charlene, a vivacious and fun-loving young woman who teaches Sam "what it's like to be really alive" (a direct quote from Weyland's Web site).

The movie was shot last fall in northern Utah, directed by Adam Anderegg, a BYU graduate who has worked as an editor on "Touched by an Angel." The screenplay was written by Janine Whetten Gilbert, an English professor at BYU-Idaho (where Weyland teaches physics). The stars are Heather Beers, who appeared in the made-in-Utah series "Cover Me," and Jeremy Elliott, who co-starred in the LDS-themed "Out of Step" and the LDS Church-produced "The Testaments."

Hangin' With...
Anne Hathaway and Mandy Moore: the Princess and the Cheerleader

By: Lynn Barker
Date: 8/29/2001
Source: A Girl's

In the new comedy The Princess Diaries based on the popular novel by Meg Cabot, actress Anne Hathaway, most recently seen on t.v. in the Fox network show "Get Real", plays Mia, a nerdy girl transformed into a real princess with the help of her grandma, Julie Andrews. Her nemesis is Lana, the most popular girl at school, played by highly successful popstar Mandy Moore in her first acting role on camera (She was the voice of a bear in the recent Dr. Dolittle 2). spoke with the two rising stars recently about their experiences on the set, working with Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall and legend, Julie Andrews.

Anne, how did you land this lead role?

I was on my way to New Zealand to do an independent film called "The Other side of Heaven" and I had a 26 hour stop-over in L.A. I said hey, I'm there for a little bit, why don't I just go in and audition? It was called "The Princess of Tribeca" then. I knew it was with Garry Marshall and I knew he directed Pretty Woman which is one of my favorite films of all time. I knew Julie Andrews was in negotiations to play the queen so I thought this is a great. I'm just gonna go chill with the director. No one told me that not only was Garry there, but his three assistants, the eight casting directors from Disney, the many people. I walked in there and thought I was gonna puke. Not very elegant to say but I was so nervous. Garry gave me the first set of directions and we clicked. We got along so well. I think we were friends in a past life. I got the call to screen test and I said well, that's great but I'm going 6,000 miles away tomorrow. Garry said we'll use your audition tape and Disney liked it.

When did you know you had the part?

I had been working until 4:00 a.m. the night before doing an underwater sequence and I was asleep when I got the call. My brother was in New Zealand with me and he gave me the phone and said your agent and your manager are on the phone and I'm like They didn't call New Zealand to tell me I didn't get it... Yeah!' I get on the phone and they say 'Hello, Princess' and I screamed 'You're kidding me!'. It was really magical cuz I really wanted it and I'm so lucky to have gotten the part

Your transformation (from nerd to Princess) is so incredible. Some people think two actresses are playing the part.

A lot of people say that and that just shows how good the people who created Mia's "look" are. Hollie D'Amore, my make-up artist was so good. She put every single eyebrow (hair) on so you know that's a labor of love and Gary Jones the costume designer too. We had a whole lot of hair people working on this and they were all fantastic.

We hear director Garry Marshall practically talks his own language. Did either of you have any funny exchanges with him?

Anne: Well, there was "red leather, yellow leather". I speak very quickly and that was Garry and my code for speak slowly and concisely. It was great because I had to do some voice recording into a tape recorder and when he sent me the notes, one was 'Remember Annie, red leather, yellow leather'. It was like 'Oh, he knows me sooo well'.

Mandy: He has his own vocabulary and he'd go 'Mandy, I want you to walk into the scene and have a little choffa choffa'. That's his word for background action and background noise. He even had a little hat that said it. He'd continue to use that throughout the film. Someone needs to make a movie based on him. He's a character, amazing.

Mandy, how was working with Anne?

She's such a sweet person, beautiful, like she's being touted as the next Audrey Hepburn and I believe it. Just watching her at the press screening, watching the movie, I'm going 'Wow, she carried the whole movie on her shoulders'. She did an amazing job. Like the transformation (to princess), everything. It was impeccable. She was great. Nobody could have played the part like she did.

Both of you. What was it like to meet and work with film legend Julie Andrews?

Anne: There were about a hundred people at the script read through. I was nervous. I hadn't shot anything yet. Hey, they could fire me. I heard a whisper 'Julie Andrews is here' and then I realized she would be sitting next to me. My heart was fluttering so fast because she's been my hero since I was 3 years old and I went over and held out a shaky hand and go 'Ms. Andrews, it's really nice to meet you. My name's Annie' and she pulled me into a giant bear hug and said 'It's so nice to meet you. We're going to have such fun!' I just fell in love with her. The read through was great fun. She and I had a great chemistry. My favorite scenes in the film are the ones with her. She gives you so much to work with as an actress. She's such a good person.

