Vuissa, Sweater Friends, Mormon Media Studies, and Amri’s finds

It’s time for another links roundup:

Vuissa: LDS Film Festival founder Christian Vuissa is featured in the Summer 2010 issue of Marriott Alumni Magazine (HT ldsfilm.com).

Sweater Friends: Mormon singer-songwriter duo The Sweater Friends have been blogging about their new album-in-the-making The Ghost and The Guest. They will be playing June 25 at the Utah Arts Festival.

Mormon Media Studies: Papers and panel proposals for BYU’s Mormon Media Studies Symposium are due June 30. The symposium will be held Nov. 11-12.

Amri’s Finds: So my cousin Amri Brown (who most of you may know as a BCC blogger) sent me a couple of Mormon-art-related links recently. Not that neither she nor I are necessarily endorsing these, but she (and now I) thought they might be of interest 1) Photographer Zachary Taylor’s portfolio of portraits of Mormon Ex-Convicts 2) The book trailer for Mike Wilson’s new novel Zombie (Amri says that Mike is an Argentine author who lives in Chile and that he was born and raised LDS).

Four pieces of Mormon cinema news

This fall will see a flurry of minor but important developments in the evolution of Mormon cinema. I don’t know how things look on the ground in Utah (there were a few movies this year whose release dates came and went and didn’t blip my radar at all), but as far as I can tell we’re in a quiet period for the field so I’m pleased to see this much activity.

Here are the headlines: Randy Astle has started a networking site for filmmakers; Christian Vuissa’s new film is coming out this fall; the indie film “White on Rice,” by Mormon David Boyle,  is gaining some buzz; and the Audience Alliance’s first film “Broken Hill” will test Kieth Merrill’s hope for a family-friendly alternative to Hollywood.

Full details after the jump. Continue reading “Four pieces of Mormon cinema news”

Two events and three cool links

Or as I was tempted to call it: apropos of everything.

Father in Israel screening March 25

An advance screening of Christian Vuissa’s film “Father in Israel” will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at the Megaplex 8 at Thanksgiving Point. Click here for details. The film’s theatrical release is planned for this fall.

“Little Happy Secrets” March 19-23 in Provo

The New Play Projects production of Melissa Leilani Larson’s play “Little Happy Secrets” opens tonight. You can . Larson bills her play as being “about a young woman coming to terms with her homosexuality without compromising her LDS faith.”

Menachem Wecker on a staging of “My Name is Asher Lev”

Menachem Wecker, who blogs on art and religion at Iconia, wrote a review earlier this month for The Jewish Press of a staging of Chaim Potok’s novel “My Name is Asher Lev.” I thought that this would be of interest to AMV’s readers because of Potok’s popularity in the world of Mormon letters, but even more I’m linking to it because it’s an excellent piece of criticism. Continue reading “Two events and three cool links”

My sister Katherine’s review of “The Errand of Angels”

Christian Vuissa’s film”The Errand of Angels” opens in theaters in Utah and Idaho today. My sister Katherine saw the film when it was screened at the LDS Film Festival (which Vuissa founded) back in January and posted a review for her personal blog. She has kindly agreed to let me republish it here at AMV. Note that the editing and other post-production on the film may have changed for the official release. ~Wm

Synopsis
A wide-eyed sister missionary from Boise arrives in Austria to begin her 18-month-long mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite having to make a few cultural adjustments, Sister Taylor meets every challenge with optimism. Her enthusiasm to share the Gospel makes her indomitable, until she finds herself with an abrasive companion whom she doesn’t understand and doesn’t particularly like. This challenge, along with the ordinary vicissitudes of missionary life begin to wear on her, and thus in the process of sharing the Gospel, Sister Taylor finds herself gaining a better understanding of its key precepts: faith, repentance, forgiveness, and charity.

Analysis
The missionary film is a well-known sub-genre of Mormon film. In fact, some of the most notable and successful films, such as God’s Army, The Best Two Years, and The Other Side of Heaven have fallen within this genre. Even in Mormon films that haven’t been explicitly about missionary work, the missionary element usually makes an appearance.

If the missionary story has been told, why make another missionary movie? In the Q&A following the 5:00 showing of The Errand of Angels Friday night, the director/writer, Christian Vuissa, said that while many films have been made about missionaries, none has told the sister missionary story. The source of Vuissa’s material came originally from a woman named Heidi Johnson who simply wanted to tell the story of her mission. Having no previous experience in script-writing, she decided to make a go at it anyway. The film in its present form is the result of much re-writing by Vuissa, but still retains many of the elements of Johnson’s story. Continue reading “My sister Katherine’s review of “The Errand of Angels””