Thomas C. Baggaley, a film industry professional, serves as the contact person, handling most correspondence, and is the co-webmaster of this website.
Baggaley was raised in Sandy, Utah. He served a mission in Venezuela and attended Brigham Young University where he received a degree in Music Composition. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) where he received a master's degree in music composition and is currently on leave from the PhD program, also in music composition. While at UCLA, Baggaley was one of six students selected to study film composition with famed film composer Jerry Goldsmith when Mr. Goldsmith was granted a Regents Residency at UCLA. (A few of Goldsmith's many film score credits are: Patton; Star Trek: Nemesis; The 13th Warrior; The Mummy; Star Trek: Insurrection; Small Soldiers; Mulan; Alien: Resurrection; The Edge; Air Force One; L.A. Confidential; Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek: Voyager; The River Wild; The Shadow; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Aliens; The Secret of NIMH; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Alien; Logan's Run; Tora! Tora! Tora!; Planet of the Apes.)
Tom Baggaley now works as film composer and composer of classical music. He is also a college instructor, teaching music composition and film music appreciation. Among his critically acclaimed film compositions are the scores for the award-winning film "Unfolding" (2003), directed by Christian Vuissa and "Mariah's Prayer" (2004), directed by John Lyde. Baggaley was also one of three orchestrators (along with Aaron Merrill and Kurt Bestor) for "The Book of Mormon Movie, Vol. 1," which was composed by Robert C. Bowden.
Baggaley lives with his family in Lehi, Utah. He is the president of Quest Haven Publishing, a music publisher.
The LDS Film website began as a single web page on the Adherents.com website, a sub-page of the Guide to Religious Feature Films, with connections to the Famous Adherents index. The webpage was made purely out of curiosity, and as a personal hobby. One of the Adherents.com researchers noticed there were a number of Latter-day Saints currently producing or directing feature films and he thought it would be interesting to list not only their names, but the names of their films as well -- all in one place. As a large number of directors, film producers, theater instructors, and actors eventually found the page, they began to contribute information to the site, and it grew to become an extensive nexus of information about films by and about Latter-day Saints.
By early 2002 the "Films by Latter-day Saint Filmmakers" section of the Adherents.com website had over 50 separate pages, including separate pages for LDS actors, LDS cinematographers, LDS film composers, LDS-made IMAX films, plus profiles of many individual directors and extensive archives of articles and information pertaining to feature films about Latter-day Saints. By late 2002 there were over 550 pages on the website. Newer material included capsule biographies of over 2,000 Latter-day Saint and/or Utah film personalities, statistical analysis of movie reviews of films made by Latter-day Saint directors, and weekly box office reports detailing the performance of Latter-day Saint-made feature films dating from January 1999 to the present. Additional weekly box office reports were later added, going back to January 1996.
In February 2002 Tom Baggaley and the creator of the "Films by Latter-day Saint Filmmakers" webpages met with Christian Vuissa, the owner of the URL "ldsfilm.com" domain name. Vuissa is the award-winning Austrian filmmaker who founded the LDS Film Festival (known its first year as the "International Young LDS Film Festival"). The webmasters of the "Films by Latter-day Saint Filmmakers" pages mentioned that they intended to move the LDS film pages onto their own, more memorable, URL. Vuissa was not using the "ldsfilm.com" URL; it simply auto-forwarded to his film festival site at ldsbox.com. Vuissa suggested using the ldsfilm.com domain for the purpose of housing the growing "Films by Latter-day Saint Filmmakers" section. As domain name registrar, Vuissa set the Domain Name Server address so that the URL would resolve to server space newly set up by the webmasters as a dedicated website. The material was completely removed from the Adherents.com website. Vuissa never had any input with regards to the content of the LDSFilm.com website, and never had any ftp passwords or usernames that would allow him to change the website.
