OREM -- Brigham Young University graduate and filmmaker Blair Treu recognizes that "crusade" is a strong word. But he can't think what else to call it.
"I'm kind of on a crusade. I've always felt strongly about making movies that are safe for kids," said the 42-year-old director, whose "Little Secrets" opens today in most major markets across the country. "I have four kids, and most of the films I've made are really for them."
He said his children, ages 9 to 13, served as sounding boards for "Little Secrets."
"I bounced a lot of ideas off them," he said. "And this thing scored really well with adults and grandparents, too. I tell people if you're a grandparent, and you take your grandkids to see one movie this year, it should be this one."
Promoting the film, which won rave reviews at last fall's family-friendly Heartland Film Festival, is Treu's current obsession. But he said his ultimate goal is bigger than that.
"It's more than just trying to promote this film; it's about trying to promote these kinds of films," he said, referring to G- or PG-rated movies without profanity, violence or sex. "It's not enough to stay away from the bad movies. If you want your vote to count, you have to support the good movies, too."
Treu, who lives in Orem with his wife, Cheryll, and their children, made his big-screen debut with "Wish upon a Star," released in 1996 in a handful of theaters primarily on the East Coast.
He went on to make films for the Disney Channel -- films such as "The Paper Brigade" and "Phantom of the Megaplex" that he describes as "soft."
"In the Disney Channel movies we've done, it's been really silly kids' fare, not a lot of content," he said. "With 'Little Secrets,' we're giving kids credit for having a brain to actually think and reason through a plot; there's an actual story here."
"Well," he added, "I guess audiences will be the judges of that."
The story in "Little Secrets" is of a young girl who serves as confidante to all the children in her neighborhood, while she harbors a secret herself. The film was shot in the spring of 2001 in Salt Lake City.
"This is truly a Utah film," Treu said. "It was produced and directed by a Utahn (Treu himself), the director of photography was Brian Sullivan (a long-time Treu collaborator), it was edited by Jerry Stayner who lives here in Utah County, and (music) composed by Sam Cardon." Much of the acting talent is local, too, though not the four leads.
Treu is unsure which project he'll tackle next. "Eventually, I will be doing stuff that's a little more adult-driven, although I have no plans to do something approaching a hard-R rating," he said. "If I saw a script that was 'Saving Private Ryan'-caliber, I might have to rethink that."
But working for companies such as Disney gives him freedom because there is no pressure to appeal to an older audience, Treu says. "Nobody's going to be encouraging you to put more 'edge' or more language in," he said. "Maybe that's a cop-out, but I have a lot of years ahead of me. Plenty of time to make a more 'serious' movie."
*** [3 out of 4 stars]
A gentle, heartwarming family film made in Utah.
Rated PG for thematic elements; 107 minutes.
Opening today at area theaters.
The first clue that "Little Secrets" is a Utah movie comes when a 14-year-old girl, practicing the violin in her room, gazes dreamily up at her poster of that popular teenybopper crush . . . Kurt Bestor.
OK, so maybe this homegrown family film isn't entirely realistic. But it is still a smart, gentle and well-crafted story that should satisfy older kids -- especially girls -- while not boring their parents.
Evan Rachel Wood from TV's "Once and Again" stars as Emily, a gifted violinist living with her parents on a leafy street in an unnamed suburb (though Utahns will recognize shots of downtown Salt Lake City). Forfeiting summer camp to practice for youth orchestra tryouts, the precocious Emily spends her days with her violin tutor (Vivica A. Fox) or operating a backyard booth where, for a 50-cent fee, she offers advice to neighborhood kids.
This "Secret Keeper" sideline, which consists mostly of assuaging kids' guilt about broken dinnerware, earns Emily a devoted following -- including Philip (Michael Angarano from "Will and Grace"), a younger boy whose family moves in next door. The smitten Philip has Emily mostly to himself until older brother David (David Gallagher of TV's "Seventh Heaven") returns unexpectedly from summer camp, touching off a chain of petty resentments.
An only child whose mother is pregnant, Emily seems almost impossibly poised and well-adjusted. But -- wouldn't you know it? -- she is harboring a nagging little secret of her own. When her secret-keeping venture threatens to blow up in her face, Emily must juggle loyalties and face the truth about her past.
