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

Weekend of April 1, 2005

Edited by: Thomas C. Baggaley (

[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
--- ---------------------------  ----------- ------ -------  ----
 8  The Upside of Anger            4,025,000 +222%   1,111     24
    Keri Russell (actress)         8,603,771        $3,623

16  Constantine                      491,498  -60%     610     45
    Allen Hall (SFX coordinator)  73,687,891          $806

17  Millions                         483,815   -1%     128     24
    LDS major characters:          1,578,559        $3,780
      3 LDS missionaries

40  Pooh's Heffalump Movie            71,364  +31%     248     52
    Ken Sansom (star: Rabbit)     18,013,938          $288

53  Bugs!                             36,657   -4%      20    752
    stars Papilio,                14,950,888        $1,832
      a Great Mormon butterfly

54  Lemony Snicket's A Series         34,455  -42%      68    108
      of Unfortunate Events      118,537,888          $507
    Brett Helquist (co-creator/
      book illustrator)

62  Saints and Soldiers               16,841  -55%      18    241
    Ryan Little                    1,240,613          $936
    Adam Abel (producer)
    Brian Brough
     (assoc. producer/produc. manager)
    Wynn Hougaard (editor)
    J Bateman (composer)
    Matt Whitaker (screenwriter)
    Jennifer Buster (casting)
    Actors: Corbin Allred, Larry Bagby III,
      Kirby Heyborne, Lincoln Hoppe,
      Curt Dousett, Ben Gourley,
      Ethan Vincent, etc.
    LDS main character: Deacon

69  The Work and the Glory            11,574  -34%      20    131
    Russ Holt (writer/director)    3,200,087          $579
    Gerald N. Lund (author)
    Scott Swofford (producer)
    T.C. Christensen (cinematographer)
    Sam Cardon (composer)
    Stephen L. Johnson (editor)
    Larry H. Miller (exec. producer)
    Jeff T. Miller (line producer)
    Supporting actors:
      Brighton Hertford,
      Sarah Darling, Ryan Wood
    John R. Uibel (production designer)
    Cathren Warner (costume designer)
    Edwin Matsu (makeup artist)
    Stephanie Scott (makeup artist)
    Laurie Vukich (assistant hair stylist)
    Heather Toone (2nd assistant director)
    LDS main characters

83  Sons of Provo                      4,934   +1%       5     59
    Will Swenson                      90,573          $987
      lead actor/songwriter)
    Peter D. Brown
    John Lyde, Stephen Rose
    John Shircliff (prod. designer)
    Anne Rose (costume designer)
    KC Blake (sound designer)
    Tyler Keegan
      (unit prod. manager/1st A.D.)
    Scott Hust (2nd A.D.)
    Robert Swenson (2nd 2nd A.D.)
    Spencer Barnes, Anna K. Findlay
      (make-up artists)
    Actors: Will Swenson, Kirby Heyborne,
      Danny Tarasevich, Jennifer Erekson,
      Peter D. Brown, Maureen Eastwood,
      Michael Birkeland, Alison Akin Clark,
      Jeremy Elliott, etc.
    LDS main characters

84  Galapagos                          4,303   +4%       2   1984
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)  14,748,824        $2,151

111 The Young Black Stallion           1,261  -32%       2    466
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   6,725,287          $631

OPEN AUDITIONS FOR LDS CINEMA FILM: PASSAGE TO ZARAHEMLA - Open Auditions for the film "Passage to Zarahemla" will take place in Salt Lake AND in St. George during the month of April. We encourage area actors to try out. THIS IS A NON-SAG PRODUCTION. A complete list of characters may be found at the link below. There may be a particular need for actors with a Hispanic, Native American, or Polynesian look, as it is the director's contention that Nephites, Lamanites, and Gadiantons would have had a similar racial appearance. Also, the two young leads in the movie--an 18-year old girl and an 11-year old boy--will have an appearance that is likely half Hispanic, half Caucasian. For exact try-out dates, "side" script readings for auditions, addresses for try-out locations, phone numbers to schedule audition times, and other critical information, go to:

Our casting director is Jennifer Buster, who also cast such productions as "Saints and Soldiers," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," and "Band of Brothers (on HBO)."

Many of the "side" readings that actors will use to audition for various characters may be hard to grasp out of context. Some lead characters are quite complex. I think those who have read (listened to) the book will have an advantage, but it's certainly not mandatory. Actors will be paid for their time during production. Casting is taking place relatively early in hopes that it will be possible to schedule rehearsals throughout the summer for various roles.

ALL THOSE WHO AUDITION SHOULD KEEP IN MIND THAT PRODUCTION IS ANTICIPATED TO TAKE PLACE IN SEPTEMBER 2005 IN THE ST. GEORGE AREA. Shooting will be 4-5 weeks. If you foresee conflicts with school, or other events, please DON'T AUDITION. More details on all this are explained on the website. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY.

Hard to believe the time has finally come. We're off and running.