Mandy: Heather (Matarazzo who plays Anne's best friend in the film) and I became really good friends and we were hanging out in San Francisco and she goes 'Dude, Julie Andrews is gonna be on set tomorrow. I'm so excited' and I'm like 'Dude, I know' so we ran to Tower Records, ran to the music store and bought her "Sound of Music" soundtracks and the next day on set it was 'There she is. I can't go up and say anything to her' and Heather's like 'I can't do this' so I'm like 'I have to do this'. I ran up to her, tapped her on the shoulder and said 'Miss Andrews, could you sign my CD?' She was like 'Of course'. she was amazing. So, much enthusiasm and presence and dignity. Heather and I got her to sign our CD's and I took a picture with her and it made my life. My mom was so excited to be there too because The Sound of Music was her favorite film ever. It was amazing.

You didn't sign one of your CD's for her?

No. I didn't even think of that.

For all the girls and young women out there, Anne, what do you want them to take away from your character and the story?

Anne: I think the extraordinary thing about this film is to show that everybody out there is a princess. No one who sees me right off the bat would say, 'She's obviously a princess'. We each have hidden royalty within us and it's accessing that and embracing it and saying 'I'm going to be as wonderful as I want to be'. Also that the most important thing in life is helping other people. That's ultimately what influences Mia to decide to be a princess. It's not realizing what she could do if she was, but who she could help. I think that's an important lesson and really the transformation that she makes to becoming a young adult. That's something I'm still striving toward. Mia's more mature than I am.

And now...the review of THE PRINCESS DIARIES

Anne Hathaway got to play a princess because she wasn't afraid to fall down. She accidentally fell off her chair in her first interview with Princess Diaries director Garry Marshall and he was convinced she could play the clumsy geek part of the lead role. He calls her "a combination of Judy Garland and Harpo Marx". Not since Carrie was elected Prom Queen has an underdog risen so high on the social totem pole.

15-year-old Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) lives in San Francisco with her artist mom (Caroline Goodall) in a converted firehouse... [MORE]

Princess Diaries star Anne Hathaway lives Cinderella acting dream

By: Anthony Breznican
Date: 9 April 2002
Source: National Post Online, 9 April 2002 (
Source:, 15 April 2002 (
Source: Deseret News, 12 April 2002 (,1249,380011814,00.html?)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Princess Diaries star Anne Hathaway is watching her own Cinderella story unfold. Only 19 years old, beautiful, talented and smart, the previously unknown actress has taken the semester off from Vassar College to enjoy life as a movie star.

"It's going to sound so cheesy, but I just love acting," she said. "I love learning about new parts of myself through characters, and getting lost in people and learning how to breathe differently because all of a sudden you're this different person."

In the meantime, she vows not to let celebrity go to her head.

"If you're on the cover of a magazine, that does not influence how organic your acting is."

During a stay in Los Angeles, where she appeared on a late-night talk show, the Millburn, N.J., native abandons the glamour and makeup for a sweater and a pair of faded jeans. She answers her hotel door barefoot, with candy-apple red toenails. She wears an oversized silver ring with a fat purple stone that she picked up at a Santa Monica souvenir shop.

Still basking in the blockbuster success of The Princess Diaries, Hathaway became a critical darling in the recent Broadway musical Carnival, in which she played an orphan who falls under the spell of a nefarious travelling circus. The show ended in mid-February.

Her latest appearance is in the family-oriented drama The Other Side of Heaven, in which she plays the devoted love of a Mormon missionary, awaiting his return from a two-year excursion in Tonga in the 1950s.

"Everyone thinks this is supposed to be my huge followup role, but in actuality this is my 'first-ever feature film,' " she says, annunciating those last words in a weighty announcer's voice.

She credits the low-budget 2001 drama, which is now opening in more theatres, with indirectly getting her the lead in The Princess Diaries. While travelling from her home in New Jersey to New Zealand for the production, she had a daylong layover in Los Angeles and decided to audition for the Diaries part.

"I was shaking during the entire audition, but apparently nobody noticed," she said.

Well, director Garry Marshall noticed. The filmmaker, best known for Pretty Woman, has said Hathaway slipped off her chair at one point, which made him choose her to play the awkward teenager who learns she is heir to a kingdom.

"But it was such a small part of the interview!" Hathaway insists. "It was not this enormous pratfall that everyone has in their minds."

Then what was it?

"It was just one of those things where you get up and your foot kind of hits the leg of the chair as you're doing it," she said. "And you sort of trip a little, and sit back down and get up very gracefully. Then you pretend like nothing ever happened while you're trying to ignore other people laughing at you."

