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

Weekend of December 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
---  ----------------------------- -----------  -----  ----
 6   The Santa Clause 2              5,327,205  2,356    38
     Ken Daurio (screenwriter)     120,141,388
     Cinco Paul (screenwriter)

27   Sweet Home Alabama                160,365    287    73
     C. Jay Cox (screenwriter)     124,405,131

35   Punch-Drunk Love                   78,478    103    59
     LDS actors/characters:         17,719,378
         David Stevens,
         Nathan Stevens,
         Michael D. Stevens,
         Jim Smooth Stevens
           (James Smooth)

61   Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   19,472      7   948
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   14,460,947

65   Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure   12,779      9   668
     Scott Swofford (producer)      13,701,738
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
     Sam Cardon (composer)
     Stephen L. Johnson (film editor)

75   Jack Weyland's Charly               6,433     11    73
     Adam Anderegg (director)          548,490
     Jack Weyland (book author)
     Janine Gilbert (screenwriter)
     Lance Williams (producer)
     Micah Merrill (producer, film editor)
     Tip Boxell (co-producer)
     Bengt Jan Jonsson (cinematographer)
     Aaron Merrill (composer)
     Actors: Heather Beers, Jeremy Elliott,
        Adam Johnson, Jackie Winterrose Fullmer,
        Diana Dunkley, Gary Neilson, Lisa McCammon,
        Randy King, Bernie Diamond, etc.

84   Galapagos                           3,835      5  1137
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   13,850,267

85   China: The Panda Adventure          3,821      4   500
     Reed Smoot (cinematographer)    2,967,652

93   Ziggy Stardust & Spiders from Mars  2,164      1   152
     Mick Ronson (2nd billed actor)    127,820

101  Mark Twain's America 3D               352      1  1620
     Alan Williams (composer)        2,290,125

"OUT OF STEP" DVD NOW ON SALE: An event happened this week that has happened only 3 previous times in the history of this planet. A movie in the "LDS Cinema" genre (post-Dutcher Latter-day Saint-themed feature films released theatrically) was released on DVD. We found the "Out of Step" DVD at Deseret Book this weekend. The cover looks essentially like the movie posters. Really the only new addition to the DVD cover are the words "Featuring the music of Jericho Road". The back side of the DVD has the following text:

Out of Step LLC Presents

Out of Step

A Ryan Little Film

One dream, two guys, eternal possibilities

Starring Michael Buster (God's Army), Jeremy Elliot (Charly, Testaments), And introducing Alison Akin Clark

Produced by Cary Derbige and directed by Ryan Little (Singles Ward) Out of Step "One of this year's best films (4 stars", is coming to your home after a smashing theater debut. Starring Michael Buster (God's Army) as the good LDS guy, Jeremy Elliot (Charly, The Testaments), as the eye-candy non-LDS guy, and introducing Allison Akin Clark as the young, talented LDS Girl from Utah who goes to New York to become a professional dancer. She has her challenges both in obtaining the scholarship she needs and in every aspect of her values and testimony. A coming of age story ("The Mormon Flash Dance" Deseret News) and a must see for all families, young adults and teens.

DVD Special Features
Behind the Scenes Documentary
Director's / Screen Writer's Commentary
Chapter Selection
Motion Menu
Deleted Scenes
And more

Composed by Merrill Jensen

Then it continues with the credits as they appear on the poster. The DVD is distributed by Thomson Productions, Inc.

HUNTER ON "OUT OF STEP": The thoroughly-lame plot description on the video/DVD cover does not begin to do justice to this very enjoyable movie. Really, this is a must-have for any fan of LDS cinema. This is the fourth LDS-themed feature film released in commercial theaters to become available on video/DVD, following "God's Army," "Brigham City", and "The Singles Ward." Of these, "Brigham City" is the best overall film, followed by "God's Army." But out of "The Singles Ward," "Out of Step" and "The Other Side of Heaven" I honestly couldn't tell you which I like best. They are so different that it is difficult to compare them. Each broke new ground in a number of ways and each have many commendable aspects, as well as definite flaws. The strengths with "Out of Step" are the acting and the writing. Michael Buster and Jeremy Elliott are good enough to be in any major Hollywood production and they really shine here. Clark is a newcomer but very watchable. Her character is quirky yet very real and believable. With her look and performance she creates an unusual screen persona that is nothing like standard Hollywood leading lady fare.