Chris Heimerdinger

* * *

SAINTS AND SOLDIERS MOVING UP - This week "Saints and Soldiers" continued its impressive run of late, for the second weekend in a row outperforming "The Work and the Glory" although the latter film played in more theaters. S&S is now just over $10,000 short of passing "The Singles Ward" for the #5 spot for box office gross among LDS Cinema films. Meanwhile, although it's been apparent for some time that "The Work and the Glory" will probably not catch "The Other Side of Heaven" for the #1 spot, especially in light of its upcoming release on DVD at the beginning of May, this week marks the first time in its theatrical run that the film's theatrical gross actually fell behind the "OSOH's" performance through the same number of weeks. Due largely to the fact that OSOH received a all-at-once nationwide release, playing in 306 theaters in its 18th week - which is few compared to a typical Hollywood release but still nearly three times as many theaters as any other LDS Cinema film has played in a single week - after its 19th weekend in theaters, OSOH had grossed $3,538,066 theatrically, which so far (after 19 weekends) WATG has "only" grossed $3,200,087. Up to this point, WATG had been outperforming OSOH's corresponding box office total, but from all indications, WATG has already received its widest distribution, so box office spikes like the one OSOH experienced are very unlikely. OSOH, of course, went on to finish its nearly year-long theatrical run grossing over $4.7 million, a record no other LDS Cinema film has even come close to matching.

It is interesting to note that "The Work and the Glory" has not come close to having the kind of exposure that "The Other Side of Heaven" received. In fact, in terms of theater-weeks (one week playing on one screen = one theater-week) "The Work and the Glory" has barely played on as many screens as "God's Army" did during its theatrical run. "The Other Side of Heaven" played an estimated 1,588 theater-weeks while "God's Army" played about 861 and "The Work and the Glory" has played about 854 so far. Interestingly enough, among LDS Cinema films, "Saints and Soldiers" comes a distant fourth having screened about 494 theater-weeks.


1. The Other Side of Heaven - 1,588
2. God's Army - 861
3. The Work and the Glory - 854 *still in theaters*
4. Saints and Soldiers - 494 *still in theaters*
5. The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1: The Journey - 485
6. Brigham City - 453
7. Charly - 438
8. The Singles Ward - 428
9. The Best Two Years - 419
10. The R.M. - 390

BRO. KIETH MERRILL CLARIFIES BOX OFFICE DATA - Academy-award winner Kieth Merrill has sent us a very compelling response to one of the box office charts that we posted in our box office report last week - the one ranking the LDS Cinema films according the ratio of box office gross to production budget. Such numbers, of course, were never intended to represent the profitability of any of these films, since they entirely ignore some of the costs associated with a theatrical release such as P&A as well as the various ways a "box office gross" gets divided up between the theater, the distributor and the production company, and it is hoped that no Latter-day Saint filmmaker would dishonestly represent them as such to any potential investor. Kieth makes a good point that we should have included some clarification with our chart. We simply see the ranking as an interesting way to compare the films and perhaps the beginning point for a discussion about LDS Cinema. Until such time - if it EVER happens - that production and distribution companies are more willing to share a bigger, more realistic portion of their financial information for the health of LDS Cinema and the industry as a whole (even if such numbers are not made available to the general public but are shared privately with an entity like or some other Latter-day Saint Film Professionals Network to use as a resource for better informing industry members) we will NEVER really know about the financial health of the various LDS Cinema productions and LDS Cinema in general (unless, of course, LDS Cinema films stop getting made, in which case we can be pretty sure of its lack of financial health). We are occasionally approached by people who ask us if such-and-such film has broken even or made a profit, and we've heard rumors or even had people associated with those films tell us yea or nay without backing it up with any real data, but the fact remains that until more real numbers are made available, any guesses we made about the profitability of any productions would be just that - guesses. Still, will continue to post whatever information becomes available for public consumption and we will continue our research efforts including the financial research we are constantly performing in our effort to support Latter-day Saint filmmakers in their endeavors.


Your efforts to keep us all informed and up to date at LDSFILM.COM is greatly appreciated. I was with an LDS filmmaker last night. As we talked it became apparent that he -- as most of us do -- refers regularly to your excellent site and timely information. Once again. KUDOS. Much appreciated.

One suggestion for you to consider. Since I presume your "Box Office Gross" numbers are in fact "Gross" (the total sale of tickets) and not "Rentals" (the amount actually received by distributors) it would be useful and certainly much more telling if your statistical report included "Rentals".

Because Book of Mormon Movie Vol I for example earned 1.1 times the production budget based on Gross Box Office and assuming that they negotiated a typical 50/50 split with theaters the actual "Rental Income" from the film would be only slightly more than half the production budget less of course the heavy cost of P&A (prints and advertising) and distribution fees.

I understand that you did not intent the summary to be a measure of a film's profit, but simply a reflection of the relationship between the film's box office total and the amount spent producing it as a comparison between films. Whether ratios can measure "bang for the production buck" or not is another question.

Since your numbers are surely used to persuade new folks to put money into LDS movies I believe that in fairness to "potential investors" it would be a good idea if you expanded your reports to include "Rentals" as well as "Gross" and take into account P&A [Prints and Advertising] and distributions fees.

At some point of course - if you are able to use the clout of LDSFILM.COM to obtain the information - it would be valuable for the rising community of LDS filmmakers and investors alike to see a more realistic economic picture of the business and the typical break down of a dollar spent at the box office.

I am often asked why I haven't thrown my proverbial hat into the ring of "Mormon Cinema". There is one simple reason. I am unwilling to ask investors for money based on a model that so far shows low probability of serious profitability. [Single's Ward and God's Army notwithstanding]

I have included a short summary of how a buck at the box office typically breaks down and what portion of it eventually finds it's way back to investors.

