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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Mar01

By Pacific Island Films Press Release

Pacific Island Films To Tell Martin Handcart Story

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Jongiorgi Enos, Co-President of Pacific Island Films and Producer, Director and Screenwriter, will direct the feature-length film "The Long Walk of Patience Loader", an historical drama in which American emigrants triumph over adversity and find religious freedom.

Scheduled to begin filming in Utah and Wyoming this July, the movie traces the arduous, 1,300 mile journey of the Edward Martin handcart company across the plains to Utah in the fall of 1856. Caught in an unseasonal blizzard, large numbers of the company of 500 people died of starvation or froze to death.

Seen through the eyes of Patience Loader, a young woman in her twenties, this poignant film uses first-hand accounts of the pioneers gleaned from the diaries and journals that they kept while making the westward exodus. The movie features stylized re-creations of select events that set this American experience apart as one of the truly heroic events of the 19th century.

To be filmed in New York, Wyoming, and Utah, "The Long Walk of Patience Loader" visits actual Mormon Trail locations. Just as the Spanish Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the Trail of Tears mark rich periods in American history, "The Long Walk of Patience Loader" tells another chapter in the settlement of the West with the story of a courageous group of pioneers seeking religious freedom at all costs.

Over a period of 20 years, beginning in the winter of 1846, more than 70,000 men, women, and children trekked to the Salt Lake Valley along the Mormon Trail. Led by Brigham Young, most of the emigrants walked the incredible 1,300-mile distance, carrying their earthly possessions in covered wagons and handcarts as they traveled across Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming into Utah, with the first group arriving at the Great Basin on July 24, 1847.

Filled with the fervor and fortitude of the Mormon pioneers who were part of that general migration, this landmark movie will recount the story of some five hundred pioneers from the eastern United States, Canada, England, the European continent, and South Africa. They traveled on ships, canal boats, trains, and riverboats and then came on foot in wagon trains and handcart companies.

"The Long Walk of Patience Loader" shows why this phenomenal journey was so significant in the historical fabric of the United States. Forsaking all they knew "sometimes leaving behind friends and family" these emigrants moved toward the unknown with hope for a new start and a better life. Plagued by religious persecution, these Mormons relocated from upstate New York, to Kirtland, Ohio, to Independence, Missouri and to Nauvoo, Illinois before being driven West. While the two-decade long migration saw thousands perish due to sickness, harsh weather, and the elements, the Mormon journey is seen as a tremendous success and a testament to human endurance.

For Latter-day Saints, the handcart story, particularly the account of the Willie and Martin companies, has unfortunately darkened the collective memory of the westering saga. But that episode should be remembered for the unparalleled gallantry exhibited by so many, immigrants and rescuers alike. Of particular note is the superb performance of the women; their courage and mettle contributed enormously to the eventual survival of both companies. It was at once the most ill-advised and tragic, the most heroic, and arguably the proudest single event in the Mormon pioneer experience

Sweetwater Films, a division of Pacific Island Films, will raise $2.5 million to produce "The Long Walk of Patience Loader'. Production of the movie is timed to coincide with Sea Trek 2001 (the re-enactment of the historic European migration to America in tall ships) and the domestic release of the film is tentatively scheduled during Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in February, 2002. International release will follow thereafter.

The producers of the film, Jongiorgi Enos and Steve Stubbs, will conduct an international search for descendents of Patience Loader and also descendents of the surviving Martin handcart company members. One hundred of these descendents will be randomly chosen to attend the movie's premiere in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Mr. Enos has almost 25 years of industry experience in theatre, television and film both in front of and behind the camera, and is a prolific writer with an extensive library of original works currently in development. Mr. Enos was the associate producer of the low-budget feature, "Girl Crazy", which was sold to HBO/Cinemax, and has performed in close to 100 productions since his youth. He has worked with Richard Dutcher ("God's Army"), Helen Hunt, Mike Farrell, Paul Sorvino, Mercedes Reuhl, Bernie Kopell, Stanley Brock, Sonny Fox, Greg Louganis, James Wilder, Dion Anderson and others. Currently, Mr. Enos has a major supporting role in Zion films' "Brigham City", which will begin its national release on April 6, 2001.

After eight years working at the executive level of the Hollywood studios in legal and marketing, and after over 24 years working hands-on in every creative aspect of film, theatre and television, Mr. Enos will be deeply involved in every facet of the production process on "Patience Loader".


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