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

Weekend of September 6, 2002

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

Natl  Film Title                Weekend Gross
Rank  LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star   Total Gross Theaters Days
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
3    City by the Sea (NEW)           8,935,426   2575     3
     Eliza Dushku (actress)          8,935,426

16   Possession                        976,926    616    24
     Neil LaBute (director)          7,935,611
     Aaron Eckhart (lead male actor)

18   Master of Disguise                670,201    864    38
     Perry Andelin Blake (director) 38,228,650

25   Minority Report                   269,933    241    80
     Gerald Molen (producer)       130,990,143

37   The Divine Secrets of the         106,440    280    94
     Ya-Ya Sisterhood               69,192,825

55   The Singles Ward                   25,135     17   220
     Kurt Hale (writer/director)     1,072,817
     John E. Moyer (writer)
     Dave Hunter (producer)
     Cody Hale (composer)
     Ryan Little (cinematographer)
     Wynn Hougaard (film editor)
     Actors: Will Swenson, Connie Young,
        Daryn Tufts, Kirby Heyborne,
        Michael Birkeland, Robert Swenson,
        Wally Joyner, Lincoln Hoppe,
        Sedra Santos, etc.

56   ESPN's Ultimate X                  24,759     31   122
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    4,094,179

59   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   22,837      8   857
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,949,424

80   The Believer                        7,242      5   115
     Ryan Gosling (lead actor)         343,574

81   Galapagos                           7,023      4  1046
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,686,516

87   China: The Panda Adventure          5,249      5   409
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,833,730

91   The Other Side of Heaven            4,617      5   269
     Mitch Davis (writer/director)   4,694,311
     John H. Groberg (author/character)
     Gerald Molen, John Garbett (producers)
     Steven Ramirez (film editor)

92   Little Secrets                      4,290     16    17
     Blair Treu (director/producer)    395,774
     Brian Sullivan (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Jerry Stayner (film editor)
     Actors: Jan Broberg Felt, Rick Macy,
        Tayva Patch, Caitlin E.J. Meyer, etc.

114  Ziggy Stardust & Spiders from Mars  1,054      2    61
     Mick Ronson (2nd billed actor)     99,797

116  Mark Twain's America 3D               893      1  1529
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,266,641

PRODUCER SEEKING LEADING MAN (non-SAG): We can't say very much about this, because the official announcement hasn't been made yet, but we have recently received word of a new multi-million-dollar LDS-themed major motion picture that will soon go into production. Right now, the film is in the casting stages, and several of the major crew positions have been filled.

Gary Rogers, a producer on this project, is currently looking for an individual for the male lead role. He must be between the ages of 20-25. He must be a MINIMUM of 6 feet tall, very muscular, attractive with a "leading man" face and have outstanding acting talent and ability. The individual we are looking for must NOT be a member of SAG! The producers are hoping to find the lead actor in Utah, but they will go to California to find the "right" individual if necessary. This will be a major motion picture with a multi-million dollar budget and will provide an incredible opportunity for the actor selected to play the lead. For more information or to arrange an audition call Gary Rogers at (801) 557-3515

To give you an idea of how big this production is, the composer for the film will be someone very familiar to members of the church and the music is planned to be recorded by one of the premiere orchestras in the world for film scores, the London Symphony. Most filmgoers will recognize the London Symphony as the orchestra which has recorded all of the music for the Star Wars series of films. Incidentally, the word is that this film is not just a one-time effort, but a series of films are planned to follow. Stay tuned for more! As more information becomes available, you will hear it here first!

DIRECTOR SEEKING CHRISTMAS SCRIPT: Authors and scriptwriters, pay attention. Estonian-born producer/director Jaanus Silla (a BYU graduate now based in Hollywood) is looking for feature-length scripts with a Christmas theme for a well-financed film which will be filmed this fall and winter. He already has financing for the film and is just looking for an excellent literary property that deserves to be made. It should not be an explicitly LDS project, yet it should portray Latter-day Saint values. Interested parties should contact Jaanus at:

We communicated with Silla after he wrote to us and verified that he is THE Jaanus Silla. Interestingly enough, he didn't mention ANYTHING about his background when he wrote to us, other than to say that he is a BYU graduate who has been working in the film industry in California. He made no mention of his place in Church history, but I dug it up myself, I thought it was interesting, and I thought I would mention it here.