Companies like Halestorm, Zion Films and others that both produce and distribute their own films don't follow this model precisely but unless the world of LDS Cinema has discovered a whole new set of movie economics [what would that be called? "movie mormonomics"] the typical break down of the box office buck is as follows:

Average Ticket = $8.00
Theater Share 50/50 split = $4.00
Distributor "Rental Income" = $4.00
Distribution fee @ 30% of rentals = $1.20
P&A allocation = $60.00
Return to Production Company on each ticket = $2.20. (27.5%)
Box office gross required to "break even" on each 1,000,000 = $3,630,000.
Typical ratio Box Office Gross to Break Even = 3.5:1.
Typical split following Break Even
Investors = 50%
Production Company = 50%

The 3.5:1 Box Office Gross to Break Even is a well-established reality in the motion picture industry. If LDS Cinema has escaped that reality or seriously improved the numbers it would be of interest to your readers. Otherwise it would be useful to make sure people unfamiliar with film business terminology clearly understand that a film with a box office gross exceeding its cost can still loose money for investors. All eyes shift to DVDs.

Fortunately income from theaters is not the only source of pay back and profit. It seems apparent that the economic optimism prompting investors to speculate in Mormon Cinema is based on the presumed potential for long-term DVD sales.

Industry-wide DVD has become a significant source of income generating as much as 56% of total revenue for popular films. Once or twice a year it would be most helpful if LDSFILMS.COM could post the total summary of revenue from all sources, adjusted for rental, P&A, and distribution for the leading LDS films.

I appreciate that the competitive spirit among LDS filmmakers and distributors may prompt them to keep their numbers sacrosanct but if the Mormon movie business is to grow and get better -- as we all hope that it can -- at some point the hard economic facts of the winners and the losers from a financial stand point needs to be available to continually attract the level of sophisticated investors required to fuel the fires.

Thanks for all you do.


'WORK AND THE GLORY' TWO AND THREE PLANNED; TO BE DIRECTED BY STERLING VAN WAGENEN - This is interesting news... that Bro. Van Wagenen will helm the next 2 "Work and the Glory" pics. I have personally seen Van Wagenen's only theatrical release: "Alan and Naomi," and it is very impressive filmmaking, indeed. It is, in fact, one of the best reviewed feature films by an LDS filmmaker released during the last 2 decades. Van Wagenen was the founder of the Sundance Film Festival, one of the most important annual events in the world of film, and he is currently the dean of the film school at the University of Central Florida. His excellent "Christmas Snows, Christmas Winds" is a short film that you have probably all seen.




STERLING VAN WAGENEN CAPSULE BIO - Most Latter-day Saints in the film industry already know about Brother Van Wagenen, but for those readers only familiar with the most recent of LDS film history, here's his capsule bio from

Latter-day Saint. Also credited as: Sterling VanWagenen. Director of "Alan and Naomi" (1992), which won the Crystal Heart Award at the Heartland Film Festival. Producer of "The Trip to Bountiful" (1985), for which Geraldine Page won the Best Actress Academy Award, and which was nominated for a Best Screenplay Academy Award. Producer of the TV movie "The Witching of Ben Wagner" (1987). Producer of the documentary "The Faith of an Observer: Conversations with Hugh Nibley" (1985), made at BYU. Writer/director of the Discovery channel documentary "The Haunted Desert: Archaelogy and the Dead Sea Scrolls" (2001). Director of the PBS special "Christmas Snows, Christmas Winds" (1978). Co-founder of Sundance Film Festival. Director of film school at the University of Central Florida in Orlando (UCF). Formerly taught at Brigham Young University. Executive producer of PBS documentary "Helen Foster Snow: My China Years (2000) and the PBS version of Elizabeth Hansen's play "Eliza and I" (1997), directed by Richard Dutcher. Producer of other films, including: Convicts (1991); Innovators (2000); Secrets of the Pharaohs: A Quest for DNA (Discovery Channel).

Bio from faculty page at UCF ( Mr. Van Wagenen came to UCF in August, 1999 from Brigham Young University where he was an Adjunct Professor of Film and the manager of the university's TV group. He has been in the independent film movement for over twenty years and is the co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival in association with Robert Redford, along with being the founding executive director of the Sundance Institute. While at Sundance, he produced films such as El Norte, Desert Bloom, Promised Land, Belazaire The Cajun, and Waiting for the Moon. His film, The Trip to Bountiful, won an Academy Award for Best Actress Geraldine Page) and Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay Adapted From Another Medium. This same film won a Luminas Award and Retirement Research Foundation Owl Award. Another one of his films, Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven, which he co-produced with Robert Redford, won Blue Ribbon at the American Film and Video Festival and Best Environment Film at the Banff Film Festival. Currently, Mr. Van Wagenen is the producer-director of The Archeology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a 60-minute documentary for the Discovery Channel. He is also the executive producer for Kids in History which is three feature length, dramatic projects in development for PBS. Additionally, Mr. Van Wagenen is co-producing a six-part series, The Call of Stories, for KBYU-TV and PBS. He is the executive producer of Innovators which is a national concert special for PBS, narrated by Patrick Stewart.


"What is it, Nathan?" asks the teenage girl breathlessly as her older brother hands her a heavy tome. "It's the Book of Mormon," he responds. "Does it have any pictures?" she wants to know.

Apparently not, otherwise there might not be a need for the handsomely mounted but awfully bland "The Work and the Glory," a tract for the Church of Latter Day Saints disguised as a Hallmark Hall of Fame-style movie. Would this movie be receiving a Boston-area release if our state governor weren't a practicing Mormon? Probably not; earnest and credulous, "Work" is aimed at true believers rather than the spiritually curious, and it offers even less for fans of compelling drama.