None of this is as shady as it sounds. The movie's secrets are pretty tame, and as a result, its dramatic stakes never feel all that high. But there's something satisfying in its old-fashioned, "Wonderful World of Disney" style of storytelling. Director Blair Treu and writer Jessica Barondes treat their child characters with respect; instead of cutesy cherubs or leering adolescents, they feel like genuine (if unnaturally wholesome) kids.
All the secrets, past and present, tie up a little too neatly in a tear-jerking hospital finale. But "Little Secrets" succeeds in large part on the winning performance of young actress Wood, whose charisma makes the know-it-all Emily sympathetic. An emerging star (who by coincidence appears in "Simone," also opening today), Wood won't be a secret much longer.
Keeping secrets seems innocent enough-especially if they are truly kept. Who gets hurt? Little Secrets explores the significance of secrets that are meant to keep people from really knowing each other.
Emily (Evan Rachel Wood) found that she has a very useful marketable skill: she can keep a secret. The kids of the neighborhood rely on her to help them keep the secrets they don't want their parents to know. Some of the secrets, though, are too big and they start to gnaw at her. Philip and David (Michael Angarano and David Gallagher) move in next door and as she develops friendships with them, she finds that secrets interfere with friendship, her dreams, and even her happiness. She must decide whether her secrets are worth the price they will cost.
Little Secrets has the sweetness of a wholesome family film with none of the saccharine mush that usually compensates for writing. While some of the children's dialogue is a bit over-written, the screenwriter Jessica Barondes does a good job of drafting children that are real. They are neither the stereotypes drawn by people who know nothing of children, nor adults in kids' skin that Hollywood usually provides as a way of grabbing an adult audience.
But, Secrets gives us another surprise: a script that has a theme that is more fully developed than in a vast majority of the cotton candy coming out of the big studios in Hollywood. Much of the dialogue, plot, and character traits support and comment on the theme. Secrets is a wonderful family-friendly film.
It's also wonderful for the fact that it is very well directed. Blair Treu at times keeps the film light-when he shows us the quirky kids of the neighborhood-and respect for his talented actors-when the emotions of the film take hold. He shows much more proficiency in working with good child actors than most directors.
Little Secrets does not argue about whether there are good or bad secrets. Instead, in the film keeping secrets becomes a way for the kids of the neighborhood to hide their mistakes and for Emily to hide who she really is. They become a way to shield herself from getting close to people. But more disturbingly, the secrets stand it the way of maintaining personal integrity. They allow the "secret keeper" to live a lie.
Expunging these secrets is a way of developing integrity. How can anyone think that weaknesses and mistakes can be kept as secrets? We act as though perfection is the norm and mistakes are so rare that one must hide them to be accepted. We are human, so we have them...just like everyone else.
Wanting to hide our mistakes seems natural enough, but Emily is guilty of trying to hide parts of her personality that are not "negatives"-as her mother says. Secrets indicates that we cannot truly become close to people-and become their friends-so long as we refuse be ourselves with them. Emily's new friend David said, "If you want to be close to someone, you can't keep secrets from them." It is no accident that Emily only achieved her dreams because her friends knew her well.
In the film, Emily and Philip accidently break a cup from her mother's china tea set. While the pattern has been discontinued and so irreplaceable, they do find a set of cheap knock-offs. That china set symbolizes Emily. When she would try and hide her mistakes, she moves from being authentic to being a cheap replacement, no longer authentic. She thought she looked the same, though her friends who returned from a summer at camp could see something different in her.
Treu and Barondes aren't advocating hanging our dirty laundry out for all to see, or exposing ourselves to the world. They are talking about personal integrity and the trust one must have in each other in order to get close to people. Emily's violin teacher (Vivica A. Fox) said it well, "You can't keep secrets about yourself and lead a true life."
Like Emily and the tea cup, we may hold within ourselves "the best kept secret in town," but that doesn't repair our shattered integrity.
(Little Secrets opens in Utah at the end of August 2002.)
LITTLE SECRETS - ** 1/2 [2 1/2 out of 4 stars] - Evan Rachel Wood, Michael Angarano, David Gallagher, Jan Broberg Felt, Rick Macy, Vivica A. Fox, Paul Kiernan, Tayva Patch; rated PG (brief violence, mild vulgarity); see the "On the Screen" column for complete listing of local theaters.
It's to the credit of its young, talented cast that "Little Secrets" overcomes what could have been a terminal case of the "cutes."
As it is, there are times when this sweet-natured, family-friendly drama feels like a movie that was made for Disney's cable network (not a complete surprise, considering its maker, Utahn Blair Treu, has directed films for that channel in the past).
