Feature Films by LDS/Mormon Filmmakers and Actors
Weekend Box Office Report (U.S. Domestic Box Office Gross)

Weekend of October 24, 2003

[If table lines up improperly, use mono-spaced font, i.e. Courier]

Natl Film Title                Weekend Gross  % B.O. Theatrs
Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star   Total Gross  Change  $/Thtr   Days
--- ---------------------------  -----------  ------ -------   ----
31  S.W.A.T.                         128,266  -23.9%     188     80
    LDS character                116,521,858            $682

40  The Book of Mormon Movie Vol. 1   60,263  + 9.9%      34     45
    Gary Rogers                      838,823          $1,772
    Craig Clyde (screenplay)
    David Hales (co-producer, editor)
    Ira Baker (editor)
    Robert C. Bowden (composer)
    Actors: Bryce Chamberlain,
      Mark Gollaher, Jan Broberg Felt,
      Cragun Foulger, Jacque Gray,
      Kirby Heyborne, Michael Flynn

45  The Legend of Johnny Lingo        39,560  +93.6%      27     59
    Gerald Molen (producer)          550,036          $1,465
    John Garbett (producer)

67  Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure  11,700  -61.2%       7    990
    Scott Swofford (producer)     15,384,352          $1,671
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
    Sam Cardon (composer)
    Stephen L. Johnson (editor)

68  Le Divorce                        11,249  +14.9%       9     80
    Matthew Modine (actor)         9,074,550          $1,250

70  Galapagos                          8,727  -10.3%       3   1459
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)  14,167,953          $2,909

82  Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   3,113  -20.4%       2   1263
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)  15,570,153          $1,556

87  China: The Panda Adventure         2,212  - 1.1%       2    822
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   3,533,954          $1,106

100 Cremaster 3                          882  -60.1%       2    185
    Mathew Barney                    480,438            $441

BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE MOVES UP THE RANKINGS/STILL GOING STRONG - Over last weekend the cumulative box office gross for Gary Rogers' "The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1: The Journey" rose to $838,823, meaning that after only 45 days in theaters, it surpassed the total box office gross of "Jack Weyland's Charly," which was directed by Adam Anderegg.

This makes "The Book of Mormon Movie" the 6th highest-grossing LDS Cinema movie, out of 11 such movies thus far which have had a traditional theatrical release in Utah theaters.

At this rate "The Book of Mormon Movie," which actually grossed 9.9% more than it had the previous weekend, and in fact did better last weekend than it had since its second weekend in theaters, should easily surpass the box office total of "Brigham City" ($905,073), which is currently ranked 5th, and which is the most critically acclaimed film in the "genre." It should also pass the $1 million mark within the next few weeks, which would make it the third fastest LDS-themed film to reach $1 million. "The Other Side of Heaven" reached the $1 million mark by the 38th day of its run and "God's Army" had passed $1 million by its 45th day in theaters. The next fastest film was "The R.M." which didn't reach $1 million until the 150th day of its run. "The Book of Mormon Movie" also surpassed the $832,238 box office total of Mormon filmmaker Hal Ashby's "Lookin' to Get Out" (1982), but you probably care less about that.

* * *

TWO LATTER-DAY SAINT WOMEN AMONG 8 FINALISTS ON TODAY SHOW "SUPER STAR" COMPETITION - Sister JoDee Stott, a Latter-day Saint mother of three children who lives in Ogden, Utah, was revealed this week as one of 8 finalists picked to compete on the "Superstar" singing competition on the Today Show. The competition, something like a "mini American Idol", will take begin this Friday and over subsequent weeks the 8 finalists will be eliminated as voters nationwide choose their favorite performer. The winner will give a concert on the Today Show, and will receive a high-priced professional recording session.

Sister Stott repeatedly said "Oh my gosh!" and was quite surprised when a reporter wakened her at her home early Wednesday morning on October 22, 2003. She exclaimed "Is this a freaking joke?!", and "Today Show" host Matt Lauer later said, "I'm glad you said 'freaking' and not something else." JoDee Stott is the only Native American finalist among the eight, but not the only Latter-day Saint.

Jenna Webb is another competitor already revealed earlier this week. Sister Webb is currently living in California but is orignally from Idaho. On the Today Show she mentioned that her parents are currently serving a mission for the Church in South America.

Portions of JoDee's impressive audition tape were played, showing her singing that Whitney Houston song from "The Bodyguard" and something else. JoDee has an impressive voice, and whether or not she wins in the competition, she is obviously one of the most talented singers in the competition.

The eight finalists, including JoDee Stott and Jenna Webb, were chosen from a pool of over 6,000 people who sent audition tapes into the Today Show.

The Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune and KSL news reported on JoDee Stott's participation in the nationally televised competition:
- Deseret News (,1249,520033281,00.html)
- Salt Lake Tribune (
- KSL (

SO WHAT HAPPENED LATER IN THE WEEK IN "TODAY SHOW" SUPER STAR COMPETITION? - The first of the eight competitors to be voted out of the Superstar singing competition on The Today Show was just announced this morning. Asia, a pre-law student who turned in a miserable performance on the previous competing episode, was voted off. Latter-day Saint competitor Jodee Stott of Ogden, Utah mother of three, wowed the audience and honestly was one of the very strongest performers. Sister Jenna, who is originally from Idaho but now lives in California is also still in the running. What can we say about Jenna's performance last time? Well, she is a stunningly beautiful young woman with a great figure.