Based on the first novel in an eight-volume saga by LDS author Gerald N. Lund, "Work" is a period film set in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1826. "The Passion of Joseph Smith" this isn't, though. Rather, the story focuses on the Steeds, a homesteader family whose patriarch (Sam Hennings) hires the two young Smith brothers, Joseph (Jonathan Scarfe) and Hyrum (Ryan Wood), to help out around the farm. Soon Joseph is reluctantly telling the Steed boys about his heavenly visitation and the angels' promise of a golden Bible.

The reaction is, as you might expect, mixed. Older brother Joshua (Eric Johnson) scoffs at the revelations and falls in with local miscreants plotting to steal the gold plates, should they ever show up. Kid brother Nathan (Alexander Carroll), by contrast, sees the light, and most of "The Work and the Glory" deals with how he comes to terms with his new faith despite resistance all around. "Joseph does have a sacred record, and he is translating it through the power of God," Nathan insists, but his father dismisses such protestations as "crazy talk," and the good folk of Palmyra taunt the Smiths and their followers. "All you fine Christian people," explodes Nathan in a street corner confrontation. "Is this what you teach on Sunday? Bigotry?"

Clearly, "The Work and the Glory" wants to frame its argument as a plea for religious tolerance, and that's all to the good (although it might be noted that, as in most films made by the devout, there's only one religion asking to be tolerated here). To its credit, the movie is openhearted and never sanctimonious, and for Mormons, the movie will doubtless be seen as a well-produced and welcome drama of the founding of their faith.

For others, writer-director Russ Holt's film may seem a cliched, sometimes unintentionally hilarious Classics Illustrated version of events. The dialogue is wooden and often anachronistic -- "Part of me says this is incredible. God appearing to a 14-year-old? Sorry" -- and the players come across as modern TV actors in well-pressed 19th-century outfits. The worst offender is Tiffany Dupont as Lydia, the pretty shopkeeper's daughter torn between Joshua's sex appeal and Nathan's God-fearing decency. The actress gives it her all but, sadly, there doesn't seem to be that much to give, and, worse, she seems far more 2005 Burbank than 1826 Palmyra.

"The Work and the Glory" is resolutely upbeat, and it leaves off as Smith and his flock are establishing their church in Fayette, N.Y. -- not for this movie the wandering, the martyrdom, or Brigham Young. But there are seven more Lund books to go, a receptive LDS audience, and a divinely inspired filmmaker. A little cinematic inspiration wouldn't hurt next time, though.

HIGH MARKS FOR BOYLE'S "MILLIONS", W/LDS MISSIONARIES A MAJOR SUBPLOT - "Millions" manages to poke gentle fun at ineffectual neighborhood watch groups and conspicuously consuming Mormon missionaries, while never losing its sense of wonder at the good in people like Damian.


LDS CINEMA FILM "MIND THE GAP" CHANGES TITLE TO "PICCADILLY COWBOY" - Preston's notes: A couple months ago an independent film opened in the U.S. titled "Mind the Gap". I remember thinking that this will be a real pain in the neck for the guys over in England working on the LDS film "Mind the Gap," because the title was EXACTLY THE SAME. The non-LDS "Mind the Gap" is a lame, derivative R-rated romantic comedy set in New York. It was directed by Eric Schaeffer who hasn't directed anything you've heard of, but, coincidently enough, had a small part in the movie "One Night at McCool's," which features Andrew Dice Clay as a couple of Mormon characters.

Anyway, to avoid being confused with Schaeffer's non-LDS "Mind the Gap", the LDS "Mind the Gap" has changed its working title to "Piccadilly Cowboy", although I don't know if it will be released under that title. This IS an LDS Cinema film, featuring devout LDS characters and made by LDS filmmakers and actors. The big difference is this movie is set in England and is made mostly by British Latter-day Saints. That's definitely something we haven't seen before in LDS Cinema. The movie will have some familiar faces, however, including none other than the totally awesome actor Jaelan Petrie, the male lead in the film. Petrie was also the lead in the LDS Cinema film "Handcart" and the cool indie sci-fi flick "Missy." I've seen a couple of scenes from a rough cut of this film and it looks like it will be very funny. We'll keep you posted as the film approaches final release.

For further details about the movie see the Ford Films website

RICK SCHRODER, LDS ACTOR/DIRECTOR, INTERVIEWED BY HOWARD STERN - WARNING: Listen, folks, you all know who Howard Stern is. His radio show is largely about being as offensive as possible. So here's a Salt Lake Tribune report about LDS actor/director Rick Schroder's appearance on the Howard Stern show. Interesting article about Bro. Schroder, but Stern was obnoxious and intentionally offensive, which should not come as a shock. See

Here are some additional notes from a Latter-day Saint filmmaker and subscriber who caught a bit of the interview, but shall remain nameless (AND IT WASN'T EITHER OF US!!!):

I saw some parts of this interview on TV while flipping through channels and Rick Schroder caught my eye. I've been really interested in what he has to say about the church. The thing that was so cool about him is that he didn't try to fight Howard Stern on anything; he just went along with it and sort of laughed him off. Too many times people get angry and start fighting with people and it just gets you in a deeper hole. Stern seemed to really like Rick Schroder and respected him more for NOT arguing about things.