In January 2005 LDSFilm.com's webmaster purchased the "ldsfilm.com" domain name from Vuissa, consolidating ownership of the content and the domain name for the first time. At the time, there were 1786 pages on the website (including 9 years of weekly box office report pages - 468 in all).
The LDS Film website has always been a purely independent project. It has never had any ties to any church, business, newspaper, studio, educational institution or any other organization. Certain technical resources meant to enhance the usefulness of the LDS Film website have been generously provided by Kim Kimura, president of the online retailer LDS Video. But the content of the LDSFilm.com website is completely independent.
No. That would be like saying that Japanese anime is only for Japanese people. While it is true that not everybody is a fan of Japanese anime, the genre has many fans who aren't Japanese, as well as many fans who aren't interested in non-Japanese animation. And many people who don't normally think of themselves as fans of Japanese anime still enjoy, even love, some of the best of these films, such as Rintaro's "Metropolis" or Hayao Miyazaki's "My Neighbor Totoro", "Kiki's Delivery Service" ("Majo no takkyubin") and "Princess Mononoke."
Latter-day Saints and people who aren't Latter-day Saints are the same in that they are individuals and have different tastes. Many Latter-day Saints have no particular interest in LDS films, while many people who are not Latter-day Saints have found these movies to be particularly interesting and entertaining; they follow the film genre without having any particular interest in the church generally.
In a broader sense, beyond the "LDS Cinema" genre (movies made by and about Latter-day Saints), the world of "LDS films" includes all movies made by Latter-day Saints/Mormons, whatever the subject matter. By that standard, just about anybody who enjoys movies will have favorites films that were made (at least in part) by Latter-day Saints, although they might not be aware of it. Films as varied as Casablanca, Schindler's List, It's a Wonderful Life, West Side Story, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Snow White and Seven Dwarves, Gold Rush, Jurassic Park, Twister, Erin Brockovich, Titan A.E. and The Black Cauldron all had Latter-day Saints in key roles behind or in front of the camera.
Information on the LDS Film website comes from a variety of places, but can be divided into two main types of information.
The foremost unique contribution of this site is the listings of Latter-day Saint/Mormon people in the film and television industry, including directors, producers, writers, actors, composers and cinematographers. (The site also contains considerable information about Utahns who are directors, actors, or others who make films and television programs, regardless of religious affiliation.) The second type of information is the film credits of these individuals -- the names (and year of release) of their feature films, television shows, made-for-TV movies, documentaries, short films, videos and related projects.
Accurately identifying Latter-day Saint film professionals is a key component of this site's usefulness and reliability. Every effort is made to ensure that the individuals listed here are indeed Latter-day Saints and/or ethnic Mormons. Most, but not all, of the people listed here are practicing Church members.
One of the main sources of this type of information is newspaper and magazine articles. The film industry is an interesting one in that actors and filmmakers are often under intense media scrutiny, even about their personal lives and matters that do not directly relate to their work. The religious affiliation of actors and filmmakers is usually reported on less than who they are dating, but being a Latter-day Saint is considered interesting to many journalists, and this fact is often mentioned in the papers or "trades." Actors and directors give a lot of media interviews, and many -- including Neil LaBute, Matthew Modine and Paul Walker -- have been quite forthcoming in media interviews about their membership in the Church.
The public's insatiable appetite for information about the "stars" means that detailed biographies and autobiographies are a staple of the film industry. Terry Moore, Jewel Kilcher, Fay Wray and Roseanne are among the individuals whose experiences as Latter-day Saints are described in detail in printed biographies and autobiographies, even though these individuals are not widely linked with Mormonism in the public consciousness. Obituaries can also provide information about an individual's status as a Latter-day Saint; such was the case with Academy Award-winner Dean Jagger, "Karate Kid II" star Danny Kamekona, famed little person Billy Barty, and dancing superstar Buzz Miller.