Not that such a thing is always to a film's detriment. In fact, "Little Secrets" does feature a worthy message (to reveal it would spoil things) and manages to look almost as good as most Hollywood productions, despite a much, much smaller budget (somewhere in the $2.5 million range).
The able cast of young TV actors is headed by Evan Rachel Wood, of the now-canceled TV series "Once and Again" (she's also in "Simone," another film opening today). Wood stars as Emily, a teenage violinist and amateur "secret keeper."
In that regard, Emily acts as confidante to neighborhood children. She charges them a modest fee (50 cents) to hear their "confessions," and she then holds the evidence of their misdeeds in an oak chest.
Her newest client is Philip (Michael Angarano), a newcomer to the neighborhood who has broken one of his father's prized chess pieces.
Emily's only too happy to help him out, which begins a feud of sorts between the smitten Philip and his somewhat troubled older brother, David (David Gallagher, from "7th Heaven"), who is also competing for her attention.
Meanwhile, what they don't know is that Emily is hiding her own secret -- she's somewhat resentful of her mother (Jan Broberg Felt), who's pregnant in her 40s.
And that's probably as much of the plot as can be safely revealed without giving too much away.
Treu and screenwriter Jessica Barondes struggle at times to maintain the right balance between comedy and drama (a couple of scenes probably could and should have been played differently), though it is paced well and looks very good.
As far as the performances go, Wood has the unfortunate tendency to smile through all her scenes, though her character's inner turmoil is still believable. Better is Angarano, whose dry line delivery indicates he has some real talent for comedy.
"Little Secrets" is rated PG for brief violence (a traumatic accident, which happens off-screen) and some mildly vulgar humor. Running time: 97 minutes.
We watched "Little Secrets" on a screener tape provided by the distributor. I thought, "This looks like a Disney Channel movie." A friend watching it with me said, "This looks like a Disney Channel movie." Halfway through, another friend walked in, took one look at it, and said, "Is this a Disney Channel movie?"
I hate to start a movie review with an anecdote about watching it, but these events describe "Little Secrets" perfectly. The cinematography is bright and sunny, the music is unobtrusively wacky, the tone is light and the budget is cheerfully low.
Directed by BYU alumnus Blair Treu, who has, yes, worked on Disney Channel films, "Little Secrets" was shot in Salt Lake City. And it is every bit as harmlessly chipper as you'd expect a family-oriented movie by a BYU alumnus shot in Salt Lake City to be.
It is set in suburbia -- Colorado, we learn 90 minutes into the film, and only by looking closely at a letter someone receives. It's an idyllic summer on a friendly, tree-lined street. The numerous neighborhood kids trust in Emily (Evan Rachel Wood), a 14-year-old girl who works one afternoon a week as a "secret keeper," wherein children pay her 50 cents in exchange for getting something off their chests and receiving a little sisterly advice. This kid swiped some money from his dad's wallet; that one's digging a hole to China; you know, regular kid stuff.
Also, these kids apparently spend most of their time accidentally breaking their parents' things, because Emily's foot locker is full of evidence that she holds for the kids until such time as they choose to 'fess up to their parents.
Emily's mother is pregnant, and Emily's freaking out about it due to a secret she has. (It is nothing salacious, but it is a secret, so I won't tell you.) See, that's the thing: The pressure of knowing everyone's minor, childish peccadillos gets to her after a while, especially when she has her own issues to deal with.
In the meantime, she has developed a casual friendship with Philip (Michael Angarano), the 12-year-old boy next door who has a crush on her. He is in awe of her prowess on the violin, which she practices constantly, preparing for an audition for the youth symphony coming up soon. In fact, she has forsaken summer camp this year in order to rehearse.
Two lines of dialogue sum up what the movie is about. Someone observes, "If you want to be close to someone, you can't keep secrets from them." Or, put more simply by another character at another juncture, "Secrets hurt."
It is hard to fault a film with so guileless a philosophy -- the importance of honesty and familial love are also emphasized -- no matter how unimaginative it may be. The idea of a neighborhood "secret keeper" is an amusing one, but Treu and screenwriter Jessica Barondes do not focus on it enough, and what they do manage to do with it is nothing special. There is also too much frou-frou involving Emily's little secret, a subplot with Philip's rebellious brother, Emily's devotion to a particular symphony conductor, and her violin teacher's (Vivica A. Fox) personal life. These disparate elements do not tie together enough to justify keeping them all in the film.