LDS CINEMA SUPERSTAR KIRBY HEYBORNE TAKES HIS CONTROVERSIAL NEW PROJECT STRAIGHT TO THE FANS - Film and music critics nationwide should be warring over Heyborne's new move: Can a man be BOTH musician AND actor? Is Kirby Heyborne the new Will Smith? The next Barbra Streisand? Was Frank Sinatra's acting as good as his singing? Is Kirby's? Was that REALLY Kirby Heyborne in "Saints and Soldiers", or was it a British look-alike?

Kirby Heyborne was in Utah this week to promote his new CD "Inside." The album contains eleven original songs written and performed by the star of such films as "The Best Two Years," "Saints and Soldiers" and "The R.M." Kirby's musical style can be best described as alternative pop with intricate rhythmic guitars and warm vocals. He recently showed off his musical talent in the film "Sons of Provo," in which he plays a member of a Mormon boy band.

Kirby's schedule included live performances on Friday and Saturday at Media Play, Deseret Book, BYU and the LDS Conference Dance at the South Towne Expo Center. He will also be a guest on KSL's Doug Wright Show on Friday morning. Kirby's CD is available in most local bookstores and music outlets, including Deseret Book, Media Play, Borders, Hastings, and Seagull Book and Tape.

"I'm very excited to have my first solo album finally released. I love music, and I love playing music, especially in front of an audience," says Kirby Heyborne, who wanted to come out with a music album for several years now. "This is a dream come true, and I'm happy to return to my artistic roots. Music is definitely my first love."

Kirby got interested in music when he was 15. He played in local bands like Shasta Daisy and Bentleigh, which had a good following in Utah and Idaho. With Bentleigh, Kirby opened for N'Sync at the Olympic Medals Plaza during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games. He also did a cover version of the hymn "Hie to Kolob" for the R.M. soundtrack. Recently, Kirby wrote the song "Beautiful Inside" for the comedy "Sons of Provo," and performed as a member of the fictional boy band Everclean on the soundtrack and in the film. His album "Inside" is a more personal expression of his musical talent.


PROTESTANTS REJECTING MORMON-HELMED 'VOLCANOES' IMAX - The "conservative Christians" who are objecting to the IMAX film "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" are not even aware that director Stephen Low is a Mormon. They simply don't like its mention of evolution. Low is not known to be a regular churchgoer at this time, but he has pointed out in recent interviews that he was raised in an active Latter-day Saint home. Stephen Low, a Canadian IMAX veteran, is the son of Mormon filmmaker Colin Low, one of Canada's most celebrated documentary filmmakers, and an IMAX pioneer. The elder Low received two Academy Award nominations during his prolific career, but at the age of 79 the Cardston, Alberta native is now largely retired from film directing.



MORMON FILMMAKER STEPHEN LOW DISCUSSES HIS OWN RELIGIOUS FAITH, IN LIGHT OF ATTACKS ON HIS VOLCANOS DOCUMENTARY - Mr. Low said that arguments over religion and science disturbed him because of his own religious faith. In his view, he said, science is "a celebration of what nature or God has done. So for me, there's no conflict."




SUCCESS OF LATTER-DAY SAINT TEENAGERS NOTED ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE - Saturday Night Live 19 March 2005. 52 minutes into the episode. SNL's "Weekend Update": Tina Fey: "According to a new study, Mormon teenagers fare better than regular teenagers when it comes to staying out of trouble and doing well in school. Although, you would too If you had eight moms yelling at you."

See the image at

Some other "Saturday Night Live" LDS references, and some other TV series references are listed here:

(Yes, we are working on a report for the recent "Law & Order" reference to Joseph Smith.)

BYU-HAWAII FILM FESTIVAL SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 8, 2005 - Young LDS filmmaker Mike Schaefer is heading up a film festival at BYU Hawaii called the Sugar Cane Film Festival. It is a festival for students and community. This is the first year to have one out there. It will be on April 8th 2005. So far there are about 10 entries, and we are expecting more, most of which come from students!

More details to follow.

PRETERNATURALLY PROLIFIC LDS FILMMAKER JOHN LYDE FILES THIS UPDATE ABOUT UPCOMING MOVIES - John Lyde: I haven't written to you for awhile and thought I would fill you in on what I've been working on. I just finished editing Mobsters and Mormons last week. It isn't the final version, but close. It tested really well with test audiences. I think both Mormons and Non-Mormons will find it really entertaining. One aspect that really sets it apart from other LDS films is the acting. Casting the leads out of California was a great move. You can really tell the difference in the movie between the professional and non-professional actors. A couple local actors held up well in comparison to the LA actors. Scott Christopher, Jan felt and Jeneatte Puhich were standouts.

Missionary: Impossible is still going to happen, but is being pushed back to the fall because of my involement in Church Ball which starts filming in May. Everything is set up to finish filming the first episode of Youth of Zion in April. It will be available at the LDS booksellers convention in August. The weather is finally nice enough to shoot the thing. In my spare time over the past month I have been shooting an action-horror film with Adam Abram. He is going into the army in April and this is our last chance to make a film together. I'll have to send you more information on this one later. It is actaually turning out to be an effective and scary film. It should be around 80 minutes long. It stars Adam Abram, Jenna Lisonbee, RaeAnn Christensen, Jamie Rosquist, Sarah Bell and Oleysa Rulin. The cast is quite attractive.

Take a Chance is going to shoot in July. The cast is Corbin Allred, Kirby Heyborne, KC Clyde, RaeAnn Christensen, Lara Scwartzberg, Carrie Stringfellow, Frank Gerrish, Sheryl Wilson, Caitlin Meyer and Bobby Swenson.