* * *

SLC MAYORAL CANDIDATES ANSWER OUR LDSFILM.COM QUESTIONNAIRE - sent the two candidates for mayor of Salt Lake City a brief set of questions.

Both the current mayor Rocky Anderson his opponent in the mayoral race, Frank Pignanelli, were gracious enough to respond promptly.

Here are their answers to our questions:

** Frank Pignanelli **

1. What are one or a few of your favorite movies of all time?
And, now that I have kids, The Sound of Music

2. What are one or a few of your favorite made-in-Utah film?
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

3. Who are one or a few of your favorite Utah filmmakers?
Robert Redford

- - - - - - -

** Rocky Anderson **

1. What are one or a few of your favorite movies of all time?

To Kill a Mockingbird
Mr. Holland's Opus
The Ruling Class

2. What are one or a few of your favorite made-in-Utah films?

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Thelma and Louise
2001: A Space Odyssey
Jeremiah Johnson
Rubin and Ed
Forrest Gump
The Time Machine

3. Who are one or a few of your favorite Utah filmmakers?

Robert Redford
Trent Harris
Tim Nelson
Andrew Levine ("The Day My God Died")

- - -

I doubt that any of our readers who live in Salt Lake City will decide who to vote for in the upcoming election based on a candidate's favorite movies, but we appreciate their taking the time to respond.

It was interesting to note that Frank Pignanelli, a Catholic, cited as his favorite movie "The Sound of Music," a movie about a Catholic woman from a Catholic nunnery who marries a Catholic man and becomes the stepmother to a large family of Catholic children. And his favorite Utah-made movie, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" is the story about a quest for a Catholic icon, which takes place partially in a Catholic holy site.

Rocky Anderson, a lapsed Mormon, mentioned a few favorite made-in-Utah movies. Topping the list was "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," a movie about real-life lapsed Mormon outlaw Butch Cassidy. He also mentioned "Jeremiah Johnson," the big screen adaptation of a novel by lapsed Mormon novelist Vardis Fisher. He also listed "Rubin and Ed," which was written and directed by lapsed Mormon filmmaker Trent Harris.

We don't think this means anything... We just thought it was interesting to note.

Also interesting to note, but even LESS significant is Pignanelli's choice of "Patton" as one of his favorite movies. While it is possible that Pignanelli did his homework and was trying to win over one of's webmasters (sorry, Frank, neither of us lives within Salt Lake City boundaries) it is most likely only a coincidence that "Patton" happens to have been scored by co-webmaster and film composer Thomas C. Baggaley's former film scoring mentor Jerry Goldsmith, and in fact, Thomas has actually written a rather lengthy paper examining the psychological aspects of this extremely well-designed score, which we feel DEFINITELY should have won the Oscar for Best Original Score that year (1970).

* * *

U.K. INTERVIEW WITH NEIL LABUTE - The United Kingdom publication the Telegraph published an in depth article based on a new interview with Latter-day Saint filmmaker and playwright Neil LaBute. The article is notable for explicitly identifying Bro. LaBute as a practicing Latter-day Saint, and it has considerable detail about LaBute's membership in the Church. It includes discussion of the trouble LaBute ran into over his play "bash." The play includes a fictional account of a gay bashing in New York's Central Park which, before LaBute re-wrote it, was perpetrated by a Latter-day Saint character. Church officials do not comment on disciplinary procedures, but LaBute has told the press that he was disfellowshipped as a result of his local Church leaders' disapproval of the content of this play.

Here is an excerpt from the article, which was published 10 October 2003:

What makes the extremes of LaBute's writing so intriguing is that he is a practising Mormon, though in his own phrase, a rather "improbable" one, with a strong sense of that most unfashionable of concepts, sin.

"My work is permeated with that. How much more fascinating could it be, the notion that you do something bad, that no one knows about, and it eats away at you. And what will you do about it? How will you get to sleep at night?"

Is there, then, something of the old hell-fire preacher in his accounts of people behaving exceptionally badly? "I hope not. But these elemental things about faith, and good and bad, really interest me. And there's no doubt that you can get zealous about it and it may spill over into the writing. I don't see playwriting as a pulpit, though."

The authorities in the Mormon Church are clearly alarmed by this wild man in their midst. Not so long ago he was "hauled up before 15 guys in suits" and "de-fellowshipped" from his Church, which, he explains, is just one step short of excommunication. He is allowed to attend services but not to take the sacrament, which clearly pains him deeply, and creates tension with his devout Mormon wife, a psychotherapist. LaBute's argument -- "that great good can come from showing great evil" -- didn't wash with the Latterday Saints.

Mormons, he says, believe that art should be a tool for enlightenment, and they aren't keen on accentuating the negative. They were particularly incensed by a review of Bash, which carried the headline "Murderous Mormons". "They said, 'This is not what we are looking for, this is not the message we wish to project of our Church.'"

Since then, LaBute hasn't written explicitly about Mormons. "But agreeing to that doesn't mean I'm going to change the nature of my writing. And that's been questioned by the Church, too. They say you are writing stuff that is morally questionable. And my shoulders start to get a little tense the more people tell me what I should do." It looks as though re-fellowship won't be on the cards for some time.