The performances from the children are natural and charming, though, a major plus, since the movie focuses on them. The movie will appeal greatly to kids the age of the characters -- 9-14, roughly -- and it will be good for them to watch. Everyone else can bask in the brightness of the fun little world of Anytown, U.S.A.
OREM (Aug. 22) -- The combination of entertaining and uplifting is becoming more popular in films.
Just ask Blair Treu, a producer/director who's getting used to earning awards as he earns a living making films that are "entertaining but don't violate our senses -- fun films that I wouldn't be ashamed to show my family."
His "requirements" for a family film?
"Above all else, it must be entertaining," he says, "or no one will ever see it. Secondary to that is an uplifting message. And of course, it shouldn't be offensive."
True's most recent film, "Little Secrets," makes its silver-screen debut Aug. 23 in theaters nationwide after winning the Award of Excellence at this year's Heartland Film Festival, which honors films that promote family values.
"Little Secrets" -- originally titled "Secret Keeper" -- premiered Aug. 19 at the feature presentation at the first-ever Salt Lake Children's Film Festival. Audiences at BYU's Campus Education Week also previewed the movie this week.
The film, from a story by Jessica Barondes, tells the heart-warming story of a violinist named Emily who forfeits her summer vacation to practice for symphony auditions. She's also the neighborhood kids' secret-keeper, who serves as an objective ear and a salve for guilty consciences.
But she's keeping a secret herself.
Emily is played charmingly by Evan Rachel Wood of "Once and Again," with Michael Angarano ("Will & Grace," "Cover Me") and David Gallagher ("7th Heaven") as the boys next door. The rest of the cast is largely local, notes Treu, and the film was shot entirely in Utah, using a local crew.
The film score is by Orem's awarding winning composer Sam Cardon, with soaring violin solos performed by professional violinist/BYU music professor Igor Gruppman. In a touch of local humor, the script has Emily being a big fan of Provo resident/composer Kurt Bestor, whose life-size poster decorates her bedroom.
It's a likable, entertaining film that families can enjoy together without fear of encountering something offensive in the dialog or scenes -- a goal Treu has endeavored to reach with all the films he's worked on.
"There are very few movies targeted for whole families to watch together," notes Treu, who moved to Orem from Burbank, Calif., with his wife, Cheryll, and four children.
He sees "Little Secrets" as another of the family-friendly films free of gratuitous content (sex, foul language, violence) that are gaining a following after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"People are looking for something uplifting, with a positive message that helps make them feel better about themselves," he explains.
Treu graduated from BYU's film school in 1985, after winning back-to-back festival honors for his student films. Those wins, along with his success in getting Hollywood distribution deals, brought him to the attention of the Walt Disney Company, who brought the young director into the Disney family.
There, Treu worked on various production aspects of such films as "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "The Color of Money," "Ruthless People" and "Flight of the Navigator." He also worked for two seasons on the Disney Sunday Movie. He left Disney in 1987 to work independently on dozens of projects that have won awards, including Gold Camera, Gold Hugo, Cine Golden Eagle, Silver Screen, Chicago International Gold, Heartland Festival Gold and New York Festival Gold.
Treu's directorial debut came in 1994 with "Just Like Dad," which starred Nick Cassavetes and Laura Innes. It won the family-friendly Crystal Heart award at the 1995 Heartland Film Festival. His "Wish Upon a Star" enjoyed unprecedented ratings on the Disney Channel and won Treu his second Crystal Heart award. "The Paper Chase," which he directed for Leucadia Films, won the Santa Clarita International Film Festival's "best comedy" award for feature films.
In 1999, he directed 18 episodes of "Chicken Soup for the Soul," then "The Brainiacs.com" and "Phantom of the Megaplex." He's also worked on a number of films for the LDS Church.
Though Treu is ready to move on to more "adult" projects in feature films (a romantic comedy is in the works), he has set his standard as a director, and that standard helps him decide which projects to say yes or no to.
"Whether the film is commercial, educational or documentary," he says, "it must have some intrinsic social value. It must be uplifting. I won't do R-rated stuff or anything dark." He admits, "I feel very out of place at the Sundance Film Festival."
"Little Secrets," its title changed by the distributor, Samuel Goldwyn Films, will later be released on home video through TriStar. But Treu hopes families will send a message to Hollywood by supporting his and other such family-oriented fare at the theater box office -- which is what Hollywood counts -- rather than waiting for the video.