What I really want to do this year is film the sequel to The Field is White. I have a pretty detailed treatment. It is called Already to Harvest and would be over 60 minutes long. I think I am going to shoot it in the same fashion of the first film (no money) but now I have much better equipment and I will pay for actors this time.

All I can say is - I love filmmaking. Feel free to post any of this information.

John Lyde

MORMON BROADWAY SINGER KLEA BLACKHURST'S SHOW IS ABOUT ETHEL MERMAN - Klea Blackhurst is not currently an churchgoer, but she has talked to interviewers many times about her LDS family and background, and she played an active LDS mom in the 2002 short film "Andy across the Water."

For more information, see Klea Blackhurst's official website at

By the way, the article we passed on about Klea Blackhurst can be found here:

UTAH JAZZ OWNER LARRY H. MILLER FUNDING 26-VOL. JOSEPH SMITH PROJECT - This article was interesting to me for a couple of reasons. It should be made clear that this 26-volume project means 26 BOOKS, not 26 films. But the article mentions the news we noted last week, that Bro. Miller announced he will proceed with funding two sequels to "The Work and the Glory" movie, these ones to be directed by critically acclaimed LDS director Sterling Van Wagenen. Bro. Miller was also the main person who funded Richard Dutcher's "Brigham City" and his upcoming biopic about the prophet Joseph Smith - not yet in principle photography, and Dutcher's "God's Army 2: States of Grace" as well (already filmed, release slated for later this year).

We also found the article interesting because the historian announcing the project, and apparently the project's chief historian, is Preston's old home teaching partner Ron Esplin. Preston notes: I know for a fact that Bro. Esplin knows his stuff, because as a teenager I recall how we regularly visited the son of one of the Apostles, and their discussions about Church history were so far over my head I never knew what they were talking about. But Bro. Esplin was a great example of faithful home teacher... Although I don't recall that family having any particular problems we could help them with.



DISCUSSION: RE: JOE PUENTE'S THOUGHTS ON FILTERING AND CENSORSHIP - subscriber Yvonne Aston responds to Bro. Joseph Puente's comments about LDS-created DVD localization technology, which is currently moving toward federal protection as part of a congressional bill.:

I agree that parents need to be more involved in what their children read, listen to and watch. In a recent sacrament talk a sister said 'Would you drag a complete stranger in off the street to teach your children'. She likened that scenario to unmonitored TV, video and DVD watching.

It's true, we need to be aware. Even without swear words and sex scenes some productions project an entirely unacceptable ethos, take away the sensational bits but the underlying message will still remain. So, I agree with Joe Puente that for family viewing or reading a parent's attention is the best form of filtering.

The problem is that so many people do not know what they are watching or reading. Take a daily newspaper, which most of us do. Are we aware that papers have their own view on on politics and events and portray everythig in a way slanted towards the preferences of the editor or proprietor. You can read two newspapers reporting on the same happenings and come away with two opposite recountings.

Be aware that your opinions are being manipulated.

Do you read novels? It's the same scenario. You take in the colouraton of the author and maybe that colouration is on the grey side of white. Take note of what you read for entertainment, make sure that the drift of the story isn't one that you would abandon if you knew in what direction you were being gently steered.

It is all very well trying to protect our children but we need to protect ourselves too. We need to be vigilant; not to discard books and films because of some critic's arbitrary rating but because we know that what is being served up to us is able to make us mentally and spiritually sick as well as to make us stronger and more knowledgeable.

My mother used to say that books in particular were like visitors in our minds. Some visitors leave behind laughter and a sweet smell. Others could do with bathing more often and yet others will bring us gifts to enhance our lives and expand our horizons.

Yvonne Aston
Jersey Channel Islands UK.

DISCUSSION: CLEARPLAY, CLEANFLIX PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE PRESENTATION, DO NOT ALTER COPYRIGHTED WORK - LDS feature film CGI animator Justin Barrett responds to a part of what Bro. Joseph Puente wrote about LDS-made DVD family-friendly localization technologies:

Joseph Puente wrote:

But this same bill is also designed to protect companies like ClearPlay who are developing and marketing technology to ALTER the copyrighted creative works of others.
I don't know how many times I've seen statements such as this, and for the life of me I still can't see the logic in it. The way I understand it, technology made by companies like ClearPlay and CleanFlix don't alter a thing about a copyrighted work. They merely alter the presentation of that work. There's a difference there that people don't seem to acknowledge.

Nobody complains about the fact that most DVDs are authored with chapter-selection features, allowing you to skip to any part of the presentation that you wish. If I start watching a movie in the middle, I'm essentially viewing a derivative work of the original material. So why haven't I been thrown in jail for breaking the copyright law? Or better yet, why is nobody up in arms about these chapter-selection options?

Why haven't I been slapped with a lawsuit for fast-forwarding through part of a movie? Or turning off the picture and only listening to the soundtrack? Or muting the sound and only watching the picture? Or stepping through the movie a frame at a time? These are all presenting me with derivative works, so why isn't it illegal? It's because I'm only altering the presentation of the work, not the work itself. But suddenly when technology is created that basically chooses our skipping/muting/fast-forwarding for us, it's an outrage. Why?

People around the world have been using manual controls to alter the presentation of copyrighted works for decades, and so far nobody has said a word about it. Why should this new technology be seen any differently?

Justin Barrett

Webmaster: Another thing that should be pointed out once again: A Latter-day Saint (Philo Farnsworth) invented television. Latter-day Saint computer scientists and engineers at BYU and the University of Utah invented CD/DVD technology. So how can Hollywood directors criticize us for modifying how our OWN CREATIONS are used, all in the name of preventing people from modifying how THEIR creations are used?]