The full interview is at:

* * *

KILMER IN OR OUT? NEWSPAPERS REPORT THAT IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT VAL KILMER WILL PLAY PART OF JOSEPH SMITH ROLE IN 'THE PROPHET' - Entertainment news/gossip columnist Jeannette Walls (with Ashley Pearson) broke the news, reporting for MSNBC (27 October 2003, The Salt Lake Tribune ( and other newspapers subsequently reported Walls' report A-List Hollywood movie star Val Kilmer had bowed out of the demanding role in Latter-day Saint filmmaker Richard Dutcher's planned biopic about the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jeannette Walls, exhibiting a startling degree of anti-Mormon bigotry through her slurs and word choices, wrote:

Looks like Val Kilmer won't become the poster boy for the Mormon Church. The temperamental actor, who recently played porn king John Holmes in "Wonderland," was deep in negotiations to play Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a pro-Mormon movie. "THE PROPHET: The story of Joseph Smith" is being made by Zion Films, a Salt-Lake City based company that makes films extolling the virtues of the Mormon religion, and according to sources, Kilmer was set to play Smith.

"There was a lot of controversy about (the choice of Kilmer) because he doesn't exactly have a saintly image, either on screen or off," says a source. "But some people thought it was good casting because Smith was charismatic and quite the ladies man."

"There were some heavy-duty discussions going on about it all," says a source close to Kilmer, but the actor's spokesman tells The Scoop that Kilmer will not star in the movie and would not comment further. A spokesman for the Mormon Church declined to comment on the controversy.

* * *

FIRST "LIKEN THE SCRIPTURES" VIDEO IN STORES NOV 1ST - Here's a sneak peak of the main menu screen for "Liken the Scriptures" on DVD:

The musical live action adaptation of 1st Nephi will be in stores everywhere beginning November 1st. Clearly one of the most exciting aspects of this project is that it stars Joy Gardner, in her first major film role since she starred in the 70mm feature "The Testaments of one Shepherd and One Fold" (2000), which is shown at the Joseph Smith Building. The lovely and talented Sister Gardner had a cameo role in "The Singles Ward," but this is her first lead role in far too long.

Of course, "Liken" also stars Larry Bagby, who is a hot commodity right now with his starring role in "Saints and Soldiers" drawing award-winning attention at the nation's top film festivals. Laban is played by Merrill Dodge, who stars as the dad in "The R.M.", recently released on DVD.

Starring Joy Gardner ("Testaments"), Larry Bagby ("Saints and Soldiers," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Merrill Dodge ("The R.M."), Garrett Summers, Jared Young (as "Nephi"), Michael DuBois (as "Sam"), Matt Dobson (as "Lemuel"); also featuring Tyla Ward, Jen Jolley, Abby Karr, Anna Karr, Ken Fowler, Ken Eklof, Teresa Richardson; Director of Photography: Rod Santiano; 1st Cam: Mike Schaertl (one of the top LDS cinematographers working today, as well as the director of "Christmas Mission," a favorite LDS-themed independent video starring Corbin Allred).

The DVD is complete with 3D motion menus, individual chapter selections, and some exciting bonus features. One bonus feature found only on the DVD, is a "Liken the Scriptures: Seeker Game," in which a pop-up appears on screen to challenge the viewer to find specific scripture references. Once all the references are found, the viewer can sign up online to the "Master Seekers List"

Three Coin Productions worked with Liken the Scriptures' producers to develop content for the DVD and Video, as well as an Animated Motion Logo for the company.

* * *


Excel Entertainment will begin the nationwide release of "Pride & Prejudice - a latter-day comedy" on December 5th in theaters throughout Utah.

Elizabeth Bennet is determined to ignore the frenzied dating scene in her college town. But when she meets Jack Wickham, a charming womanizer, and Darcy, a wealthy businessman, her resolve is put to the test. Will her first impressions cloud her judgment, or will she uncover their true intentions? Go see this modern retelling of everyone's favorite Jane Austen novel!

Love meets its match December 5th!

* * *

PRIDE PREJUDICE WEBSITE IS LAUNCHED - The official website for the upcoming LDS Cinema movie "Pride and Prejudice" is now online at:

What has been up there previously just had the trailer. Now essentially the whole site is up, although a few pieces have yet to be added.

This is a simply amazing movie website. Very stylish and hip and entertaining. Probably won't work on older computers. But if you can view it, it's impressive.

* * *

"WHERE RIVERS MEET" PRESS RELEASE - From a press release by Rand Tyson/Anthony B. Howard:

** Miracle Movie Produced In North Central Idaho **

This is a story about dedication, effort and great sacrifice.

It is exciting! It is an effort from the heart of America. It stands out in the greatest traditions of the example of what America represents in effort, sacrifice and success in their truest forms. It emerges from the hidden depths and loins of this great country.

Another major phase in the production of "Where Rivers Meet", the final editing, has been completed here in Grangeville, Idaho. The full-length feature film, filmed and developed right here on the Camas Prairie and areas around it, is now ready for the final processes of color correction, musical score and orchestration. It is here, in these final stages, the film will be transferred, printed and made ready for the theater.

What a process to get it to this point. The spring and summer of 2003 were a blur of equipment and computer failures. There were hours and hours of seemingly never ending editing of exquisite and choice shots within scenes. The Shira families remained committed throughout an oppressively difficult schedule, including youth, teenagers, young adults, adults and especially William Shira, Director and screenwriter. There were demanding deadlines to meet target dates on minimal budgets and financing. Many others in the local community have joined in on this special effort and in many ways supplied unconditional effort and support. The rendering into a perfected story!