In many regions, the majority of people are Latter-day Saints, such as in most parts of Utah, as well as in Cardston (Alberta), southern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, and certain parts of Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii. The examination of birth records of celebrities born in these regions has provided potential candidates which can then be researched more thoroughly to determine whether they are a Latter-day Saint. Most celebrities from Utah are Latter-day Saints/Mormons. (Some examples of celebrities who are not Latter-day Saints: Utah-native Frank Borzage, the first person to win the Best Director Academy Award, was a Catholic. Academy Award-winning actress Loretta Young, a Utah native, was a devout Catholic. And famed actor James Woods was born in Vernal, Utah, but is not a Latter-day Saint.)
Also, regardless of where they're from, over 98% of students at Brigham Young University are Latter-day Saints, so if this is where a celebrity went to school, it's a strong indicator of their religious affiliation. The same can be said for Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho), BYU-Hawaii, and Southern Virginia University.
We carefully examine the credits of films marketed directly to Latter-day Saint audiences or made by the Church. In many cases, the casts of these films are entirely Latter-day Saints, or largely so. But this is not always the case. When Richard Dutcher made God's Army, for example, only 10% of the cast was LDS, but in various interviews, Dutcher specifically named who among the cast members were Latter-day Saints. In Mitch Davis' "The Other Side of Heaven," virtually none of the principle cast members were Latter-day Saints, although producer Jerry Molen played a small part as the mission president, and Elder Groberg and his wife made an cameo appearance. Richard Dutcher made "Brigham City," in Utah, and stated that 90% of the cast was LDS. Similarly, Kieth Merrill wrote that all but four of the principle cast members in "Testaments" were active Latter-day Saints. Using information such as this, cross-referenced with other credit lists, phone book information, mission alumni lists, geneaological data, etc., it has been possible to identify Latter-day Saints even among actors who are not yet sufficiently well known to be featured in interviews by People magazine or Variety.
Screenwriters, producers and directors all have creative input into the content of movies and television. The creators of films about Latter-day Saints have been researched in order to determine if they themselves are Latter-day Saints. Some are; some are not. Before becoming famous for creating MTV's animated "South Park" series, Colorado native Trey Parker made the critical and financial flop "Orgazmo," about a Latter-day Saint missionary. Parker's inspiration was Latter-day Saint friends, including a girlfriend. But Parker himself was never a Latter-day Saint. Allen Drury's Pulitzer-winning Advise and Consent (which was made into a movie) and Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-winning Angels in America (now being made into a movie) are both about Latter-day Saints, but neither Drury nor Kushner are LDS. On the other hand, Vardis Fisher, whose novel Children of God was turned into the box office hit Brigham Young: Frontiersman, was a Latter-day Saint (although not active during much of his adult life), as was John D. Fitzgerald (half-Mormon/half-Catholic author of The Great Brain, filmed in 1978) and John H. Groberg (a Latter-day Saint Geneal Authority and author In the Eye of the Storm, released as the movie "The Other Side of Heaven" in 2001).
Many documentaries about Latter-day Saints have been made by Latter-day Saint filmmakers, such as Lee Groberg ("American Prophet", "Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail", etc.), Kevin Mitchell ("J. Golden", "Legacy West", etc.) and Kendall Wilcox ("Envision: Philo T. Farnsworth Society", "Crossing Borders: The Life and Words of Leslie Norris", etc.).
Many individuals simply write to us to ask that their names and credits be included. We verify the authenticity of such correspondence to prevent erroneous information from appearing on the website. Tips from people who email the site are welcome, but are always checked against multiple alternative sources of information. We do not simply list individuals as church members based on rumors or urban legends.
The web pages on this site present thousands of names and film credits. It is a large amount of information and we attempt to do so in a way that will be easily searchable and indexed by search engines such as google.com, and quickly displayed in web browsers, even over slower phone line connections. In most cases, supporting bibliographic information or documentation is not shown on these web pages, but is maintained in our internal databases and records. If you are a researcher interested in one specific name or credit, feel free to contact us so that we can supply documentation.