Subject : Re: DISC: ClearPlay, CleanFlix provide alternative presentation, do NOT alter...

I have to agree with Justin on this one.

For me, when you buy something--it's like--what does it matter what you do with it? You paid for it. Done.

If I want to buy a novel and rearrange the chapters for convenience or rip out some pages, who cares?

As a musician, there are tons of options I can choose from for dissecting a well known copyrighted song and I could cut it up into pieces, make a new mix, add my own harmonies or vocals or my own MIDI pieces and so forth and as long as I am not selling it for money, it really shouldn't matter.

The same applies to Clearplay or whatever it is and movie filters. You buy or rent the movie and they get their money, who cares what else you do with it? The movie is not being damaged.

I think it is a good idea. And I hope the law passes. Parents should be the ones doing the filtering and monitoring, but they may not always be around and they don'/t want their kids to hear all the crud or see all the crud. They get enough of that junk at school and on cable or sattellite tv and on the radio, as is.

In a single day, I could be bomarded 50 times, maybe a 100 or more about sexual references from tv or radio, just flipping through channels and that's not even searching for it. And that's not even counting how often we are tempted on the side--mentally, by our adversary.

Let the home be a refuge for children and parents, where they at least have an alternative sense of decency and kids have something to compare and contrast with the worlds views.

Also, as noted--much of the technology for entertainment has come through LDS people. Filo Farnsworth never even got sufficient respect or his dues as far as I know. Who profited? It was RCA I think. Farnsworth laid the groundwork though. It would be interesting if someone had a list of all the notable LDS inventors, etc..

God has granted us technology and inspiration no only for fun, but yes--to further the gospel. Airplanes, sattelitte tv, on and on... :)

DISCUSSION: MORE RESPONSE TO BRO. PUENTE'S "HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TO" COMMENTARY - subscriber Mick Raton wrote in response to Joseph Puente's previous comments:

Piracy has traditionally been defined as robbery committed on the high seas.

Only in the past few years has it been applied to the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material, in an obvious effort by the country's huge media conglomerates to influence public perception. I've never agreed that downloading an mp3 file is the moral equivalent of plundering an ocean-going vessel, so I've avoided using the word piracy up to now. Still, there is some ambiguity as to whether copying songs and movies is ethical, especially given the "honest in all your dealings" temple recommend interview question. Is it ok to make a VHS tape of a TV show? Is it all right to download songs from peer-to-peer networks? Can I make mp3 copies of my CD collection to transfer to my iPod? And so on. The answers to questions like these are neither easy nor obvious, at least to people like me. Apparently, however, Joe Puente knows better.

Joe thinks we downloaders are pirates in need of punishment ("I'm all for stiffer penalties for piracy.") I assume he's referring to copying songs and movies, rather than crimes committed somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. (Or maybe he's only talking about people who download songs while aboard ships on the ocean?)

Anyway, what really blows my mind is how Joe contends that allowing ClearPlay to edit movies is like saying to an artist, "we won't protect your right to express yourself." What? You mean if I watch a TV-edited version of Titanic, James Cameron has somehow lost his right to express himself?

Try as I may, I fail to see any logic here.

Even worse is Joe's suggestion that when I sit down with my kids and watch our TV-edited version of Titanic, devoid of the sex, nudity, and profanity that were abundant in the original, and then afterwards I discuss the film with my children and we talk about what we liked artistically in the film and we discuss the actual history of that great sunken ship (were there any pirates on board, I wonder?), I'm somehow being a lazy (in capital letters!) and irresponsible parent! I'm somehow "leaving the decision-making up to technology." What?

Joe goes on to say that "parents don't need special sanitizing DVD-players or 'edited' versions of movies to choose from." Instead, we simply need to have the backbone (again in capital letters) to "stand up and say, 'I don't have to watch this and neither do my children.'" Well, duh. It's not like we think we're somehow being forced to watch a show like Titanic. We choose to watch it; we want to watch it. But why bring all of the so-called realism (swearing, sexuality, violence, etc.) into our living room if we don't have to? Just because those things are sometimes a part of real life doesn't mean I should be compelled to have to either (a) completely avoid a huge number of excellent films or (b) sit through them without removing their most offensive parts. Realism isn't the end-all. After all, human fecal matter is certainly "realism," but that doesn't mean I'm going to prominently display a pile of fresh poop on the coffee table in my living room!

Joe argues that buying edited videos and DVDs is akin to "letting other people do your thinking for you." Again, the implication is that if you force yourself to either (a) watch only G-rated stuff or (b) subject yourself to the extensive sex and profanity in movies like Titanic, then at least you're not letting someone else think for you. What? And then Joe lays out the "simplest and most inexpensive solution," which (yet again) is essentially to either not watch movies at all or to watch only those things which you are "mature enough to handle." Apparently, the more mature you are, the more filth you can and should choose for your entertainment and edification. Perhaps Joe is mature enough to watch xxx-rated features? Or does that require an even higher level of maturity?