The trials have been many but the final projection is exhilarating and exciting and matches or exceeds all expectations of any feature film produced in Hollywood. The Shira family has plunged forward with determination and a never impeded pace of effort and dedication to complete this project.

The film is projected to be released soon with local screenings and premiers scheduled in near by areas giving residents a feeling of pride and participation in the first preview and an opportunity to mingle with the actors and film makers involved.

It was thought the summer of 2002 when all this started was an obstacle course for the Shira family. It is one that they will never forget. Yet through the obstacles that they had to face, their expectations of a film that seemed small and simple turned out to be much more. The production of William Shira's internationally award winning script " Where Rivers Meet", to some it may have seemed to just happen, and to others it was a miracle. The summer of 2002 began by hiring crewmembers, a decision alone that was complicated.

"We planned to start with a crew that was a smaller, more inexperienced crew, with talent that needed to blossom", says writer/director William Shira, "but as we started going deeper into production, things started to change."

And it happened just like that. William Shira along with his family's company, Apple River Productions, ended up with accomplished veterans such as Gaffer Garlan Wilde, who worked on movies such as Jungle Book and Pinocchio, both Disney productions, and Cinematographer George Griner who is nationally recognized as one of the best in the business.

Garlan often stated, "Willy would run into obstacles that seemed unsurpassable, like falling into a sewer and he would come out smelling like a rose."

Along these same lines, William Shira and Apple River Productions have gone through a ride that at times seemed unbearable, at times hopeless and yet came out on top. The film explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life. And it has done that in an amazing and magical manner.

The film contains its own uniqueness. Unlike many films, it has maintained the core family values while still capturing all the essence and suspense of any cherished feature film. The film contains a Stienbeckish feel in the character development, with an uplifting ending that seems to capture you and stay with you for days after viewing the movie. It has beaten the unexpected and come out on top a winner.

Even the story of the efforts and struggles of the Shira family in a small town in remote Idaho to assemble, preserver and produce this film is a tribute to what good represents. Theirs is a story in itself. Idaho and Grangeville will reflect for years to come the association, special character and likeness to it's own genre this movie represents.

If you want to know more about this family, this effort and review the film story go to and explore the depth of this story.

* * *

COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS AND NOMINEES AT THE 2003 GLORIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED - This festival, now in its second year, was held in West Valley City, Utah. Last year it was called the Salt Lake City International Film Festival and was held at Salt Lake Community College. The festival is one of the biggest film festivals held in Utah, and is open to all types of films from people of any background and from any country in the world, but only ethical films are accepted (films without graphic sex, nudity, vulgarity, or promotion of racial/ethnic hatred). The list of winners and nominees is from the official site's web page at:

Many of the winners and nominees at this year's festival were Latter-day Saints. The Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Saints & Soldiers," directed by Canadian LDS filmmaker Ryan Little, won the Best of the Fest Award, the Audience Choice Award, as well as the awards for Best Picture and Best Cimematography. It was nominated for the Best Sound Award and its director was nominated for the Best Director Award. Adam Abel, the movie's producer, is also a Latter-day Saint, as are most of the cast and crew. Popular Latter-day Saint actors who star in "Saints and Soldiers" include Kirby Heyborne, Corbin Allred and Larry Bagby.

Brazilian Latter-day Saint filmmaker Daniel M. Skaf won the Best Documentary Award for his film "The Birthing of Iosepa," which is about Polynesian Latter-day Saints constructing a traditional double-hulled canoe. Brother Skaf was also nominated for the Future Filmmaker Award.

Latter-day Saint filmmaker Spencer Christensen of Salt Lake City, Utah won the Best Student Film Award for "Reading Is Fundamental." Christensen was also nominated for the Future Filmmaker Award.

Only the best of the films accepted into the festival were nominated for awards. Other Latter-day Saints who were nominated for awards, but who did not win, include Ethan Vincent (whose film "Claims & Dividends" was nominated for Best Short Film), Paul Larsen (whose film "Chasing a Good Day to Die" was nominated for Best Documentary), Aaron Orullian (nominated for Best Screenplay for "Mt. Pleasant"), and Tucker T. Dansie (nominated for Best Screenplay for "Love Logs On").

Winner: Saints and Soldiers
Stealing Innocence
Brothers ... On Holy Ground
The Least of These

Winner: Stealing Innocence
Claims & Dividends
It Just Is
Girl With the Blue Eyes

Winner: Saints and Soldiers
The Least of These
Stealing Innocence

Winner: Stealing Innocence
Saints and Soldiers
Deconstructing the Myth of AIDS

Winner: The Birthing of Iosepa
Chasing a Good Day to Die
Deconstructing the Myth of AIDS
Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
Brothers ... On Holy Ground
The Last Link

Winner: Swing Vote - written by David Novak and John Eaden
Jacob Has Two Wives - written by Jack L. Brinkerhoff
Mt. Pleasant - written by Aaron Orullian
Beanriders - written by Mike Marsh
Love Logs On - written Tucker T. Dansie
White Picket Fence - Jared Shipley

Winner: Stuart Ball, "It Just Is"
Nancy Stein, "Stealing Innocence"
Ryan Little, "Saints and Soldiers"
Donna Thomas and Paul Garstki, "A Legal Person"
Michael Schwarz, "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet"