The plot and dialogue are both excellent and full of surprises. Watching it the first time I did not know where the movie was going and was surprised in many places. Yet everything that happened was very true to life. Jeremy Elliott's non-member musician character is one of the best movie characters I've seen in a long time. He was nothing like I expected. I very much enjoyed "Out of Step" in the theater and it plays even better on a smaller screen.

Unfortunately, "Out of Step" is marred by a low budget that shows in the uneven quality of film stock, some grainy scenes, sound problems, and other technical problems. These problems aren't disastrous, but they detracted from the film in the theater. Viewed on DVD on a television, these problems are far less noticeable. Don't let the low-budget or film stock keep you from buying the DVD. Most people won't notice. Although it used short ends, this movie WAS shot in 35mm and its visual quality still exceeds what you'll find in most videos and TV programs.

Another nitpick is that a few of the performances by supporting actors didn't quite quite work -- perhaps because of the writing more than because of the talent of the actors. In particular Tayva Patch as Jenny's mother and T.L. Forsberg as Jenny's roommate have some odd moments because larger character arcs involving those characters have been cut from the film. Some of the scenes between Jenny and her parents are awkward. But nearly without exception this is an amazingly strong cast for such a low-budget feature. This was a SAG production and the quality of experience actors in supporting roles, such as Peter Asle Holden as Jenny's dance instructor, really raises the quality of the whole production.

I was a little disappointed that in this movie about a dancer that there was not more dancing to watch. When there was dancing, it was not captured to film as well as has been done in many other movies. But there ARE some nice dance scenes that enhance the movie. Jenny is shown doing modern dance solo and as part of her class studies, but perhaps the best dance sequence was the swing dancing (with great music!) at the "Zephyr Club," featuring Jenny amidst "New York City swing dance enthusiasts" actually played by the very talented BYU swing dance club. In a way, this is not really a dance movie. Perhaps I was thinking of Fred Astair or Gregory Hines or Baz Luhrmann movies before I saw "Out of Step" -- movies with emphasis on dance, but far removed from reality. "Out of Step" is closer to an art film or an intensely realistic drama, so highly stylized, staged dance segments would not fit and, wisely, are absent. "Out of Step" is a character study. Don't expect "West Side Story," or even "Saturday's Warrior."

"Out of Step" features an interesting story, great acting. A fresh, even daring look at a realistic romance between a Latter-day Saint and a non-member. As an old fogey I enjoyed it, but it's also something I would want my children to watch if they were teenagers. Of all the LDS-themed feature films released since "God's Army," this is the one that Richard Dutcher singled out and complimented. I highly recommend it. "Out of Step" is one to own. It is a movie that all of the people involved can feel proud to have been a part of. As both a work of art and as a piece of entertainment I would rank "Out of Step" among the best movies of the year, whether from Utah or from Hollywood. Of course it's not as good as the megahits such as "Minority Report" or "Spider-Man", or even "Brigham City." But it is more original and much more enjoyable than countless $20 to $100 million-dollar productions I've seen the last few years.

ADD OUT OF STEP DVD SPECIAL FEATURES - The new DVD release of the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Out of Step" includes a number of special features, including 30-second trailers for 2 upcoming LDS-themed feature films: "The R.M." and "The Work and the Story." Both of these are trailers that we have never seen before, and which, as far as we know, have not appeared online. They are based on up-to-date versions of these movies.

The cinematography for "The R.M." really looks fantastic. (As with HaleStorm's previous release "The Singles Ward," the Director of Photography for "The R.M." was "Out of Step" director Ryan Little.) "The R.M." was shot in 35mm and appears very professional, as well as funny. "The Work and the Story", a mockumentary, clearly used a mixture of video and less high-end film formats, but from the trailer it is clear that is jam-packed with funny ideas and situations, and a slew of interesting personalities, including Richard Dutcher and "The R.M." star Kirby Heyborne.

The "Out of Step" DVD also includes a reel with about 5 deleted scenes, scenes you will recognize if you have read the novelization by Nikki Schmutz. The cuts were good cuts. Having read the novelization and listened to the director's commentary track, it is clear that there was much more in the movie before it was cut down to focus on its essential elements. Most of what was cut was additional scenes and dialogue relating to subplots and story arcs for the supporting characters. Such material would be entirely appropriate for a TV series, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with having it in novel, but it was just too much for a single film. With the cuts made, the movie is far more focused on the main character and her "journey."