It's ludicrous, illogical and irresponsible to argue that parents shouldn't be allowed to edit movies they bought and paid for. It's like saying you should never rip a page out of a magazine, or you should never be allowed to listen to a CD unless you listen to the whole thing in order and without skipping any songs, just as the creator and copyright holder intended. If you fast forward past songs you don't like, you're infringing on his copyright; you're not allowing him to express himself artistically. Come on! Get real! It sounds almost as if Joe believes that the movies and CDs in my home don't actually belong to me, but to the people who own their copyrights. As if I should only be allowed to experience something artistically if I do it exactly as the originator intended, regardless of my personal preferences. And, to add insult to injury, it's up to the government to enforce this ridiculous standard, at least in Joe Puente's perfect world. Heaven help us!

With all due respect to Joe as a filmmaker and as my brother in the gospel of Christ, I have to say that I could not more strongly disagree with his "have your cake and eat it too" commentary in the March 30 mailing list. Many things in life are ambiguous; this isn't one of them. Joe, you couldn't be more wrong.

- Mick Raton

Since Yvonne Aston, Justin Barrett, Mick Raton and Matt Floer wrote in response to subscriber Joe Puente's previous comments we have reproduced them below:

Re: Measure to protect DVD editors using LDS-made family-friendlization technology progresses

My mother always told me that you can't have your cake and eat it too. Well, apparently, the powers that be in Washington think you can.

I'm all for stiffer penalties for piracy. This new bill, according to Dianne Feinstein, D-California, "will ensure that those who steal the creative works of others will be held accountable."

But this same bill is also designed to protect companies like ClearPlay who are developing and marketing technology to ALTER the copyrighted creative works of others.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the way copyright law works now, no one can benefit financially from a derivative version of a copyrighted work unless they OWN the copyright. That's what companies like ClearPlay and CleanFlix are doing. They are making money from derivative versions of copyrighted material they don't own. Oh, sure, they argue that they "don't make MUCH money" from it and that their customers "collectively own the movies and can do what they want," or "our little DVD players don't cut anything out, they just filter it." But the fact remains, they're making money at this. As are the video stores who rent out edited films and even sell them as "previously viewed."

I think it's hypocritical to support a bill that essentially says to artists, "We'll protect your right to make money from your work, but we won't protect your right to express yourself... In fact, we're going to make it easier for people to change and filter the artwork that you've created. You know, to make it more acceptable for children, less offensive to parents... It doesn't matter if your work isn't geared toward children or families, they might want to see it too without all that icky truth and realism."

I do believe it's the right and responsibility of parents to manage what their children see and hear on television, in the movies and on radio. But this legislation isn't about helping parents to make decisions. It's about enabling LAZY parents who would rather leave the decision making up to technology and other so-called "solutions" from OUTSIDE OF THE HOME.

I'd like to clue in a few people about how redundant this legislation really is. You see, parents don't need special sanitizing DVD-players or "edited" versions of movies to choose from. Nor do they need legislation to protect their so-called right to delegate viewing choices to an outside influence. What they need to do is exercise their own judgment. They need to spend time with their children and KNOW what's going on in their lives. They need to stop looking for loopholes to their own morals and have the BACKBONE to stand up and say, "I don't have to watch this and neither do my children."

Oh, but we can't have that, can we? Heaven forbid we deny the rights of parents to ignore their children and shut them up in a room with an electronic babysitter. No, instead, our culture says, "Just because your a parent doesn't mean you have to spend all your time parenting. We'll find a workaround. We'll invent technology that you can use in place of your own judgment to 'protect your children.' Isn't technology wonderful? And we'll take it a step further, we'll make it a law that parents have the right shirk their responsibility to raise their children as moral and productive members of society. That they have the right to leave the moral instruction of their kids up to companies who don't really care about teaching morals... they just care about hiding what THEY BELIEVE are the 'BAD PARTS' of media because 'as long as they don't HEAR or SEE anything BAD, the rest of it MUST be okay, right? I haven't seen it, but the sign says "R and PG-13 movies EDITED for the FAMILY." That's probably good, right?'"

WRONG! It's never good to let other people do your thinking for you, especially when they claim to be doing it for your own good or for your protection.

Has anyone stopped to consider how much time and money has been spent preparing this legislation? Or how many resources have been put into creating "family safe" DVD-players and edited movies?

Why do people tend to overlook the simplest and most inexpensive solutions? It doesn't take a genius to come up with a few simple rules to govern what your family watches. Here's one you can try on for size and feel free to adjust these to suit your own families needs. After all, there's no copyright on common sense.

If there's a movie or television program you'd like to see that has some violence, sexuality or profanity, you have two very simple choices at your disposal.

A) Watch it WITHOUT your children.

(This assumes that there might be some merit to the film but it contains material that young children probably aren't mature enough to handle.)


B) Don't watch it at all.

(This option has the added bonus of not costing you ANY MONEY. That's right, folks, it's absolutely FREE not to watch a film, avoid renting a movie, or turning off your TV. In fact, you can take the money you save and spend it on something that's more worthwhile like, taking the family to the zoo or buying a book that you can read together or doing any infinite number of things that will get your family interacting instead of just sitting quietly staring at a screen.)

Now, I know there are some people out there who are going to be offended by what I have written here. These are people who want to have their cake and eat it too. All I can say to them is what my mother said to me when I wanted it both ways: "NO!!! BAD CHILD!! Now pull your head out of your [censored] and start acting like an adult!"

Mom always knew how to get right to the point. (May she rest in peace)

Oh, I'm curious to know how many people read the word "censored" and immediately knew what I was really saying? Kind of makes you wonder why I bothered. Makes me wonder why ClearPlay bothers about it too. Dick Cavett once said, "Censorship does more for the dirty mind than the four letter word itself."

You comments are always welcome.

Joseph L. Puente