Winner: Reading Is Fundamental
Freedom Fries
It Just Is

Winner: Erez Tadmor, "Moosh"
Spencer Christensen, "Reading Is Fundamental"
Daniel M. Skaf, "The Birthing of Iosepa"
Nancy Stein, "Stealing Innocense"

Saints and Soldiers

Saints and Soldiers

* * *

"WHERE RIVERS MEET" WEBSITE DISAPPOINTS ... FOR NOW - There was a fairly nice website for the feature film "Where Rivers Meet" online at But now the site has been replaced by placeholder garbage and popup ad windows - there's nothing left about the movie, which was directed by Latter-day Saint filmmaker Bill Shira and stars such LDS actors as Tayva Patch ("Brigham City", "Little Secrets"), Jaelan Petrie ("Handcart", "Missy"), Bruce Newbold ("Moroni" from Rogers' "Book of Mormon Movie"), Marvin Payne ("Saturday's Warrior", "The Road to Riches"), Jan Broberg Felt ("Little Secrets", "Book of Mormon Movie", TV's "Everwood"). There was a movie poster, cast photos, and some other things. There was a plot description. Something about two young kids, a boy and a girl, growing up in a depressing Idaho setting and the boy is from a wealthy background and the girl or somebody has some dark secret and is probably abused by bankers or something. I can't remember exactly. I remember the running time listed on the website was 3 or 4 hours long.

ARTICLE: LDS FILM ON WWII MASSACRE WINS PRIZE ("SAINTS AND SOLDIERS" TAKES TOP AWARD AT HEARTLAND) - Latter-day Saint filmmakers Ryan Little (director) and Adam Abel (producer) took home the top prize at the prestigious Heartland Film Festival, which annually honors ethical, uplifting films. The Festival, which is held in Indianapolis, Indiana, is now in its 12th year. In addition to receiving the Crystal Heart Award, which is given to the most popular dramatic feature at the festival, the film also took home a $50,000 cash prize. See:,1249,520033177,00.html; See also the Daily Universe article on the same subject at:

Naturally a number of Latter-day Saint filmmakers have won awards at this film festival in the past, including Blair Treu who has twice the Crystal Heart Award (for "Little Secrets" in 2001 and "Just Like Dad" in 1995). Latter-day Saint filmmaker Bill Shira's short film "A Truce With Death" won an award in 1993. Ryan Little won a student award at the Festival in 1999 for his short World War II film, "The Last Good War," which is in many ways the predecessor to his feature-length WWII film "Saints and Soldiers." Latter-day Saint filmmaker Sterling Van Wagenen won the Crystal Heart Award for the feature film "Alan & Naomi" (1992), which he directed. Other Latter-day Saint filmmakers who have won Crystal Heart awards at the festival include Marc Marriott for his short film "Snow Child" (1997) and Adam Anderegg (the director of "Jack Weyland's Charly") for his short film "The Touch." Non-LDS Utah filmmaker Gregory Haynes won an award at the festival with his feature-length film "Cowboys and Angels" in 2001.

ARIZONA DAILY STAR GIVES "BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE" 3.5 OUT OF 4 STARS - Writing for one of Arizona's major newspapers when Gary Rogers' movie opened in that state, reviewer Phil Villarreal gave "The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1" 3.5 out of 4 stars. Villarreal actually had less criticism for the movie than he did for what he considered the overly humble and meager promotion of the film. He wrote: "'The Book of Mormon Movie - Volume 1: The Journey' snuck into theaters Friday with nary a lick of support from its filmmaker or distributors. Too bad. With a little more publicity, word of this sturdy little adaptation of LDS scripture might have reached a bigger audience." He also thought the disclaimer at the beginning of the movie about creative liberties being taken with the source material was a silly thing to see, because ALL movies take liberties with their source material. But aside from criticism of the marketing and the disclaimer, he pretty much liked the movie. The reviewer specifically praised the sets, the special effects, Foulger's performance actor Cragun Foulger's performance as Lemuel, and the epic scope of the the film. He thought that the rest of the cast "seem like dinner theater refugees, albeit refugees who are trying their hardest. Maybe too hard." The reviewer specifically praised director Gary Rogers, sayng "Rogers is a filmmaker to keep an eye on, and it would be tantalizing to see what he could do with a bigger budget and better actors." See the full review at:

"SIGNING TIME" GETS LOTS OF ATTENTION - The "Signing Time" video/DVD series, created by Sister Rachel de Azevedo Coleman et al, with music by Lex de Azevedo has gotten a lot of attention in the press lately. Reports about the series have shown up in the Ladies Home Journal, the Arizona Republic, CBS News, and Utah Business Magazine. If you are interested in reading any of these articles, please contact the webmasters and we will be glad to forward the text to you.

DESERET NEWS ARTICLE ABOUT "TRU CALLING" - This article, by Deseret News television columnist Scott D. Pierce, describes "Tru Calling" briefly and compares the role played be series star Eliza Dushku with her role as the vampire slayer "Faith" on the popular TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Dushku, a non-churchgoing Latter-day Saint, is the top-billed star of the series. The second-billed actress on the series is active Latter-day Saint actress A.J. Cook, who plays Dushku's best friend. This is the second major TV series for both Cook and Dushku. Both have had major film roles as well, although Dushku has been more big-budget theatrically released films than Cook. Dushku has had lead or major supporting roles (with poster billing) in 9 movies which have grossed over $328 million at the North American box office, making Dushku the box office champion among all contemporary Mormon actresses. Cook had the 2nd billed role in "Final Destination 2" and "Out Cold," which together grossed over $60 million at the North American box office, making her the box office champion among active Latter-day Saint actresses working today. See:,1249,520034265,00.html

POTTER/SUDDELY UNEXPECTED IN "INDIE SLATE" MAG - There is an article in "Indie Slate" magazine called "Feeding the Genre: Making Movies the Make (Financial) Sense" by Mark Bosko. The article mentions Latter-day Saint film director Mark Potter and his low-budget film "Suddenly Unexpected." It also includes a picture from "Suddenly Unexpected."