This DVD has one of the best, most interesting commentary tracks I have heard in a long time. Director Ryan Little is joined by co-writer and star Michael Buster (who plays the Latter-day Saint film student in the movie). Unlike many commentary tracks where every other sentence comments about how "brilliant" everybody in the movie and how unendingly wonderful the movie was, this commentary provides a no-holds barred look at a very low-budget, often troubled production. The fact that "Out of Step" is as good as it is despite how little money was spent on it and despite all the difficulties encountered is nothing short of a miracle.

Fun trivia fact from the director's commentary that we didn't know before: Actress Nicole White-Robledo, who in "Out of Step" played the bigoted black Baptist college student who mellows and becomes Jenny's friend is MARRIED TO actor Luis Robledo, who played "Elder Sandoval" in "God's Army." Also mentioned is the fact that "Out of Step" original story writer and co-screenwriter Willow Leigh Jones is the wife of the movie's producer, Cary Derbidge.

MAKING OF OUT OF STEP - The "Out of Step" DVD features a short "making of" documentary directed and edited by Chantelle Squires and photographed (videography) by Christian Vuissa and Calvin Cory. Austrian auteur Vuissa is best known as the founder of the LDS Film Festival and for his award-winning short film "Roots and Wings." Christian recently "locked picture" on his eagerly anticipated new short film "unfolding."

* * *

HANDCART ON TOUR (from Press Releases from Ampersand Films) - It is time to get the handcart rolling (no pun intended) as the feature film "Handcart" moves to other locations across the nation between January 10 and the end of April. Currently, the only place you can see the film is in Rexburg, Idaho. The film has been held purposefully so that it can be ready for new locations and because during the holiday season it is difficult to find venues anyway. Most recent numbers indicate that Handcart has grossed $70,000 in a short run in Utah on 17 screens. It has performed best in St. George, the Scera in Orem, and Cardston, Canada. Handcart will probably return to Utah at a later date, but as there are only 20 prints to move around, and more people OUT of Utah are asking for it, it will be a while. The following cities are scheduled for a January 10th release:

Safford, Arizona - All-Star Cinemas
Page, Arizona - The Mesa Theater
Idaho Falls, Idaho - The Paramount
Merced, California - (theater still pending)
Las Vegas, Nevada - (theater still pending)

The filmmakers hope to finish in 100 theaters by April.

HANDCART DVD - No date has been set for a DVD release of "Handcart", but the filmmakers are promoting the DVD already, saying they feel it is going to be incredible. Director Kels Goodman and his team have gone back to the drawing board and are working on a very full Handcart DVD Special Edition, with a new cut of the film to be offered on DVD and VHS.

A VERY SINGLES CHRISTMAS - "A Very Singles Christmas" is a Christmas-flavored CD done similarly to the "Singles Ward" CD. It can be ordered here:

Interestingly enough, actor Kirby Heyborne, the star of the upcoming feature film "The R.M." and one of the co-stars of "The Singles Ward," sings a track on the new "A Very Singles Christmas" CD. You can listen to samples from all the tracks online at the URL given below. Let me point out that this is a much more mellow CD than "The Singles Ward" soundtrack. Nobody is doing anything along the lines of "When Grandpa Comes to Town"... It's actually something very appropriate for Christmas... not at all headbanger stuff. These are songs you wouldn't be surprised to hear at a fireside. - P.H.

"Joy to the World" Majestic
"Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful" The Sugarland Run
"Silent Night" Jamen Brooks
"Once Within a Lowly Stable" Maya Shore
"Away in a Manger" Hale and Cath
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" Jerrytown
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" Ponchillo
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" Becky Jean Williams
"With Wondering Awe" The Debra Fotheringham Band
"Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains" Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband
"The First Noel" Sofina
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" Clay
"Stille Nacht" Sunfall Festival
"O Holy Night" The Rockmatics
"I Believe in Santa Claus" Kirby Heyborne

AMAZON SCREENING IN SAN JOSE - There is a special one-time-only screening of Amazon. This is the last of three IMAX Adventure Traveler Series events, co-developed with the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley. The screening will be at The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 S. Market St., San Jose, in the New Venture Hall and Hackworth Imax Dome Theater on Wednesday, December 11th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There will be complimentary hors d'oeuvres at the start of the evening. The IMAX film will show once after a brief presentation starting at 6:30 p.m. Prices: $20 for Tech Members or Commonwealth Club members, $25 for non-members. $10.00 for Students or Seniors (65+) For this event, we will be letting kids 12 and under in for Free. Register online at or call 1-800-847-7730, or call Kara Iwahashi at 408/351-3479.

