Why do you want to make this movie?
Selling a home of 8 years and giving everything to pursue an endeavor (especially when there is no guarantee of reaching full funding) certainly reveals much about a one’s commitment and motives. Actor/Director, Darin Southam and his wife, Michelle, are in this together as well as the many who have lent their talents to the project thus far. The producers are committed to making nothing less than a worldwide blockbuster film based on the 4th “Most Influential Book in America”. Our motives are simple: Flood the earth with the coolest (action-packed and inspirational) stories the world has ever seen, as taken from the Book of Mormon.
This video released during our second Kickstarter also gives further insight on our backstory and motives to produce this film: https://youtu.be/nITnevJltlQ
Is the official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints behind this film?
The Church has made no official statements for or against our project, at least not by name. However, the Church has strongly encouraged (especially in recent addresses) the production of independent media by its members and has called for its members to financially support such independent media efforts. Logically, this would include Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty. We have not taken (and do not intend to take in the future) funds from the Church to make this film, even if offered, which they have not. When Actor/Director, Darin Southam, starred in "Ephraim's Rescue", a private screening was offered and well attended by many general authorities of the Church. Our production team, as a courtesy, extended a similar invitation for a private screening of our concept short film to the First Presidency of the Church, which they declined, citing recent policy changes (not for lack of interest). The Church has not offered to help fund our film nor could they, as the Church is a non-profit organization. Southam has appeared in at least 7 official Church productions. He has also produced two “Mormon Messages” (as an independently-contracted production company) for the Church.
Southam’s first “Mormon Message," called "Saving Your Marriage", was the fastest-approved message in the history of the campaign at the time it was delivered, being approved by all respective general authorities in less than 48 hours. Southam is well familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' production processes, talent, and workflows.
A recent address, given August 3, 2018 by Elder Kevin W. Pearson (on official assignment from the First Presidency of the Church), makes clear the Church is actively pleading with its individual members to produce independent media on all media platforms. Elder Pearson also pled with Church members to financially support such organizations and individual members who were seeking to create such media. You can watch the highlights of Elder Pearson's address here: https://youtu.be/OwY9ileA8P0
In addition, the Church's own doctrine states “Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness (D&C 58:27).” One definition of the word anxious means “Wanting something very much, typically with a feeling of unease.” Southam has wanted this story portrayed in worldwide theaters since he was a young boy. With the exception of finding the love of his life and having a family, he has never wanted anything more anxiously in his entire existence.
The Church is a non-profit organization with layers upon layers of approval. Stated plainly, they’re not in the business of worldwide blockbuster filmmaking. The Church is, in fact, currently in production with some Book of Mormon vignettes for a new Book of Mormon Audio Visual library, like the Bible videos they did recently. These will likely not reach many who are outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and almost certainly won’t reach the masses. The Book of Mormon is a universally-read book by religious and irreligious alike, destined to reach the masses. We believe cinema is the way to do this.
Our film is about a hero who lived 2000 years ago and rallied his people to the call of freedom to save a dwindling nation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints espouses a doctrine of inclusion. The epic stories from The Book of Mormon were intended for the masses and they won't reach the masses unless the film is done independently. The stories must be portrayed in a way the world can understand-- EPIC and with the a necessary allowance of creative freedom.
Are the filmmakers behind this all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
No. In fact, 90% of the cast and crew on our concept short film, as an example, were not members of the Church of Jesus Christ. One of our consulting producers is a born-again Christian and he is thrilled about this project. Nearly all the Hollywood professionals we’ve consulted have been very supportive of (and genuinely intrigued with) what we are doing.
Yes, the Writer/Director, Darin Southam, is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has made a lifelong study of the Book of Mormon and is an enthusiastic fan of Captain Moroni.
Mark Burnett did a masterful job of producing the Bible and Son of God. Mel Gibson did the same with The Passion of The Christ. Should we not see these movies because they're both Catholic? Of course not. Likewise, we will employ the best talent in Hollywood, but we also feel it's important to have a few team members who are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ and can provide the necessary knowledge of the source material.
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