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filmgoers converge for annual LDS movie festival
Audiences grew to crowds, then to masses, all about to converge on Orem's SCERA Center for the Arts. The 13th annual LDS Film Festival opens Wednesday welcoming thousands of curious visitors wanting to see short films, full length features and a series of special screenings.
What began as a college student organizing a space to exhibit a few short films, has now blossomed into an impressive exhibition of what the festival's president, Christian Vuissa, calls an opportunity for "people to inspire people."
"The idea was always to bring the talent of filmmakers together," said Vuissa. "We try to show every year a diverse spectrum of films to see what's being done in the LDS filmmaking community."
The festival showcases film work created by people within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints community, though identifying one's religious affiliation is not required to participate.
An estimated 750 people attended the first LDS Film Festival 13 years ago, and it now attracts droves averaging 5,000 visitors throughout the four day event.
Vuissa founded the festival in 2001 while studying film and theater at Brigham Young University. He approached the Provo Theater Acting Company to host the inaugural show in its cozy community theater nestled at the corner of 100 North and 100 East in Provo. Short films exclusively filled the festivities until 2004 when a handful of feature films made it on the Cialis 10 Mg Goedkoop schedule.
"I always knew the festival would grow, and that we'd have a dozen feature films playing. I just didn't think it would happen that quickly in just a few years," Vuissa said.
This year, 14 feature films will be screened at the filmmaking event. A short film typically runs 20 minutes or less compared to a feature length film which is longer than 60 minutes. Special screenings cover all other films that fall in between these two categories. More than 120 feature films for the festival have been showcased at the SCERA.
The festival was later moved from that community theater space to the Provo Library Cheap Stanozolol in Academy Square in subsequent years until finally finding a home at the SCERA in 2006. Now its ninth year hosting the event, Vuissa said the SCERA was an ideal choice to facilitate the fast growing needs of the festival, which now holds question and answer sessions, panel discussions and has "Jintropin (Gensci Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.)" a more rigorous screening schedule.
"We got more and more programs for feature films, and we needed a venue that we could show the films in a theatrical atmosphere. That transition was perfect," Vuissa said. "We had rooms for presentations and panel discussions and two beautiful theaters we could use."
Vuissa recalls a time when LDS cinema was in a period of decline. Observers have argued that period ended when LDS filmmaker Richard Dutcher released "God's Army" in 2001, which grossed $2.6 million at the box office. The release of "The Saratov Approach" last year, written and Kamagra 100 directed by LDS filmmaker Garret Batty, marked another significant turning point in the progression of LDS cinema.
"'The Saratov Approach,' in my opinion, is a huge development bigger than anything that has happened since 'God's Army' because it's an independent film, independently distributed. It was made on a very small budget and has been really successful, in a time when no one goes to see an LDS film out of curiosity like it used to be in the early days," Vuissa said.
The early days of the festival served as a secondary alma mater for filmmakers like Jared and Jerusha Hess, the duo that created a pop culture icon in the "Napoleon Dynamite" movie released in 2004. Batty also has participated in past LDS film festivals, and even won Best Film in the 24 hour Filmmaking Marathon Competition, an event that gives filmmaking teams 24 hours to shoot, edit and produce a 3 minute Testosterone Online Uk film. The Hess couple won the award in 2002. The 24 hour competition has approximately 30 entries each year, with the most during one year that reached 53 entries.
"The festival took on the role of communicating Comprar Kamagra Barato that there are still a lot of things going on. People have said that LDS cinema is dead," Vuissa said, "but the festival proves that there's still a lot of activity happening."
Communications professor Dr. Steve Thomsen is the lead instructor for the Media and Religion course at BYU. He said films prompt discourse like few media can.
"We can look at a film and see things about ourselves that we might talk about, that we might not really be able to generate that discussion in any other way," Thomsen said. "Film is a great medium for creating a launching point for some discussions. Film is literature and good Bestellen Cialis literature makes us think."
The beginnings of a mainstream LDS cinema genre were filled with so called "Mollywood" movies which were often slapstick comedies that poked fun at its own cultural appearance films such as "The Best Two Years" or "The Single's Ward." The term comes from a cultural slur "Molly Mormon" which personifies a devout member of the LDS Church in a melodramatic way.
"Some LDS films that play on the characters themselves the comedic ones that embrace the stereotypes and embrace the clichs," Thomsen said. "But I think there are some others that make us think about what does it mean to be Mormon? What does it mean to be Mormon in contemporary society?"
The proximity of filmmakers at the festival encourages film artists to learn and to grow by exposing these artists to the possibilities of creating independent cinema, while sharing stories that may have a spiritual backdrop.
Networking with other local professionals encourages filmmakers to develop stories that respond to social issues, entertain audiences and most important create opportunities for future film projects.
"I see it as something that has to grow larger," Vuissa said. "I wait to see when films are being made that have a $10 million budget, and for that to happen, Canada Testosterone Levels a lot of little things have to come together. The community has to grow.