* * *

IMAX MOVIES - Each week we compile and publish a list of feature films which are playing in commercial theaters and which were made by Latter-day Saints in above-the-line positions (writer, producer, director, composer, D.P., star). But only a small number of the currently-playing IMAX films show up in the box office data from the AC Nielsen EDI, primary reporting source for box office data. Also, these weekly reports are only for North American theaters.

For your information, here is a list of IMAX movies CURRENTLY PLAYING (in the United States and Canada, as well as anywhere else), which were made by Latter-day Saints. (All of the people named below -- directors, producers, cinematographers, etc. -- are Latter-day Saints.)

"Alamo: The Price of Freedom", produced, written and directed by Kieth Merrill, and photographed by Reed Smoot, is currently playing at the San Antonio IMAX Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.

Reed Smoot's concert film "All Access: Frontrow, Backstage, LIVE!" is currently playing in 4 theaters, including theaters in Johannesburg, South Africa and Natick, MA.

The Academy Award-nominated "Amazon," produced and directed by Kieth Merrill, edited by Stephen L. Johnson, with music by Alan Williams, is playing in 4 theaters, located in: Berlin, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (plus see the one-time screening in San Jose mentioned above)

Reed Smoot's "China: The Panda Adventure" is playing in 14 theaters, located in: Paris, France; Shanghai, China; Kitakyushu, Japan; Apple Valley, MN; Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; Detroit MI; Poitiers, France; Onitaka, Chiba, Japan; Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; St. Augustine FL; Kaigandori, Osaka, Japan; Syracuse NY.

Reed Smoot's "Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man" is playing in 18 theaters, located in: Berlin, Germany; Warsaw, Poland; Madrid, Spain; Kansas City MO; Birmingham AL; St. Louis MO; Dwingeloo, Netherlands; Sydney, Australia; Barcelona, Spain; Baltimore MD; Munich, Germany; Fort Lauderdale FL; Krakow, Poland; Pitea, Sweden; Boston MA; Paris France.

Reed Smoot's "Galapagos" is playing in 12 theaters, located in: Miami FL; Bochum, Germany; Sinsheim, Germany; Bangkok, Thailand; Warsaw, Poland; Brussels, Belgium; Quebec City, Quebec; Canada; Dettenbach, Germany; Munich, Germany; Washington DC; Fort Lauderdale FL.

"Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets", produced and directed by Kieth Merrill, is playing in 14 theaters, located in: Berlin, Germany; Nurmberg, Germany; Grand Canyon, AZ; Pretoria, South Africa; Nagano, Japan; Taejon, South Korea; Kagawa, Japan; Chiba, Japan; Tempe AZ; Munich, Germany; Speyer, Germany; Dettenbach, Germany; Beijing, China.

"The Great American West", directed by Reed Smoot, produced by Reed Smoot and Scott Swofford, with music by Kurt Bestor, is playing in 1 theater in Myrtle Beach SC.

"Hearst Castle: Building the Dream," directed by Bruce Neibaur, produced by Scott Swofford, scored by Sam Cardon and edited by Stephen L. Johnson, is playing at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center in San Simeon, California.

"India: Kingdom of the Tiger", directed by Bruce Neibaur, is in 8 theaters, located in: Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Waterloo (London), Great Britain; Orlando FL; Hull, Quebec, Canada; Taipei, Taiwan; Dettenbach, Germany; Cape Town, South Africa; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

"Island of the Sharks", scored by composer Alan Williams, is playing in 5 theaters, including theaters in: Shanghai, China; Bochum, Germany and Providence, Rhode Island.

Reed Smoot's IMAX film "Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees" is currently playing in 18 theaters, located in: St. Paul MN; Shreveport LA; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Charlotte NC; Raleigh NC; Stockholm, Sweden; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Copenhagen, Denmark; Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Tampa FL; Cleveland OH; Los Angeles CA; Detroit MI; Jersey City NJ; San Diego CA.

"Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa," scored by Alan Williams, is playing in 9 theaters, located in: Lucerne, Switzerland; Umhlanga Ridge, South Africa; Milwaukee WI; Omaha NE; Charlotte NC; Singapore; Phoenix AZ; New York NY; Indianapolis IN.

"Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West", directed by Bruce Neibaur, produced by Jeff T. Miller, photographed by T.C. Christensen, and scored by Sam Cardon, is playing in 26 theaters, including theaters in: Dearborn MI; San Antonio TX; St. Louis; Duluth MN; Jersey City NJ; West Yellowstone MT; Shreveport LA; Portland OR; Omaha NE; Milwaukee WI; Harrisburg PA; Little Rock AR; Boston MA; Branson MO; Lubbock TX; Kansas City MO; Atlanta GA; Memphis TN; Orlando FL; Davenport IA; San Diego CA; Mobile AL; Seattle WA; Washington DC; San Simeon CA; Sandy UT.

"Mark Twain's America," written and directed by Stephen Low and scored by Alan Williams, is playing in one theater in Huntsville, Alabama.

"Mysteries of Egypt," directed by Bruce Neibaur, produced by Scott Swofford and Richard W. James, scored by Sam Cardon with music conducted by Kurt Bestor, photographed by Reed Smoot, and edited by Stephen L. Johnson, is playing in 37 theaters, including theaters located in: Pitea, Sweden; Berlin, Germany; Aguascalientes, Mexico; Fort Lauderdale FL; Sacramento CA; Tulsa OK; Oakland CA; Salmiya, Kuwait; Corsicana TX; Frankfurt, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; Hampton VA; Pictureville, West Yorkshire, Great Britain; Sydney, Australia; Branson, MO; Beijing, China; Munich, Germany; Madrid, Spain; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; South Miami FL; Boston MA; Dallas TX; Dettenbach, Germany; Cape Town, South Africa; Berlin, Germany; Speyer, Germany; Milan, Italy; Manchester, Great Britain; Mumbai, India; Tempe AZ; Providence RI; San Jose CA; Norwalk CT; Harrisburg PA; Melbourne, Australia; Bournemouth, England.

"Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic", written, produced and directed by Kieth Merrill, is playing in 5 theaters, located in: Tianjin, China; Singapore; Nanchang, China; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; Oulun kaupunki, Finland.

"Ozarks: Legacy & Legend" (a.k.a. "The Fiddle"), written, produced and directed by Kieth Miller, produced by Jeff T. Miller and Kevin Cullimore, and photographed by T.C. Christensen, is playing in 1 theater: the Ozarks Discovery IMAX Theatre in Branson, Missouri.

"Polynesian Odyssey" was produced by the Polynesian Cultural Center, its chief venue. It was produced and directed by Kieth Merrill, co-produced by Scott Swofford, written by Ralph G. Rogers, Jr. and Kieth Merrill, scored by Merrill Jensen, and edited Stephen L. Johnson.

"Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure," produced by Scott Swofford, photographed by Reed Smoot, scored by Sam Cardon, and edited by Stephen L. Johnson, is playing in 22 theaters located in: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Columbus OH; Oklahoma City OK; The Hague, Netherlands; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; Kowloon, Hong Kong; Dearborn MI; Nagoya, Aichi, Japan; Boston MA; Minato-ku, Osaka, Japan; Berlin, Germany; Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; Bradford, West Yorkshire, Great Britain; Sydney, Australia; Melbourne, Australia; Penrith, Great Britain Raleigh NC; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris, France; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

"Special Effects: Anything Can Happen," photographed by Reed Smoot, is playing in 1 theater in Kurume-city, Fukuoka, Japan.

"The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd," written, produced, and director by Kieth Merrill, produced by Scott Swofford, scored by Merrill B. Jenson, photographed by T.C. Christensen, and starring Jeremy Elliott, Al Harrington, Marvin Payne, Rick Macy, Arianna Marsden, and others, is playing at the Legacy Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah and at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii.

Reed Smoot's "Ultimate X" (about extreme sports), is playing in 10 theaters located in: San Diego CA; Cape Town, South Africa; Pretoria, South Africa; Amneville, France; Berlin, Germany; Kansas City MO; Lehi, UT; Sydney, Australia; Bochum, Germany; Melbourne, Australia.