Once an individual's name is added to the database, film credits are obtained from a variety of sources. For general purposes, the most comprehensive source of film credit information is the Internet Movie Database at http://www.imdb.com IMDb.com is an especially good source of information for Hollywood movies and television series. But it does not have everything, and occasionally its information is incorrect. Other online databases, including the All Movie Guide at http://www.allmovie.com/ , occasionally contain information not found at IMDb.com.
Some sources of information are specialized for a specific film genre. The Big Movie Zone, for example, focuses on large format/IMAX films, and sometimes has information not available elsewhere.
Some box office data can be found at IMDb.com, but a more extensive source online is http://www.the-numbers.com We have collected additional box office statistics for older movies from other print and online sources.
In addition to databases such as these, film credits have been gleaned from official movie websites, and from books and websites dedicated to individual actors, filmmakers, composers, etc. Many film industry professionals or their representatives maintain webpages featuring more extensive film credits information than can be found elsewhere.
Some video distribution companies maintain no public web presence. Most videos made by the Church or marketed specifically to the Latter-day Saint market are NOT listed in IMDb.com The creators of this website regularly visit actual bookstores and video stores (both LDS and general) and write down credits information displayed on the video covers. This has given us access to credits information which has never before been available online.
Finally, credits have been gleaned from the actual films themselves. Opening and closing credits actual videos and DVDs have been transcribed by hand into this site's internal databases. Some of these closing credits lists are reproduced on this site, on pages associated with individual films and videos.
These lists were compiled simply out of curiosity. The creator of this website who originally made the list of "feature films by Latter-day Saint filmmakers," does not even work in the film industry. He is a computer programmer and biologist. He made these lists for the same reason he compiled lists of famous Baha'is, famous Baptists, famous Methodists, famous Zoroastrians, etc.: It was interesting to do so.
People compile lists of Austrian filmmakers. Australian filmmakers. Turkish filmmakers. There are lists of prominent Native American actors and directors. Hispanic actors and filmmakers. Famous female screenwriters. Black Jewish celebrities (Sammy Davis, Jr., Yaphet Kotto, Walter Moseley, etc.). This is no different.
Innumerable people have worked in the film and television industries. Even though these pages list hundreds of Latter-day Saint actors, directors, producers, etc., this is certainly not an attempt to assert that Latter-day Saints have played a preeminent role in the film industry. Important contributions? Certainly. But a preeminent role? Not at all. Only in certain genres (IMAX, family videos, independent animated feature films) have Latter-day Saints played a preeminent role.
For the record, the American film industry was largely created by Jews. The early foundational Hollywood studios were founded and owned by Jews, and Jews (practicing and otherwise) have made the largest contribution to the film industry. Jews are followed by Catholics. Martin Scorsese, John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, and Alfred Hitchcock were all Catholics (although not necessarily devout). Among religious groups, the influence of Latter-day Saints in the film industry lags far behind that of Jews and Catholics.
These pages are here to provide information, as a tool for research. They do not "prove" anything and they convey no message.
If budding Latter-day Saint filmmakers and actors take solace in the fact that many of their background have succeeded in the film industry, so be it. (But most actors and filmmakers never become rich or famous, regardless of their religious affiliation, or even their level of talent.) We have no objection if Latter-day Saint filmmakers and casting directors use these pages to help staff casts and crews for LDS-themed films. We are aware that they do so. We even forward audition audition notices, job listings, etc. But these are not the purposes of this website.
We maintain a very large database of contact information, newspaper articles, notes, credits, etc. This data is not online. We use this internal data in fact-checking, data mining, and as an archive of the sources of the facts posted on the website.
If you are doing research on a film or individual and need additional information or references to sources, feel free to ask. But we do not pass on personal information, rumors, etc. We do not share the contact information (including email addresses) of actors or filmmakers, or anybody else who writes to us (unless we are given express permission to do so).