YOUR FAVORITE FFFF FLICKS NOW ON DVD - Feature Films For Families, the Latter-day Saint-led, Utah-based production company which has been a major producer of direct-to-video family films, has released some of its favorite movies on DVD. These movies, which feature predominantly LDS casts and crews, include "Rigoletto", "Seasons of the Heart" and "The ButterCream Gang." These new releases offer a high fidelity DVD version of some very professionally made movies. The new DVD covers are pretty awful compared to the recent great-looking video covers, but the what's inside is worth checking out. These DVDs can now be purchased at LDS bookstores and LDS video stores around the country.

MOVIEPICKS.ORG: A PLACE TO FIND UPLIFTING MOVIES - Meridian Magazine published a detailed article about, a website created by Latter-day Saints which is dedicated to highlighting quality, ethical movies which provide an alternative to the moral drudge which characterizes most Hollywood fare. See

FOR TIME AND ALL ETERNITY - "For Time and all Eternity" is a documentary by Trevor Hill et al. Filming has been completed. First of 4 episodes has been edited. Screenings are planned for December in California and Utah. The new link for the film web site is:

ACKER'S "NIGHT AND DAY" - Latter-day Saint filmmaker Ricky Acker's new film, "Night and Day" premieres in Birmingham, Alabama on November 14th. (In just 2 weeks!). You can check out a poster from the film at:, or see the full-size PDF file (a large download, but the credis are legible) at:



SL TRIBUNE TRASHES HARRIS' NEW CAMBODIA DOCUMENTARY - Salt Lake Tribune movie reviewer Sean P. Means did not at all care for Salt Lake City-based filmmaker Trent Harris's newest film, the documentary about Cambodia titled "The Cement Ball of Earth, Heaven and Hell." Harris is a non-churchgoing Latter-day Saint perhaps best known locally for his ultra-low budget LDS-themed science fiction film "Plan 10 From Outer Space," but who has also garnered festival acclaim for such unusual indepdent films as "The Beaver Trilogy." But according to the Salt Lake Tribune reviewer, Harris' new documentary, about Aki Ra, a Cambodian man who clears land mines, is boring and falls far short of Harris' previous work or professional filmmaking standards in general. Nancy Van Valkenburg's review of the film, in a review published the same day under the title "Trent Harris Gets Serious with his Cambodia Documentary", was more favorable. Read the full review (titled "Film loses its way in Cambodia," published Oct 29, 2003) at:
Also, a detailed description of the film's content and subject matter can be found at:

TRENT HARRIS' LDS-THEMED COMEDY SCREENING IN LAS VEGAS - It's an old film, but it's still getting around... The Las Vegas Mercury reported the following free screening of "Plan 10 From Outer Space" ( "(NR, 80 min.) Mormons meet aliens--and bees--in Trent Harris' 1994 sci-fi spoof, about a woman discovering the inevitable plot for world domination, as documented by an early LDS prophet. Karen Black stars, with Stefene Russell, Patrick Michael Collins and Curtis James. Not to be confused with Ed Wood's notorious 1959 bomb Plan 9 from Outer Space. B-Movie Night, Cafe Espresso Roma, 4440 S. Maryland Pkwy., 369-1540, free. Thur., Oct. 23 9 p.m.)"

MERIDIAN MAGAZINE OPINION PIECE: "IT'S A GOOD SHOW, EXCEPT ONE LITTLE PART" - Meridian Magazine published an article by founder Dr. Glen C. Griffin that was adapted from an article in the August 2000 issue of Marriage & Families. presents the CAMIE Awards (CAMIE awards for Character And Morality In Entertainment). Brother Griffin discusses why a movie is rendered bad and unsuitable for viewing even if it has that "one little part." See:

ABINADI MUSICAL, "LIKEN THE SCRIPTURES" AND "THE BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE": In a review of the new Book of Mormon-based stage musical, the Utah County Daily Herald also referred to the recent Book of Mormon-based feature film "The Book of Mormon Movie, Volume 1: The Journey", and also to the musical direct-to-video/DVD release "Liken the Scriptures: I Will Go and Do," which is based on the same source material: 1st Nephi. See:


RICHARD PAUL EVANS NEW ARTICLE, PLUS BOOK REVIEW - Richard Paul Evans, one of the world's top-selling Latter-day Saint authors, is the author of The Christmas Box and The Timepiece, the TV movie adaptations of which were recently released nationally on DVD. This new in depth article published in the Deseret News discusses Brother Evans, The Christmas Box, how he is inspired to write, and other topics. See:,1249,520033446,00.html and,1249,520033448,00.html

ORSON SCOTT CARD ON R-RATED MOVIES AND WHY "SCHOOL OF ROCK" IS BIGOTTED, PUTRID BILE - See LDS author/playwright/screenwriter Orson Scott Card's comments in his weekly review/opinion column at:

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"AS BAD AS CAN BE" AND OTHER LDS-MADE FILMS TO SCEEN AT ECLIPSE FILM FESTIVAL - Among the many films made by Latter-day Saints which will be competing at the upcoming Eclipse Film Festival is "As Bad As Can Be." The director and producers are Latter-day Saints. All are students or faculty in BYU's animation program.