Although he's sure to be included with the growing group of LDS filmmakers, Treu wants his films to appeal to a wider audience. Concludes the 42-year-old producer/director, "I plan to keep making positive films as long as there are people who will support them."
"Little Secrets" will play at these Utah County movie theaters beginning Aug. 23: Provo Towne Center Cinemark and Carmike Wynnsong in Riverwoods. Salt Lake County movie theaters screening "Little Secrets" are at Jordan Landing, Jordan Commons, Gateway Center, and Ritz in West Valley City.
Few parents [the kind likely to have made "Little Secrets" and to whom it seems primarily aimed] will find anything objectionable in this sanitized after-school special-esque of a film, lately that's progress.
Blair Treu, a local filmmaker, and screenwriter Jessica Barondes teamed up for the second time with "Little Secrets" (TriStar, 2002, PG, $24.95, 2 discs), a delightful comedy-drama that had a brief theatrical run last summer and is out on DVD this week.
The story revolves around a teenage violinist (Evan Rachel Wood) who helps youngsters in her neighborhood keep deep secrets . . . and who harbors one of her own.
Funny, charming and smart, "Little Secrets" is the kind of movie they don't make any more, equally enjoyable for kids and their parents.
The film also holds its own quite well against anything Hollywood has to offer, although it was filmed for as much as most movies spend on catering, was shot completely on location in Salt Lake City and is devoid of the usual vulgar gags that pepper big-budget "family" movies.
Director Treu and writer Barondes, who previously collaborated on the Disney Channel favorite "Wish Upon a Star," also seemed to have a great time doing the DVD's audio commentary, during which they deconstruct the film in a way that should please movie buffs, but also entertain as they discuss locations, the young cast and making a movie with no studio interference.
In separate telephone interviews, both said they were happy to see positive reviews during the film's theatrical release, particularly one on TV. "Two thumbs up on 'Ebert & Roeper' was a landmark thing to get as a writer," said Barondes.
Both also acknowledge that "Little Secrets" came out at the right time.
" 'Kangaroo Jack,' " Treu said with a sigh, admitting that he took his kids to see it. "I was very disappointed. You go in thinking it's one thing -- and it does have a lot of humor in it -- but its pretty baseless."
"There are not a lot of family movies being made," Barondes said. "It's a tough market, but I think that's why we were able to get the movie in there; there's not a glut of these sort of family films."
Treu even takes it one step further. "There is a large segment of our society that has basically stopped going to movies, period. Hollywood has lost touch with them. Unless they live in that environment, it's not going to speak to them.
"My grandparents or distant relatives that live out in Vernal don't go to movies, because the movies they have gone to have offended them to such a degree. So they rent the oldies. They don't trust the movies."
Barondes said that part of what makes "Little Secrets" work is that its themes are universal. "I think the things I write about are pretty timeless. They could have been made in the '70s, '80s, and here we are in the 2000s, and hopefully it will work and will hang around."
And both insist that Columbia/TriStar didn't interfere in the making of the movie. "The studio was really cool about it," Treu said. "These guys were really terrific. You hear so many stories about directors going in and the studio launching edicts -- put this in, take that out. These guys were not that way."
While he's made most of his movies in Utah and would be content to continue doing so, Treu admits he'd like to have a shot at the big time. "I'd love to use big stars and have big budgets -- if I can do it without being offensive in the process.
"There are a lot of really decent people who want to work on decent, positive movies that have something to say, but so few are written, and hundreds of people are vying for them. The 'Rudys,' the 'Hoosiers,' 'October Sky' -- I'd love to do those, whether they are star-driven or not."
The "Little Secrets" DVD has two discs, the second being the film's musical soundtrack, scored by Utah composer Sam Cardon -- which may mark the first time a soundtrack audio disc has been included with a DVD. "It's like an added perk," Barondes said, "a little bonus."
Treu added that it's also a tribute to Cardon's talent. "Sam is, I think, the most gifted composer we have in the state. A lot of people have the impression that when you hire local people, they don't measure up. But in Sam's case, that is not true; he can stand with the best."
Near the end of August, with almost no promotion or fanfare, a film called Little Secrets was sent to theaters nationwide by Columbia TriStar Pictures. You have to question the timing of the film's release. Here was a film whose three principal characters were all in their early teens, that was chiefly being marketed as a film for children, and yet it was released at the very same time that target audience was heading back to school. Predictably, the film did not fare well at the box office, and probably before most people even heard about it, Little Secrets was gone.