Please do! Although we make every effort to keep the information on our site as complete and up-to-date as possible, it is a daunting task for our researchers, and we very much appreciate those film professionals who take the time to send us updates. Feel free to send your updated information to email@example.com and we will be sure that the information is available to the researchers, film industry professionals, and consumers who utilize this website.
Basically, you just have to ask. We're happy to add you to the website.
People write to us frequently to ask to be added to this website. Sometimes we receive multiple requests daily. We are extremely grateful to individuals who take the time to identify themselves and write to us, whether they are actors with multiple major film roles or production assistants just starting out.
Often people have written us asking what the "requirements" are for being included on the website. Well, it's not like a person must have received at least one Academy Award nomination (or 2 Golden Globe nominations). There really aren't any minimum "requirements" in terms of achievement in the film industry.
Basically we are interested in listing any Latter-day Saint who has worked in creating film or television. This includes feature films, direct-to-video releases, broadcast or local television, even student films.
The capsule biography section also includes film workers who live in Utah, regardless of religious affiliation.
We are happy to include actors who have only appeared on stage, but who are interested in working in film or television. We will include screenwriters whose scripts have not yet been filmed.
Some people who have written to ask us to include them on the website have had above-the-line positions on $100+ million studio films. Other people have not worked on anything that we have even heard of before. But we treat everybody equally.
We don't ask questions beyond what you want to tell us. We do look up your film credits (if any) on IMDb.com, other websites, and in our extensive database of films made in Utah and/or by Latter-day Saints. You won't be able to tell us you had a lead role in "Brigham City" if you really didn't. (Of course, we're sure nobody would try to do that.)
A capsule biography in the alphabetical biography section is the first place information is added. You may submit your own capsule biography, or we will can write one ourselves based on what you tell us about your film credits and what we can find out from public sources.
For certain professions, your name and list of film credits can be added to a filmography page. There are filmography pages for: film actors (includes feature films, videos, TV movies, miniseries, etc.), TV series actors (regular or guest roles on ongoing television series), directors, producers, screenwriters, authors of works adapted for film, cinematographers, composers/songwriters, film editors, film editors, and other (special effects, film editors, costume designers, production designers, etc.). The "other" page is not as comprehensive as the pages devoted to a specific occupation.
All actors may be added to the capsule biography section. But actors must have at least one film credit (even if its a student film) to be included on the "Latter-day Saint Actors" page. Actors must have had at least one guest role or regular role on a TV series to be included on the TV actors page.
If you submit a brief biography, you will be welcome to change it at any time. Your privacy is very important to us. Your email address or other information will not be shared with anybody. We do not contact you further. If somebody (such as a casting director, producer, director or journalist) writes us saying they would like to contact you, we will only forward their email to you. They can not obtain contact information from us.
Hundreds of people have written to us requesting to be included on this website. None of them have ever subsequently asked to be removed.
It depends on what kind of material you want us to remove.
Occasionally a filmmaker or distributor asks us to remove a specific type of information about an upcoming film such as a release date, or the name of an actor or writer, or a plot detail. This may be because a previously released piece of information has changed, or is not entirely decided. It may be because union officials have not yet determined precise screen credit terminology for individuals who worked on the story and screenplay. It may be due to ongoing contract negotiations with distributors, actors, etc.
We are happy to comply with most such requests and usually update the website accordingly within 24 hours.
This mainly applies to information that we have obtained directly from the filmmakers or their representatives, or from their official website. We do not typically remove specific pieces of information or parts from articles which have appeared in print and are archived here.