As mentioned previously, other films made by Latter-day Saints competing at the festival include feature films such as "The Collectors" (John Lyde), "The Best Two Years" (Scott C. Anderson) and "Saints and Soldiers" (Ryan Little).

This is believed to be the first time that "The Best Two Years" and "Saints and Soldiers" have gone up against each other in head to head competition. These two LDS Cinema movies both have already been widely described as among the best LDS Cinema movies ever made, with many people saying they surpass previous critical favorites "Brigham City" and "God's Army."

Only one movie can be named Best Feature Film at Eclipse? Will it be "Best Two Years" or "Saints and Soldiers"? Or dark horse feature "The Collectors," which is not LDS-themed, although the people who made it are Church members. Technically speaking, the winning film could be one of the other features in competition -- Michael A. Picchiottino's "Clipping Adam" or Megan Griffiths' vulgar and amateurish "First Aid For Choking" -- although we don't expect that to happen.

For more information, see:

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COLORS LIVE! CD / DVD PRESS RELEASE - In February of 2003, after 10 years of performing together, COLORS, best described as an acoustic-pop group, called it quits, with an unforgettable live concert at the Mackey Events Center at Utah Valley State College. With this CD / DVD release, fans can enjoy the live concert audio, as well as the concert in their own living room, on the supplement DVD.

The DVD will also include the original documentary from 1999 entitled COLORS: Up Close & Personal, including commentary by director and producer. In addition, the DVD will include special performances from COLORS VERY FIRST concert held in the Kaysville Theater 10 years ago and many other bonus features. This will be a LOADED DVD with 2 hours of footage from behind the scenes and on the stage from 1998-2003!

This was a massive project with 6 cameras filming the live concert. The DVD was directed and edited by Tucker T Dansie. Camera work was done by many well known up and coming filmmakers including, 2003 Gloria Film Festival winner Spencer Christensen, Jason Ball, Jacen Brewer, Lucas Mcgraw, Tucker Dansie and Scott Hall.

"COLORS LIVE!" CD/ DVD will be distributed by Excel Entertainment and will be in stores November 18th, 2003. 9 by 9 Projects is hard at work completing the final edits and DVD Authoring, while COLORS is hard at work completing the final mix. This will be a release not to be missed and your final chance to hear and see the music of COLORS forever. A trailer for the DVD portion is now online at:

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AML LDS WRITER'S CONFERENCE, WITH "BEST TWO YEARS", KURT HALE, JOHN E. MOYER - Don't forget the 5th annual LDS writers conference this Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Provo City Library! This is the world's only writers conference dedicated to LDS writing and publishing, including writing for the LDS market or telling LDS stories for a national audience.

For complete, updated details about all aspects of the conference, visit:

At-the-door registration begins at 8:30. Plan to be in your seat by 9:00 for the special advance screening of "The Best Two Years"!

Preregistration is not required, but if you want to ensure yourself a luncheon ticket, you can preregister online by this Friday, Oct. 31 at: (It's too late to mail your preregistration through the U.S. Postal Service.) If luncheon tickets happen to sell out, the admission price will be reduced accordingly.

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"PRIDE AND PREJUDICE" PRODUCER AT AML CONFERENCE - Press Release from Excel Entertainment, the distributor of the upcoming LDS Cinema feature film "Pride and Prejudice", based on the controversial Jane Austen novel of the same title:

WHO: Jason Faller, producer, "Pride and Prejudice: a latter-day comedy" Dean Hale, VP of Motion Picture Distribution, Excel Entertainment Group

WHAT: AML Writers Conference (Association for Mormon Letters) Afternoon Sessions: "Choosing Stories for the Mainstream"

Faller and Hale will discuss the process of choosing stories and screenplays that appeal to both LDS and mainstream audiences. It is anticipated that they will also show clips from the upcoming movie "Pride and Prejudice: a latter-day comedy," due to hit theaters December 5. The film is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel.

WHEN: Saturday, November 1
2 p.m. (conference begins at 8 a.m.)

WHERE: Provo City Library at Academy Square
550 North University Avenue, Provo

Contact: Mary Jane Jones

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UPCOMING EVENTS ON THE UTAH FILMMAKERS ALLIANCE SCHEDULE - The following events are coming up in the next couple of months:

Saturday, November 1, Various Events
All Day @ Provo City Library
- Saturday, November 8, UFA Double Feature:
"Home For The Holidays" and "Avalon"
7:00 p.m. to 12 Midnight @ TBA
Open to Members: RSVP (801) 694-0943
Recurring Event: Every Second Saturday
- Saturday, December 13, UFA Double Feature:
"A Midnight Clear" and "Some Girls"
7:00 p.m. to 12 Midnight @ TBA
Open to Members: RSVP (801) 694-0943
Recurring Event: Every Second Saturday

Events which have yet to be scheduled include:
- Master Classes, Case Studies, Panel Discussions for final Quarter 2003
- Celebrity Event in January
- Additional special events and screenings.

Look for updates to come out regularly in local press and on soon to be built website.