Hathaway slowly hides her face in her hands.

"I'm such a dork," she says. "I can't believe I fell off my chair."

Such girlish missteps seem only to add to her charm. The actress's wholesome image sets her apart from some other young stars who make overt sexuality part of their stage persona. The New York Times said Hathaway's Carnival performance, "somehow makes unspotted purity look like the latest fashion."

It makes Hathaway roll her eyes and throw her hands in the air.

"Everyone is saying, 'Wait a minute, you're the wholesome girl next door.' And I keep saying, 'No, there's more to me, I promise.' "

She recognizes that a continued focus on lighthearted roles could end up typecasting her, but although she'd like to begin taking edgier roles, she's reluctant to play off her sexuality.

Hathaway says she gets guidance from her large family, especially her lawyer father and aspiring actress mother. She has an older brother and a younger brother who both watch out for her, and a menagerie of cousins, aunts, uncles and godparents.

"I'm really, really lucky that my family is the way it is, which is completely imperfect, but we're comfortable with who we are and whatever mistakes we make."

Hathaway then falls back against the couch with a groan and covers her face. "That sounds so much like an 'After-School Special.' I'm sorry."

The success and sudden attention from The Princess Diaries, which earned $108 million in U.S. theatres and is now a top-seller on home video, caught Hathaway by surprise. "We were just out to make a film that eight-year-olds and their grandmothers would like," she said.

Now she finds herself simultaneously navigating an acting career, juggling her academic future and trying to adjust to life as a grownup. Some elements of her personal life are on hold: she has put off dating for a while, she says, and she plans to return to Vassar next year.

In the meantime, she has made some bold decisions that conflict with much of the unsolicited advice she receives. She insists on making musical theatre a part of her life, for instance, even though some tell her "it's only for washed-up actors."

She gushes over the work of older co-stars such as Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries and Jim Broadbent in the upcoming Nicholas Nickleby, which she begins shooting later this year.

"What you notice first about Annie is that she has a great intellect and strength. She's not just a pretty ingenue," said Mitch Davis, writer-director of The Other Side of Heaven. "She has some force behind her personality." adds a page about "The Other Side of Heaven"

[The website "" provides extensive detail about movies BEFORE they're released. But the site has not covered LDS-themed movies very much. It finally added a page about "The Other Side of Heaven" on April 11, 2002 -- four months after the movie was released. Text from their page is shown below.] Date: 11 April 2002

Release Dates: December 14th, 2001 (two theaters in Utah); April 12th, 2002 (expands to over 100 theaters) (over the three months in between, the movie expanded to as many as 38 screens, mostly in Mormon-thick areas like Utah and other western/mountain states)

MPAA Rating: PG (for thematic elements and brief disturbing images)

Running Time: 113 minutes

Distributor: Excel Entertainment (Brigham City, God's Army)

Production Companies: 3Mark Entertainment, Molen/Garbett Productions

Cast: Christopher Gorham (John Groberg), Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries) (Jean Sabin), Joe Folau (Feki), Miriama Smith (Lavania), Whetu Fala (Asi), Alvin Fitisemanu (Tomasi), Peter Sa'ena Brown (Kuli), Apii McKinley (Noli), John Sumner (President Stone)

Director: Mitch Davis (debut)

Screenwriter: Mitch Davis (1995's Windrunner)

Based upon: The true story of missionary John H. Groberg, as documented in his memoir, In the Eye of the Storm.

Premise: This is the story of a young Mormon missionary (Gorham) from Idaho who travels to the Tongan Islands in the 1950's to help the needy and win converts to his faith, while keeping in touch with his girlfriend back home (Hathaway) through love letters, and trying to survive the challenges life in a remote island habitat gives him (including a young Tongan girl who attempts to seduce him...).

Filming: Production took place in 2000 in New Zealand and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands on a budget of $7 million.

Genres: Based on a Book, Christian, Drama, Historical, Romance

Official Site:

'Other Side of Heaven' to be released nationally

By: R. Scott Lloyd
Date: 6 April 2002
Source: LDS Church News

When Elder John H. Groberg was serving the Lord as a young missionary in Tonga in the 1950s, he could not have known his experiences one day would be played out on movie screens for millions of viewers to see. In fact he would have resisted the idea.

"Jean [his wife] and I were very uncomfortable with the idea of having our lives on the 'silver screen,' " he told a BYU Devotional congregation last Dec. 4. "It may be some people's dream but it definitely was not ours."