This was truly a travesty, because Little Secrets is one of the best family films to be released in recent years. Happily, it is now out on DVD and video, so if you missed it during its all-too-short theatrical run, you get a second chance.
The film stars Evan Rachel Wood (also seen in TV's "Once and Again") as a 14-year-old girl named Emily who has a seemingly harmless little business as the neighborhood "secret keeper," charging a 50-cent fee to share and keep the younger neighborhood children's secrets. Emily is also a gifted violinist and has stayed home from summer camp to prepare for an audition with the prestigious San Francisco Youth Orchestra.
With her regular group of friends gone for most of the summer, Emily befriends her new next-door neighbor, a 12-year-old boy named Philip -- played by Michael Angarano ( of TV's "Will and Grace"). Emily's parents are expecting a baby, and Philip has a very cute older brother named David (David Gallagher of TV's "Seventh Heaven"), making the prospects for the summer even brighter. But, of course, things don't turn out quite the way Emily expects, and she soon finds that keeping secrets is not necessarily the innocent game it at first appeared to be.
This is an absolutely charming film. One of its strengths is the way that it portrays the children as real, complicated people, capable of intelligent thought and genuine feelings. Parents will be especially pleased because it is an enjoyable film for viewers of all ages, both children and adults. In fact, although they may start watching the film expecting something geared to children, many adults will soon find themselves quite involved in the story. Don't be surprised if you find yourself laughing out loud and yes, squeezing out a few tears too, before the film is over.
The script by Jessica Barondes is absolutely wonderful. Wood delivers a surprisingly subtle performance and is especially impressive in the scenes where she plays the violin, very believably portraying the poise and skill of a young prodigy. (Most people would not be able to tell that she cannot actually play the violin herself.) However, it is Angarano who absolutely steals the show. He has an extremely expressive face and his performance is very entertaining to watch.
LDS director/producer Blair Treu shows absolute mastery working with children, and even the younger children are relatively relaxed and seem to be enjoying themselves. Since the film was shot entirely in Utah, much of the cast and crew is LDS, and viewers will recognize several familiar faces from local Utah productions among the adult actors, including Jan Broberg Felt (Bug Off!), Rick Macy (Out of Step, Brigham City, Testaments), and Tayva Patch (Out of Step, Brigham City, Testaments), all of whom deliver wonderful performances in supporting roles.
LDS viewers will also recognize LDS celebrity Kurt Bestor, whose picture is found all over the place in the film because Emily has a juvenile crush on the "middle-aged composer" (as one character refers to him). Interestingly enough, the very well done music for the film was actually written by LDS composer Sam Cardon, not Bestor - and yes, there is also a "Samuel" Cardon reference in the film, so he doesn't get left out.
Strictly speaking, this is not LDS cinema, however, because despite being filmed in Salt Lake City, the characters are not LDS - although they easily could have been. Perhaps more importantly, Little Secrets fills a niche that most Hollywood films abandoned long ago. It is a good, wholesome, yet entertaining film. In speaking about Little Secrets and family-friendly films like it, Treu often refers to its audience as a segment of society that has nearly stopped going to the theaters altogether, because the kind of films they feel good seeing just aren't being made any more.
If that's the case, then if you only bought one video or DVD this year, and you wanted something good for the whole family, you could do a lot worse than buying Little Secrets.
The DVD includes several special features, including a fun audio commentary by Treu and Barondes, blooper reel and a "making of" featurette - not an overwhelming amount of extras, but enough to please those hoping to get some insight into the thought processes that went into making the film. Little Secrets is rated PG for "thematic elements", but really it could have just as easily gotten a G rating.
About the author - Film composer Thomas C. Baggaley received a master's degree in music from UCLA, where he studied film scoring with highly regarded composer, Jerry Goldsmith. He recently released a CD of inspirational music titled "Spirit of the Sabbath", which is available at Deseret Book and LDSVideo.com. Thomas is also the co-webmaster of LDSfilm.com, a research web site about LDS films and filmmakers. Thomas's upcoming film scores include music for "unfolding" - a film by award-winning LDS filmmaker Christian Vuissa - and "The Land of Nephi" - a documentary starring Sharlene Wells Hawkes about archaeological discoveries in Southern Mexico and Guatemala that date to Book of Mormon times. He is a husband and father to three wonderful children and serves as the teacher development coordinator in his ward.