Less common (in fact, it has only happened once), is a request for us to remove copyrighted material written by authors other than ourselves. As do a number of search engines (google.com, etc.), archival resources (archive.org), and subject-specific research sites, this web site contains data archives with unaltered textual content from sources published in newspapers, journals, on the web, etc. This pertains primarily to movie reviews and news articles about movies. Almost all other material on this website was created by the webmasters of this site, and we own the copyright to it. For the most part, we have express or blanket permission to include these materials on our website. (This does not, however, give anybody permission to copy materials from our site and use them elsewhere. Such permission, if needed, would still need to be obtained from copyright owners.) Even where such permission has not been obtained, the inclusion of these materials on our website is legal under Texas state law governing copyright, fair use, web archives, etc. Our usage falls squarely under 'fair use' guidelines as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information see: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
Nevertheless... If you wrote an article (or own the copyright to an article) that appears on our website, we will remove it if you simply ask us to. We will do this immediately regardless of whether or not we are obligated to do so.
Finally, as odd as it may seem to mention this, it actually is an issue that came up once. We have many lists of film credits on our website. We also have lists of information derived from film credits on our website. A minority-hating non-LDS individual who lives in Salt Lake City and who had an above-the-line credit in many films made in Utah wanted his name removed from our website. This website did not say anything about the person. It simply listed the person's film credits that anybody could see if they rented the movies he worked on, or if they looked on IMDb.com or numerous other websites. The credits were for his work as a production designer on a number of direct-to-video family films and family-oriented TV movies -- not some secret government project, not even anything controversial or potentially embarrasing.
We are not going to alter or falsify film credits. Filmmakers, including production designers, do not "own" the right to say which newspapers, magazines, websites, etc. may factually mention their name in association with films that they worked on. Names are explicitly not protected by copyright laws. Stage names, pseudonyms, pen names, names of bands, titles of films and books, and titles of companies are not protected by copyright. [Read the U.S. Copyright Office publication: "Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles, or Short Phrases," available at: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ34.html] So here is our advice: If you do not want your name to be mentioned in association with this or other websites' reporting of movies made in Utah, do not work on films made in Utah.
Fortunately most filmmakers welcome attention paid to their work, respect intellectual freedom, and have no desire to censor anybody from accurately reporting information about movies.
We do not track or record information about who is browsing this website.
All correspondence is treated as confidential. We do not share the email addresses (or other contact information) of anybody who writes to us.
An exception to the "confidential email" policy is email which is abusive toward us, or hateful toward minority groups (anti-Semitic, anti-Mormon, racist, etc.). We explicitly reserve the right to forward such email to our mailing lists, legal authorities or attorneys, and/or to post the contents of such email, along with the name and email address of the sender, to our website. This website was online for years without any problem. But we added this notice in "honor" of a certain non-LDS film industry professional who lives in Salt Lake City and who for some reason felt compelled to write us repeatedly to tell us just how he he felt about... well, most everybody who lives in Utah, as well as millions of people who live elsewhere.
We do not pass on information about upcoming film projects unless the information is published or comes from a correspondent who wants us to pass that information on.
We have a mailing list comprised of browsers who intentionally sign up to receive weekly box office reports and occasional news items. We do not share this list with anybody, and we do not send out paid advertisements.
We do not accept money or any other form of quid pro quo. We are always happy to work with filmmakers, actors, scholars, fans, anybody in improving the accuracy and usefulness of this website.
We gratefully accept videos, DVDs, posters, CDs, and printed material -- so that we can write about the videos and add to the information in the online lists and databases. We are not "movie critics." When we write about a video, we do so in order to provide information to the public. We have written reviews/write-ups about videos which we have received for free, videos we have bought, and videos we checked out from the library. Our treatment of a video is not based on how we obtained it.
The banner ads or box ads at the top of the home page have been posted free of charge. Feel free to ask for ad space.
The creators of this website have no films to pitch, no products to sell, and are not actors looking to be cast in a movie. My co-webmaster, Tom Baggaley, is a film composer who might mention that he is available. Filmmakers can receive a CD with his film scores for free. But every other Latter-day Saint film composer we know about is listed here as well.
Please send comments, suggestions, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org.