By Kent Larsen
Planned LDS Film Festival Trying to Broaden Audience for Films
PROVO, UTAH -- In the wake of the success of "God's Army," the film
that showed there is an audience for LDS films, BYU film student
Christian Vuissa, 31, is trying to show that audience the variety in
the work of LDS film makers. Vuissa has formed a non-profit venture,
LDSBox.com, to hold the first International Young Latter-day Saint
Film &Video Festival 2001.
The idea is simple. LDSBox.com is holding the festival to showcase
the work of young LDS film makers and screenwriters, letting them
meet each other, exchange ideas and develop collaborations. In the
process, he hopes to show their work to an broader audience of
Prior to the success of "God's Army," the idea might have seemed
silly, because few people believed that LDS film makers had a unique
audience. But now, with at least 20 films in production or being
planned, and a number of LDS film makers like Richard Dutcher, Keith
Merrill, Lee Groberg and Don Bluth who have achieved a high profile
among the LDS audience, Vuissa's idea doesn't seem so far fetched.
Plans for the festival are built around a contest that will choose
the best film and best screenplay submitted to the festival. Of
course, the best of the films will be shown and awards for first,
second and third prizes, as well as honorable mentions, will be made
in each category. Winners will receive cash prizes. Other events
during the festival may include a panel discussion on films made by
LDS film makers and a retrospective of some of the early films made
by LDS Church members.
But Vuissa recognizes that the festival will need to reach out to get
to its audience. He hopes to put together a traveling exhibit of the
festival, essentially staging the festival in different locations
around the US and the World, especially in the hometowns of those
whose films are shown. He already expects to show the films in
Europe, and expects to make arrangements to show the films in
California and in New York.
Vuissa is a native of Austria, and says credits his experiences
there, before he joined the LDS Church, with giving him the
background for this idea. Before joining the church, Vuissa was
already trying to find ways to bring artists together. Film, as a
medium, he says, already brings artists together, because it uses the
work of so many different kinds of artists, from the scriptwriters to
costume and set designers, to musicians.
While the plans for the festival are falling into place, there's a
lot of work to be done. LDSBox.com is still looking for qualified
judges, in addition to submissions of films (up to 30 minutes in
length) and screenplays by the October 15th deadline. Vuissa believes
he has a venue to show the films, but is still looking for sponsors
to help cover the costs of the festival.
The goal of all this, says Vuissa, is to develop LDS film makers and
show their variety. By seeing this variety and letting LDS artists
work together, something uniquely LDS can arise. "Religion is such a
strong part of our lives that if we portray things in an honest and
sincere way, the spiritual aspect of the theme should fall into place
automatically," he adds.
Mormon News interview with Christian Vuissa
Feature Films by Latter-day Saint Filmmakers
Film, video festival to provide a medium for LDS, non-LDS art
BYU NewsNet 27Sep01 A4
By Summer Mull: NewsNet Staff Writer