But now, on the verge of the major North American release April 12 for "The Other Side of Heaven," Elder Gro- berg of the First Quorum of the Seventy is confident about the movie's ability to do good, and he hopes as many people as possible go to see it.

Released beginning in December on a regional basis to theaters in Utah, Idaho and Arizona, the movie has done well, according to Mitch Davis, the film maker and BYU graduate from Franktown, Colo., who conceived, wrote and directed it. It has garnered a spot in the top 10 regional platform-released movies of 2002.

"A lot of people advised us to think a little bigger, to take a bigger jump," Brother Davis said, "plus the fact that, particularly among Latter-day Saints, word from Utah has spread out across the country. People are clamoring for it, so we decided this was the best thing to do. This has never been done before within the LDS arena, and it really does put the movie onto the national stage," Brother Davis said of the national release.

Elder Groberg is convinced such widespread exposure is desirable.

"I think its mission, the 'measure of its creation,' so to speak, has not yet been realized," he said during a recent interview in his office. "The scriptures say the Lord speaks to each generation according to its own language and ability and so forth. And for good or for evil, the language of a lot of the youth today and a lot of the world today is movies."

He has been surprised and gratified at the rapt attention shown by young people as he has spoken at firesides and other engagements regarding the subject matter of the film. "You just see them really thinking deeply about these principles."

Not the least among the principles is faith. Adapted from his 1993 book, In the Eye of the Storm, (now titled The Other Side of Heaven) the movie touches on his harrowing misadventures just getting to his field of labor. (It took three months of sea travel marked by delayed passages and missed connections. His mission president utterly lost track of him.) Later on is depicted the incident Elder Gro- berg has related in general conference in which a father hands him the lifeless body of his boy who has fallen from a mango tree with the expectation that the missionary, who "has the power," make him well again.

"I truly feel I learned lessons there that I'm not sure I could have learned anywhere else," he mused. For example, one event depicted in the movie is a hurricane that wiped out the food supply on the island where he was serving. It also destroyed the one means of communication with the outside world: a single telegraph line. For 8 1/2 weeks famine beset the people as they waited and watched for a sailboat to bring food and supplies.

"I was pretty much skin and bones by now," he wrote in the book. "At times I wasn't sure which side of the veil I would end up on, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was that God was in His heaven, and He knew me and my situation; He would see that what was right was done, for as far as I knew, I had done all I could."

He said he has had people write and ask him what he meant by that. "And all I've been able to say is: Just read what I said in the book. I'd always believed in life after death, but when it comes down to where it is a reality rather than a theory, then I don't know whether that's faith or that's faith becoming understanding."

Brother Davis, a former bishop of the Castlewood Canyon Ward, Parker Colorado Stake, said that at the outset, Elder Groberg counseled him to "try to find a way to make a movie that would touch the light of Christ in all mankind."

As a result, it seems viewers who are not members of the Church are the ones to have been most profoundly affected by it, Elder Groberg and Brother Davis agreed. For example, the Grobergs told of a 10-year-old girl from Israel who saw the movie in Tempe, Ariz., with her parents and who reported that the movie taught her you don't have to have a lot of worldly possessions to be happy and that there is a power that will help you get through things if you are helping others.

Brother Davis said one young man who saw the picture at a preview screening "found me afterwards and grabbed me by the hand and tearfully said, 'I want you to know that seeing this movie made me want to join your church just so I could go on one of your missions.' And we actually are working on that."

He said the movie has gained a number of fans in high places, including the chairman of one of the major studios in Hollywood, who, after screening "The Other Side of Heaven," said, "We want to do everything we can to help your movie succeed so that we can make more like it."

Indeed, Jack Valenti, the high-profile chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, has engaged the motion picture for showcasing to members of Congress at the MPAA's theater in Washington, D.C., April 17.

"There has been a tremendous amount of discussion in Washington and in Hollywood post-Sept. 11 about what Hollywood can do to inspire and serve America better on the heels of that violent, horrific incident [referring to the terrorist attacks on America]," Brother Davis said. "So Jack Valenti has sort of seized on this particular film as an example of the kind of thing we may want to have more of in the future."

And though Elder Groberg is anxious not to be perceived as "tooting [his] own horn" (an ironic bit of imagery, since the movie depicts him playing his trumpet both before and during his mission), he agrees with Brother Davis that the motion picture box office is something of a voting booth in which people convey their preferences to movie makers. That is, good people ought to support good entertainment that uplifts and conveys principles of righteousness while avoiding entertainment that does not.

"The studios are paying attention; they're listening; they're watching carefully," Brother Davis noted.

Go to "The Other Side of Heaven" page 10