Silla was the 5th person baptized in Estonia, an event that took place just three weeks after the first 4 Estonian converts were baptized. Estonia was then still part of the Soviet Union, making him the 5th person baptized in the U.S.S.R. A year and a month after he joined the Church, Silla left for his mission -- he was the first full-time missionary from the Soviet Union to serve abroad. After his mission he attended and graduated from BYU film school.

I find this fascinating partially because of the parallels to filmmakers Lino Brocka and Jose Maria Oliveira Aldamiz.

Lino Brocka was the first convert baptized by missionaries in the Philipines. He then became the first (or one of the first) Filipinos to serve a mission. He served a full-time mission in Hawaii. After his mission he went to California, eventually took up filmmaking, and returned to the Philipines, where he became the greatest filmmaker in that country's history. Not one of the greatest, but THE greatest. Look it up. There's a biography put out by that country's government arts and cultural department. Has a chapter about his mission and Church membership. There's also a documentary about him. Fascinating stuff. The Filipino members all know who he is, but Latter-day Saints elsewhere have never heard of him, probably because after his mission he was essentially inactive during the rest of his life. Still, it's interesting how Gospel values colored his film work.

More faithful as a Church member, but far less prestigious as a filmmaker, is Jose Maria Oliveira Aldamiz, the first convert baptized in Spain. Oliveira also became Spain's first stake president, and I think he served in the Madrid Temple presidency. He, too, was a producer and director -- he made thoughtful horror movies, a couple of which did quite well at the Spanish box office from what have been able to ascertain.

It's interesting that yet another pioneer in international Church history is also a filmmaker. But maybe it shouldn't be so surprising. Brigham Young's grandson Waldemar Young was one of the top Hollywood screenwriters of his day, and another grandson, was a prolific Hollywood cinematographer during the 1920s. (Brigham Young had a lot of grandsons.) Silla, of course, is just starting out. No way to know whether he'll carve out a career like Brocka's, or pretty much retire from directing as did Oliveira, or fall somewhere in between.

Perhaps the greatest Estonian filmmaker is animator Priit Parn. Arvo Iho, Peeter Simm and Sulev Keedus are Estonian filmmakers who have won some international awards. Other Estonian directors include Kaljo Kiisk, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Mait Lepik, Peeter Urbla, Theodor Luts, Mati Põldre, Jüri Sillart, Rein Liblic, Hannes Lintrop, Renita Lintrop, and Helle Murdmaa. But Estonia has a population of less than 1.5 million. So if the country hasn't produced a slew of directors of the same caliber as Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

BOX OFFICE NOTES: If you put off going to see "Little Secrets", you may have already missed your chance. Despite the recent financial successes of other family-oriented films and its mostly positive reviews, Latter-day Saint director/producer Blair Treu's film did not perform well at the box office, and only 17 days after its nationwide release is now playing in a mere 16 theaters. The film was shot in Utah and features a cast and crew that are largely LDS, including actors Jan Broberg Felt (Bug Off!), Rick Macy (Out of Step, Brigham City, Testaments), and Tayva Patch (Out of Step, Brigham City, Testaments). Still, its current box office gross of nearly $396,000 is enough to place Blair Treu among the Top Ten LDS Directors (who are currently working) according to gross box office receipts. You can see the complete list on the home page (

Even though "The Singles Ward" is still performing strongly in theaters (having passed the magical $1 million mark last week) the release of the video and DVD versions of the film have now been scheduled for October 1st. "The Singles Ward" will be opening across California on September 13th. If you live in California, DO NOT MISS the chance to see this film in a theater -- WITH an audience. It's an incredible experience to see it in a packed theater full of people who are dying laughing, literally falling out of their chairs, which has been the case in Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii and other locations which have been fortuante to see this movie already. The next theatrical release from HaleStorm Entertainment, of course, is "The R.M.", which is currently in post production and is scheduled to be released in January.

GREEN HOUSE: Environmentally-conscious people who are also interested in starring in a documentary may wish to take note of this: veteran Latter-day Saint filmmaker Marilyn Grace is planning a documentary titled "Living Green" which is billed as "the story of three families that make a difference by living in an environmentally friendly way." Marilyn is looking for an investor to raise $6,000, which will then be used to pursue grant money from the various agencies who would have an interest in promoting environmentally-friendly living. Benefits to the investor include having their home fixed up to be environmentally safe as part of the documentary and also the chance to appear in the documentary which will be aired on PBS and other outlets. Interested parties should contact Marilyn at Story Teller Productions (435) 671-2301 for more information.