"Whales," scored by Sam Cardon, is playing in 6 theaters, located in: Cocoa FL; Bournemouth, England; Syracuse NY; Mobile AL; Los Angeles CA; Norwalk CT.

"Yellowstone," written, produced and directed by Kieth Merrill, and photographed by Reed Smoot, is playing in 2 theaters, located in Little Rock, Arkansas and in West Yellowstone, Montana.

"Zion Canyon: Treasure of the Gods," produced and directed by Kieth Merrill, produced by O. Douglas Memmott, and scored by Sam Cardon, is playing at the Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theater in Springdale, Utah.

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NEW LABUTE ARTICLE - A new Australian newspaper interview with Latter-day Saint filmmaker Neil LaBute includes illuminating excerpts, including: "LaBute, a devout Mormon, has paid spiritually for his art. After his Bash: Latter-Day Plays appeared on Showtime two years ago, the Mormon church was mortified by LaBute's portrayals of Mormons committing murder. The elders barred him from taking the sacrament and voting on church matters. LaBute, who lives in a Chicago suburb with his wife, Lisa, and two children, can still attend church, but the welcome mat seems slippery. 'More than just not writing about Mormons, they don't want me writing about anything that isn't uplifting or enlightening, and I'm having more trouble doing that,' he says. 'I have no agenda about writing for Mormons, and I haven't written a Mormon character since . . . That may come to more of a head down the road.' Asked if he was rethinking his affiliation, he answers, 'I don't question my faith at all. I question my place in the church.'" See the full article at:

LABUTE IN SUNDANCE - Neil LaBute's new movie "Shape of Things" is one of the most anticipated feature films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, which will take place Jan. 16th-26th. The festival was founded by Latter-day Saint filmmaker Sterling van Wagenen (a long-time BYU professor, now at the University of Central Florida in Orlando). "Shape" is the big screen adaptation of his successful stage play. "The Shape of Things" is not in competition at Sundance. LaBute previously won the Filmmakers Trophy award at Sundance for "In the Company of Men." This movie was also a big screen adaptation of a play written by him, a play he first staged at Brigham Young University. For the stage version, LaBute received the Association for Mormon Letters Award for Drama.

MORE SUNDANCE - "The United States of Leland", starring Latter-day Saint actor Ryan Gosling in title role as a sensitive juvenile who kills an autistic child, will premier at Sundance Film Festival in Jan. 2003. Gosling last year earned awards and rave reviews at Sundance for his turn as an Orthodox Jewish Nazi in the controversial feature film "The Believer." "The United States of Leland" will be in competition this year at Sundance.

Acclaimed actress Salma Hayek ("Frida"), marks her directorial debut at this year's Sundance with her new movie "The Maldonado Miracle," which will be part of the American Showcase. The movie was filmed entirely in Utah, and a number of the cast and crew are Utahns and/or Latter-day Saints. One of the main cast members is Latter-day Saint actor Frank Gerrish, recently seen as the construction foreman in Richard Dutcher's "Brigham City", as the cab driver in T.C. Christensen's "Bug Off!" and as the deli owner in Mark Goodman's "Someone Was Watching." Salt Lake native Dennis Saylor, a Utah-based actor, also has a part. Utahn Lawane Cole was the costume designer for "Maldonado."

Mormon director Matthew Barney's art film "Cremaster III" will be shown. This is the 5th installment in Barney's Cremaster series, following Cremaster 4 (1994), Cremaster 1 (1995), Cremaster 5 (1997), and Cremaster 2 (1999). (Yeah, they're not in order. We know.) Although not a Churchgoer, Barney has featured a number of Latter-day Saint images and motifs in his Cremaster movies, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, beehives, and historical Latter-day Saints. Barney, incidentally, is the father of Academy Award-nominated songwriter Bjork's baby Isadora, who was born in September 2002.

"The Same River Twice," a documentary by Robb Moss, will be competing at Sundance this year. The documentary should not be confused with "Same River Twice", a 1996 feature film directed by Scott Featherstone, made by an all-LDS cast and crew.

FLY BOYS FLY - Here's a great web page on an actor's website with 18 photographs from the production of "Fly Boys." "Fly Boys," now in production, is the upcoming theatrical debut of Latter-day Saint director Rocco Devilliers, the director of "Only Once" and "Pure Race."