The Utah Filmmakers Alliance, a nonprofit corporation, may be contacted at 37 East Center Street, Suite 204, Provo, Utah 84606. Phone number is (801) 374-4UFA (4832). E-mail Web site: All 501(c)(3) tax-deductible donations are acceptable. UFA Membership is $35 annually (students and volunteers) and $50 annually (general members). Membership includes access to all UFA general functions (some special events will have extra entry fees or tuition), discounts on tuition and entry fees to special events, other ticket discounts to selected theaters, access to the Member Library, including media periodicals, and other benefits.

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"DAY OF DEFENSE" SOUNDTRACK CD NOW IN STORES - Utah movie reivewers pretty much panned the recent "LDS Cinema" movie "Day of Defense." It appeared briefly in theaters and then mercifully disappeared. But the most commonly praised aspect of the movie (usually the only thing which garnered positive comments from reviwers) was the songs on the soundtrack. The soundtrack CD form "Day of Defense" is now available in LDS bookstores. According to the movie's website, "The SoundTrack has an impressive 20 tracks consisting of 8 vocal and 12 orchestrated pieces." You can listen to sample tracks on the official "Day of Defense" website:

Songs and track titles from the "Day of Defense" soundtrack CD include:
- Keep On Movin'
- This Little Light Of Mine
- Stand For Something
- Running
- Leave A Light On
- A Little More
- Day Of Defense
- Trouble In Sweetwater County
- Mrs Bryant's Rage
- Kim's Strutt
- The Prosecution Rests
- Amazing Grace Orchestrated
- Missionaries Testify

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MORE REVIEWS FOR SISTER OLDHAM'S "THE SMITH FAMILY" - Latter-day Saint filmmaker Tasha Oldham's LDS/GLBT documentary "The Smith Family" screened a the Montreal Film Festival 2003. Jonathan Doyle, reviewing the festival's offerings, considered it the particularly memorable. In an article published 27 October 2003 he wrote (

But, of all the film's I saw at the festival, The Smith Family takes the prize for the most amazingly bleak and depressing film. It's the story of a Mormon family in Utah (where else?). The wife, Kim, is satisfied by her family (a husband and two kids) but feels neglected by her husband, Steve. Eventually, she discovers that Steve is having an affair. Then she realizes he's having many affairs. Then she realizes he's having many affairs with men. Then she realizes he has AIDS and has transmitted HIV to her. From there, the movie descends into Capturing the Friedmans territory, as we wait for the husband to die and watch his family cope. Miraculously, Kim stands by her husband and even nurses him, as her condition is still stable. The impulse is to attribute this to traditional, patriarchal, Mormon values. But the film side-steps issues of religion. Even when the husband is excommunicated from his church, the church's problematic values are accepted by the filmmakers. This may have something to do with director Tasha Oldham's Mormon background. She struggles with the bleak nature of the material and tries to lighten the load with sentimental montages that ring completely false. For the most part, her filmmaking is mechanical and conventional: this film features more fades-to-black and establishing shots than I previously thought possible. In spite of these weaknesses, there is an undeniable, voyeuristic fascination to The Smith Family. Its central situation is overloaded with paradoxes and complex relationships. Kim Smith's overwhelming strength and selflessness, in this context, is a serious inspiration. The film should also be commended for dealing with death in such a matter-of-fact way. How often do families visit their graves together, before they die? It's a peculiar film but, as far as I can tell, that's what the FCMM is all about.
In reviewing "The Smith Family," Jonathan Doyle here proves that he is an unmitigated bigot, displaying shocking levels of homophobia and anti-Mormonism all in place. But on balance, he did like Sister Oldham's film "The Smith Family"... It's sad that Doyle's closed mind prevented him from understanding it more fully.

In addition to this one, there have been tons of reviews of this documentary published in newspapers nationwide over the last year. I've seen the film myself and it really is good. It's not at all anti-gay or anti-Mormon, nor is it an apologetics or puff piece for either group. It's simply a very raw, honest documentary about an LDS family in which the father was led a gay/GLBT lifestyle unknown to his wife. He was very promiscuous in doing so, but that is part of mainstream GLBT life, and nothing unusual for GLBT people. He contracted AIDS, which is also nothing unusual. The unusual part of the story is the way that his wife supported him to the end. Yet this is not an unprecedented thing for a Latter-day Saint woman to do when faced with a GLBT husband. Sister Carol Lynn Pearson ("My Turn on Earth", "Cipher in the Snow", "Mother Wove the Morning") did the same with her GLBT husband after he contracted AIDS from his promiscuous GLBT lifestyle, as recounted in her acclaimed autobiographical book, Good-bye, I Love You.

Another recent review of "The Smith Family" appeared on File at: Be warned if you decide to read it, the reviewer uses gratuitous vulgar language, but the reviewer gave the film an A+, so this is yet another example of high praise for Sister Oldham's film. The reviewer concludes his analysis with the following paragraph:

"The Smith Family" cuts with an undercurrent of death that elevates it to the most supreme of life affirming movies. This is a remarkable film. Oldham has proved herself not only a brilliant documentarian but also a very good filmmaker. Although her film skews the POV to that of the wife, it nonetheless provides a valuable life lesson about the power of family and faith.

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MEDIA WAR EMBROILS THE SMARTS,1249,520033334,00.html



ELIZABETH SPEAKS, BUT IS IT SMART?:,1249,515040311,00.html