14TH LDS FILM FESTIVAL 2015
MARCH 4-7, 2015 | SCERA CENTER, OREM
2015 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE NOW ONLINE
A record number of feature films are scheduled to screen at the 14th Annual LDS Film Festival 2015, which will kick off on Wednesday, March 4, and run through Saturday, March 7.
"This year's festival lineup indicates a clear growth in the LDS film community," says Christian Vuissa, founder and director of the LDS Film Festival. "More films are being made on a wider range of subjects."
The festival is bookended by two high-profile films. The opening night film Freetown by director Garrett Batty is his follow-up film to the box-office success The Saratov Approach. Just as highly anticipated is the closing night film The Cokeville Miracle by acclaimed director T.C. Christensen (17 Miracles, Ephraim's Rescue). Both films will be released in theaters later this year.
Other films in the festival program include Tim Skousen's heartfelt drama Thunder Broke the Heavens about two siblings left on their own after their family is killed in a tragedy, and Adrenaline, the story of a young street racer involved in a near fatal car accident. Man from Reno, a film noir thriller set in San Francisco, is the newest film by Dave Boyle and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.
"Overall, the films this year are grittier than in the past," says Vuissa, although there are lighter movies in the program as well. Austenland will be showing after a presentation by director Jerusha Hess. The film was produced by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) based on a book by author Shannon Hale. Returning to the festival with his fourth film is Italian filmmaker Marco Lui with the romantic comedy John: How to Win a Girl's Heart.
Among the documentaries this year is Brandon Smith's Glimpses Beyond Death's Door about near-death experiences and Jessica Mockett's The Heart of the Matter about the devastating effects of pornography. A reprise screening of Meet the Mormons, the first theatrical release by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will give the filmmakers an opportunity to reflect on the film's success in an exclusive Q&A after the screening.
"One of the greatest aspects of the LDS Film Festival is the open interaction with the filmmakers. Almost all screenings are followed by a Q&A sessions with the filmmakers," says Vuissa.
For filmmakers the festival is a great way to interact with audiences before a film's release. "I am excited and honored to have the LDS Film Festival be our first screening and to show it on closing night," says T.C. Christensen, director of The Cokeville Miracle. "As both a filmmaker and an audience member, I look forward to the variety of stories showcased at the LDS Film Festival each year," adds Garrett Batty, director of Freetown.
The 2015 festival program can be looked up either chronologically by day or by event category.
All events are open to the public. Festival passes, day passes and tickets for individual screenings can be purchased directly at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah, on their website at www.scera.org or by phone at 801-225-ARTS.
Orson Scott Card, Studio C, and Other Highlights
Other highlights of the LDS Film Festival include a series of presentations titled From Book to Screen with Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game), Jerusha Hess (Austenland). Other presentations include Blair Treu, Jeff Roberts, and David Nielson, the filmmakers behind the documentary Meet the Mormons.
The cast of BYUtv's comedy show Studio C talks exclusively about their new season of sketches on Saturday, March 7.
Several short film programs showcase films by young LDS filmmakers, including the Academy Award nominated short documentary White Earth by J. Christian Jensen.
The 24-Hour Filmmaking Marathon screening on Thursday, March 5, showcases short films made in only 24 hours a week prior to the festival.
The LDS Film Festival is independently organized and not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2015 OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS ANNOUNCED
Two highly anticipated movies will be the opening and closing night films at the 2015 LDS Film Festival, which takes place March 4-7, 2015, at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah.
Freetown, a new film by Garrett Batty, director of the box office success The Saratov Approach, will kick off the LDS Film Festival on Wednesday, March 4, at 7:30pm.
The closing night film will be The Cokeville Miracle, the newest film by T.C. Christensen, director of 17 Miracles and Ephraim's Rescue. It is scheduled to screen on the last day of the festival on Saturday, March 7, at 7:30pm.
"We couldn't be happier with the lineup of films this year," says festival director Christian Vuissa, who started the LDS Film Festival in 2001, while still a film student at Brigham Young University. "With Freetown and The Cokeville Miracle we have the perfect bookends for the most exciting year in our history."
Both films will be released theatrically later this year and have their premiere at the LDS Film Festival.
African Missionary Story of Survival
Freetown tells the true story of a group of Liberian missionaries who attempt to flee the widespread violence in their country and escape to Freetown in Sierra Leone. "When I first announced Freetown last year at the LDS Film Festival, I had no idea of the powerful experiences that this film would provide. I'm thrilled to now have audiences share in this significant journey," says director Garrett Batty. Freetown was produced by Adam Abel (Saints and Soldiers, Forever Strong) and entirely filmed on location in Africa.
The film will be released in theaters on April 8, 2015, and is distributed by Purdie Distribution, who also distributed The Saratov Approach and Meet the Mormons. "Freetown is an important and brave film. The type of film that should be seen by everyone," says Brandon Purdie, head of Purdie Distribution.
Miracle of Wyoming Elementary School Bombing
The Cokeville Miracle also retells a gritty true story, set in 1986 Cokeville, Wyoming, where a mad man and his wife took over the elementary school and held everyone hostage with guns and a bomb. Two hours later, the bomb went off with over one hundred children and teachers within feet of the explosion, but only two deaths associated with the incident occurred: the two intruders.
The Cokeville Miracle was picked up for distribution by Excel Entertainment and will be released in theaters in June. "The film is a testament to the power of prayer and God's awareness of our lives. Fans of 17 Miracles and Ephraim's Rescue will find the same inspiration and emotional connection to this movie, while being able to share it beyond their circle of LDS friends due to its modern sensibilities," says Arthur VanWagenen, director of Excel Entertainment.
After two successful pioneer movies, T.C. Christensen is excited to delve into a more contemporary story. "If you are sick to death of my pioneer films, here's something you can come to and I promise, you will not see one handcart or one ugly cow," he jokes.
LDS Film Festival Perfect Venue for Premieres
Both Batty and Christensen have shown their previous films at the LDS Film Festival. "I am excited and honored to have the LDS Film Festival be our first screening and to show it on closing night," says Christensen. "As both a filmmaker and an audience member, I look forward to the variety of stories showcased at the LDS Film Festival each year," adds Batty.
Festival director Vuissa holds both filmmakers in high regard. "T.C. and Garrett have emerged as two of the finest filmmakers around. They are currently defining the LDS film genre and produce deeply inspiring films for our audience."
Tickets for both Freetown and The Cokeville Miracle can be purchased directly at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah, on their website www.scera.org or by phone at 801-225-ARTS.
The LDS Film Festival offers multiple sponsorship opportunities that allow you to have a presence at the festival and reach filmmakers and audiences alike.
Over the last five years, attendance has been constantly increasing, now averaging several thousand visitors each year.
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