UPCOMING FEATURE FILM SHOOT IN UTAH: THE GENESIS PROJECT - Frank E. Johnson (one of the chief directors of the TV series "Touched by an Angel") will be directing a feature film in Utah next spring. Title: The Genesis Project.

DONNY SINGS IN LAND BEFORE TIME IX - Donny Osmond sings the closing credits song in the 9th installment in the "Land Before Time" animated movie series. The original theatrically-released "Land Before Time" was directed by Latter-day Saint animation legend Don Bluth. Numbers 2, 3, and 4 were produced and directed by Roy Allen Smith (a native of Cedar City, Utah), and have grossed over $300 million as videos. The song is titled "No One Has to be Alone." In other news, Donny's newest album is titled "Somewhere in Time." The title is unintentionally ironic. There was a movie "Somewhere in Time," starring Christopher Reeve, in which Jane Seymour played a character based on the actress Maude Adams. Adams was a nationally beloved stage actress, the most famous Latter-day Saint entertainer in her time, just as Donny has been (and probably still is) the world's most famous Latter-day Saint entertainer of his time.

LDS AMERICAN IDOL - Steve Dunford, a returned missionary from Springville, Utah, stars in the 2nd season of the popular prime time series "American Idol." The new season premiers in January 2003.

MCCRACKEN AND THE USED - Bert McCracken, a non-churchgoing Latter-day Saint from Orem, Utah, is a singer with the rock group "The Used." He has been seen on the MTV reality TV show "The Osbournes" -- as the boyfriend of Ozzy's daughter Kelly -- and written up recently in Rolling Stone.

SUDDENLY UNEXPECTED COMPOSER - Brian Satterwhite (non-LDS) is the composer of the upcoming Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Suddenly Unexpected." It is not the first time the Texas-based composer has worked with Church members. He recently scored the short film "Still," starring Latter-day Saint actress Alaina Kalanj.

MISS LETTIE AND ME - Don't miss the TV movie "Miss Lettie and Me". It will premier on Sunday, December 8th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Standard Time. Encores will be that night at 10:00 p.m. and again at midnight, on Wednesday, Dec 11th at 9:00 p.m., Saturday December 14th at 10:00 p.m., Sunday December 15th, at 4:00 p.m. and again at midnight, and Saturday, December 21st at 12:30 p.m. The family-friendly movie features a musical score by Latter-day Saint composer Alan Williams.

WORK AND THE STORY MUSIC - Thomas C. Baggaley ( correspondent who studied under Jerry Goldsmith) and Marden Pond ("The Shadow of Light") are scheduled to begin working next week on the film score for the upcoming feature film "The Work and the Story," starring Richard Dutcher. Baggaley is currently finishing an underscore for the opening segment of Chris Heimerdinger's "Summer of the Nephites", which will be used to attract investors for the proposed feature-length film to be released a few months after Heimerdinger's book by the same title.

There's a particularly vicious rumor going around that film composer Thomas C. Baggaley may appear on screen in a brief cameo in the upcoming feature comedy "The Work and the Story." Other than that, we're really looking forward to this movie. Fortunately Richard Dutcher (one of the movie's stars) will have much more screen time. (Still, you might want to locate that "best cameo appearance" category on your Oscar ballots - just in case...)

ADD BAGGALEY CD - Film composer Thomas C. Baggaley's CD release "Spirit of the Sabbath: Music that Uplifts and Inspires" has been available at Deseret Book for some time now, and has finally been listed on the web site. The picture of the CD's cover and description of the CD are not yet on the order page, but should be there soon. In the meantime, if you've been waiting for the CD to be available outside of Utah, that day is finally here. "Spirit of the Sabbath" can be ordered at

Baggaley has been signing copies of the CD at various stores along the Wasatch Front and is next scheduled to appear at the Deseret Book stores in the Cottonwood Mall and Sugar House (both in the Salt Lake area) on December 21st.

LDS FILM FESTIVAL SEEKS SPONSORS - Matthew Fackrell, co-founder of the Eclipse Film Festival, has become a major board member of the LDS Film Festival as the rapidly growing event plans for its 3rd year. Excellent opportunities for corporate sponsors (at all levels of $) are now available for next year's LDS Film Festival. The 2002 event attracted over 1500 attendees and a major cross-section of the Who's Who among Utah and/or Latter-day Saint filmmakers.

