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
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".