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Sent on Mormon-News: 08Nov01

By Pacific Island Films Press Release

Pacific Island Films Announces the Launch of a New Film Division, Sweetwater Films, Slated to Produce Mormon-Themed Movies

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Pacific Island Films (PIF), a fledgling mini-studio founded by Australian actor-turned-entrepreneur, Steve Stubbs (Class Of '74), was recently joined by Mormon actor-writer-director, Jongiorgi Enos (last seen by Mormon audiences as "John The Baptist" in Testaments Of One Fold And One Shepherd and as Peg's boyfriend "Ed" in Richard Dutcher's Brigham City). Since joining forces the two partners have announced their intention to launch Sweetwater Films (SWF), a division of the parent company, Pacific Island.

"The Sweetwater Films Division," explained a company spokeswoman, "Has a charter to produce films which explore, or at least certainly do not shy away from, faith-promoting themes, and the topics of faith in people's lives. For example, things like prayer, service, sacrifice and the general idea of religious devotion as motivating force behind human action." The spokeswoman went on to point out that while stories from many different faiths were being developed, including Catholic, Jewish and general Christian perspectives, SWF's initial production slate includes at least six Mormon-themed films. Sweetwater Film's Mormon-themed slate includes some sweeping historical epics, some contemporary dramas, and even an unusual, thought-provoking "what-if" comedy set in an imaginary Garden of Eden, written by award-winning screenwriter, David Howard (Galaxy Quest).

Ever since Richard Dutcher pioneered the niche market of theatrical motion pictures with Mormon themes in his ground-breaking film, God's Army, a host of new production companies have jumped into the so-called "Mormon Market." At least six different Mormon-themed films are scheduled to come out in the next year from as many different companies.

Dutcher, who has close personal ties with the principal partners of Pacific Island Films and has served as an Executive Consultant to the new company, has proved that with careful budgeting and marketing, and by producing high-quality product, a viable business can be achieved in what might otherwise be considered a narrow, unprofitable market. With so many quality scripts now available to Pacific Island, and with so much interest being generated by consumers in this growing niche, Stubbs and Enos say they are eager to bring stories of faith to the screen via their new Sweetwater Films Division. "The time is right," Enos said.

This past Spring, PIF first announced its intent to produce its moving historical epic, The Long Walk Of Patience Loader, a pioneer story following the heroine and her family across the plains. "The pioneer period of Mormon and American history, is one of the richest in our heritage," said Enos. "There are thousands of amazing stories during that period, and filmmakers will certainly be mining those rich narrative veins for years to come -- at least I hope so!"

Enos went on to say: "I know of several pioneer-themed movies announced by other companies concurrently with ours, and it is all pretty exciting. I hope audiences are as excited as we filmmakers are! And I think they are. I mean, so far, we've received tons of response from actual decedents of the Loader family, e-mails and letters. It's amazing to read these people's stories. In fact, we hope to assemble a family portrait of sorts from all of the descendants that we can get together, maybe bring them all out to the Premiere of the film. That's the plan anyway. We're trying to earmark a portion of the budget to get as many Loader descendants as we can to be a part of this."

Stubbs hastened to add, "While we are still in very active development, aggressively raising funds for the multi-million dollar project which Patience Loader is, the project is so big, and getting ready for it is taking so long, that the company decided that it would be a good idea to go ahead and put out one of our smaller budget films while everyone was waiting for Patience -- No pun intended!" Stubbs joked.

Stubbs explained that while SWF was producing The Long Walk Of Patience Loader for release in late 2002 or in 2003, it would go ahead and "greenlight" a movie called Hazel &Rose. Stubbs said, "Hazel &Rose is an intimate, contemporary film, with a small cast, easy to produce, so we can get it into the market right away and start the ball rolling. I mean, we're so committed to making the Patience Loader project the highest quality movie that it can be -- its such an amazing script and story -- so we won't rush it into production until everything is ready. But while we're doing that, we'd like to do a great little feel-good film first."

Hazel &Rose is a relationship drama about how an act of service changes lives and sparks a friendship between two unusual people: a teenage girl and a house-bound woman. The film will be shot entirely on location in Provo, Utah this Fall or early Spring. The film has already been cast, $60,000 of the proposed $350,000 budget has been raised, and pre-production has commenced. Shooting will start as soon as financing is complete. The film will star two award-winning professionals: well-known Utah-based character actress, Barta Heiner (Testaments, Brigham City, The Donner Party); and New York-based Irene Ryan Competition winner for Best Actress, Mireille Enos, fresh from a run on Broadway in the Tony-winning play, The Invention Of Love, and appearing opposite Richard Dreyfuss in an episode of The Education Of Max Bickford. An outstanding supporting cast has also been retained.

"With films like Hazel &Rose, Patience Loader, Adam Alone, Little Man, Sweetwater Ford, The Ben Thompson Story, Glenna's Graduation, The Downey's Under, The Sugar Beets, and many others currently in development, we hope to see Sweetwater Films' become a major force in the faith-related markets and a recognized brand name for quality, humanity-affirming entertainment which is so lacking in today's Hollywood," affirmed Stubbs. "As a spiritually sensitive Catholic and a father of young children, I'm proud to be associated with the films we have in development under Sweetwater Films. It's a real family affair."

It is indeed. Stubbs and Enos often involve their children in development meetings. In fact, Stubbs' wife, Janet, a member of the Church, came up with the original concept which became Hazel &Rose. Both she and Enos' wife, Santia, comprise an integral part of Pacific Island's Story Development Department and fulfill other duties at the small and growing company -- as much as their duties as full-time at-home mothers ("Our first priority!" the women said) will permit.

Sweetwater Films has set up limited partnerships in order to offer qualified investors the opportunity to join with the company in producing its first two films and share in the profits therefrom. The Hazel &Rose Production Partnership, Ltd. is offering up to 35 shares of $10,000 each. The Patience Loader Production Partnership, Ltd. is offering up to 35 shares of $100,000 each. Interested parties should contact the company directly: Steve Stubbs,

Pacific Island Films is an independent motion picture studio with close to 60 films in development under three major divisions. Pacific Island's principle base of operations is in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California, with bases in Sydney, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and New York. Sweetwater Films is an independent motion picture production division which produces faith-promoting films, Mormon-themed films and human-interest stories exploring some aspect of faith. Concrete Beach Entertainment is an independent motion picture production division which produces urban comedies and romances, action-adventures, thrillers, and youth- and music-oriented commercial movies. Pacific Island's parent division produces large-scale, often biographically-themed films featuring incredible examples of heroic human achievement.

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Pacific Island Films Announces the Launch of a New Film Division, Sweetwater Films, Slated to Produce Mormon-Themed Movies
Pacific Island Films Press Release 5Nov01 S2


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