LYDE TO FILM THE COLLECTORS - Director John Lyde ("The Field is White") is set to begin filming on the feature-length film "The Collectors," early in 2003. This fresh s.f. approach to the martial arts action genre has Kels Goodman (director of "Handcart") as its Director of Photography.

DUTCHER DIRECTOR'S WORKSHOP - Richard Dutcher will be teaching a master class at the AND ACTION Actor's Studio on Saturday, January 18th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. More information, including registration instructions can be found at See also for other classes and opportunities.

LAND OF NEPHI DOCUMENTARY PLANNED - David C. Asay, the producer of "Lehi's Land of First Inheritance" and "In Search of Ancient Cumorah", is now in pre-production on a new documentary: "The Land of Nephi." Filming begins in Guatemala on 26 December 2002. An early summer 2003 release on video is planned.

ALAIN KALANJ STARS - Here is some information written by Joe O'Connell about the upcoming feature film "Screen Door Jesus," starring Latter-day Saint actress Alaina Kalanj in the lead role. Kalanj, a member of the Dallas 1st Ward, most recently appeared in "Serving Sara," starring Matthew Perry. Her most recent calling was as a nursery teacher.

[QUOTE] Joining a remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" in production at the Austin Film Society's Austin Studios is "Screen Door Jesus," which began filming Thursday and continues for 23 days at the former Mueller airport and other locations including downtown Lockhart. Based on 10 short stories written by East Texas native Christopher Cook, "Screen Door Jesus" tells how religion impacts the lives of small-town people diverse in race and social class, said line producer Tom Herod. The stories are woven together a la Robert Altman films like "Short Cuts" and "Nashville." The title tale is based on the time an image of Jesus was said to have appeared on the screen door of a house in Port Neches. The response was so bizarre, so commercial and so massive, the owner took the screen door off and hid it. "It's poignant and funny with eccentric characters you'll find in a small East Texas town," Herod said. "I've been in this business for a while, and this is a film worth being made. It has a point to make, (is) fun to watch and funny." Kirk Davis is directing and adapted the stories for the screen, Sam Adelman, who worked on "The Legend of Bagger Vance," is producer-editor, and Dan Stoloff is director of photography, but much of the rest of the crew and cast is homegrown. Audiences may recognize veteran western actor Buck Taylor for roles in everything from "Gunsmoke" to Will Smith's version of "Wild, Wild West." Texas native Anjanette Comer also comes to the production with a long list of credits, including death-loving Aimee Thanatogenous in the 1965 comic masterpiece of the funeral industry (which amazingly remains out of print), "The Loved One." "Screen Door Jesus" is an interesting anomaly itself, with Cook's book publisher, Host Publications of Austin, financing production at a budget of under $3 million. [END QUOTE]

SCRIPTS REQUESTED - Here is some information for those of you who e-mail us about your scripts. Cheyenne at Lucid Dream Entertainment has asked to get the word out that her Director of Development is looking for scripts for film and television. (From a release from Lucid Dream Entertainment) - Lucid Dream Entertainment is looking for scripts for both film and TV. Lucid Dream Entertainment is a production company which has exclusive right with the largest film studio in Taiwan. We are currently looking for scripts in all genres. Scripts must have a female lead or supporting role in the 20 to 30 age range, with a budget of one million dollars or less. Financing is in place. Please submit a log line and or short synopsis (as text within the email, NOT as an attachment) to Julia at

GANGS OF NEW YORK - James Cruze, a Mormon director whose more than 60 films include the classic pioneer film "Covered Wagon" (1923), was also the director of "The Gangs of New York" (1938). "Gangs" starred Alan Baxter, Charles Bickford, Maurice Cass, Ann Dvorak and Jonathan Hale. "The Gangs of New York" should NOT be confused with a similarly-titled film, "Gangs of New York" (minus the word 'The'), which will be released this month, and was directed by Catholic director Martin Scorsese and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz.

TAKE A POLL, HELP A FILM STUDENT - Trevor Hill is a young Latter-day Saint film student who is completing his thesis about LDS film. He would like as many people as possible to complete a brief survey about the subject. The survey can be found at: