15TH LDS FILM FESTIVAL 2016
MARCH 2-5, 2016 | SCERA CENTER, OREM


2016 WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The 15th LDS Film Festival ended with the screening of Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made on Saturday night, March 5.

The winners and honorable mentions of the Short Film Competition, Family Films Competition, and 24-Hour Filmmaking Marathon were announced at an informal award ceremony on Saturday night. The LDS Film Festival also awarded an Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film.

Click here for all results.

Coming Soon: 2017 Call for Entries

The Call for Entries for the 2017 LDS Film Festival will be available on this website in June 2016.

Regular deadlines for entries will likely be in November/December 2016. The festival dates for the 2017 LDS Film Festival will be announced in the coming months and will most likely be in early March 2017. Make sure to sign up for our email-list to be regularly updated on news and events.


2016 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

The schedule for the 15th LDS Film Festival 2016 is now available. We are very excited about this year's festival program. An impressive lineup awaits you. We will update the program in the coming days, so please check back for news and information.

The LDS Film Festival strives to annually present a diverse spectrum of films that represent the status quo of current LDS filmmaking. The festival is independently organized and not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tickets for all events are available at 801-225-ARTS, online at scera.org or at the door. Click here for admissions information.

All events are open to the public and take place at the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah (745 South State Street).

Festival Highlights

A record number of feature films are scheduled to screen at the 15th Annual LDS Film Festival 2016, which will kick off next week on Wednesday, March 2, and run through Saturday, March 5.

"This year clearly shows how the LDS film community continues to grow in diversity and strength," says Christian Vuissa, founder and director of the LDS Film Festival. "We are seeing an increase in films that can compete in the international marketplace. What began as a unique LDS-centric film community, now offers films with more universal themes and content."

The festival opens with the premiere of Singing with Angels on Wednesday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. It is the first theatrical film that features the iconic voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Many scenes were filmed on location at the Tabernacle on Temple Square, and actual Choir members participated in key scenes.

Star-Studded Films

A powerful lineup of stars in films featured at the 2016 LDS Film Festival include many known actors.

Kate Winslet, Dick Van Dyke, Jane Seymour, Patrick Stewart, Jon Heder, James Roday, Cheryl Hines, Gary Cole, Henry Ian Cusick, Brian Krause, Kevin Sorbo, and Wilford Brimley, are all part of several films scheduled at this year's festival.

From drama to comedy to fantasy to documentary, the festival showcases a diverse lineup of films.

Feature films include the powerful drama Just Let Go (starring Henry Ian Cusick), the romantic comedy Christmas Eve (starring Patrick Stewart, Jon Heder, James Roday, Cheryl Hines, Gary Cole), the family film Miracle Maker (starring Brian Krause), the fantasy drama Mythica: The Necromancer (starring Kevin Sorbo) as well as the fantasy comedy Dudes & Dragons, the dramedy Trew Calling, and the 10-year anniversary screening of Mr. Dungbeetle.

The originally as a web-series produced Paradise High will be shown as a feature film comedy and was produced by the talented students at East Hollywood High School in West Valley City, Utah.

Powerful Documentaries

Powerful and entertaining documentaries include the closing night film Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, which chronicles three kids in 1981 Mississippi, who are determined to remake their favorite film: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The documentary The Abolitionists follows former Homeland Security special agent Tim Ballard as he goes undercover to rescue children that are being exploited as sex child slaves.

The BYUtv docudrama Joan of Arc explores the stalwart spirit, military prowess, and enduring influence of Joan of Arc, who as a 19-year old girl heeded the counsel of angels and transformed from ordinary farm girl to military leader in fifteenth-century France.

The Journey Home by director Garrett Batty (The Saratov Approach, Freetown), delivers an in-depth perspective about the effects of the Vietnam War on Veterans and protestors. The result is a documentary about PTSD, healing, misunderstanding, forgiveness, patriotism, unity, and an ever-progressing journey home.

Downwinders: Did the Government Kill John Wayne tells the story of the victims and survivors of nuclear fallout in the American Southwest and beyond during the 1950s and 60s when the US government was testing nuclear weapons in the Nevada Desert and explores if John Wayne was one of the victims while filming in the area.

In Utero is a cinematic rumination about life in the womb and its lasting impact on human development, human behavior, and the state of the world. The film brings together for the first time convincing data that explains why some of us face challenges from the start while others thrive.

All events are open to the public. Festival passes, day passes and tickets for individual screenings can be purchased directly at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah, on their website at www.scera.org or by phone at 801-225-ARTS. Click here for admissions information.

Family-Friendly Programming on Saturday

Saturday, March 5, offers many different films and programs for families, including the popular "homemade" family films competition, where a variety of family-made short films are presented. Now in its third year, the creativity and diverse offering of the family films continue to be impressive.

Buttons, a heart-warming musical film by director/composer Tim Janis, stars Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins) and Jane Seymour (Somewhere in Time) and is narrated by Academy-award winning Kate Winslet.

Other Saturday highlights for families include the feature films Trew Calling, produced by Clint Eastwood's daughter Kimber Eastwood, and the Larry King produced film Christmas Eve, the newest offering from Other Side of Heaven director Mitch Davis, starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men) and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite).

Saturday also includes a sneak preview of an upcoming high school comedy set in Utah, and a short film program with a dozen films specifically for families, and the short drama Come Unto Me, about a young boy and his mother who are introduced to Jesus while being on the run from Roman soldiers.

The Maze Runner, Saturday's Warrior, and Other Highlights

Other highlights of the LDS Film Festival include a series of presentations about the filmmaking process.

James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner, will talk about his experience with Hollywood adapting his popular book series for the big screen.

A special presentation about the upcoming theatrical release of Saturday's Warrior will celebrate the music and the message of the beloved 40-year old production that started the LDS entertainment industry. Members of the original cast, as well as the cast of the upcoming theatrical film will be in attendance.

Several short film programs showcase films by young LDS Filmmakers, including drama, comedy, documentary and animation films. The quality of the short films are a strong indication of the continued growth of the LDS filmmaking community, with fresh talent presenting a diverse spectrum of impressive storytelling.

The 24-Hour Filmmaking Marathon screening on Thursday, March 3, showcases dozens of short films made in only 24 hours a week prior to the festival.


2016 OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS

Singing With Angels will be the opening night film at the 2016 LDS Film Festival, kicking off the festival on Wednesday, March 2. For the closing night film, the festival has selected the documentary Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.

"This year's program is packed with exciting new films out of our community, from theatrical features to documentaries, special screenings, and short films," says festival director Christian Vuissa, who started the LDS Film Festival in 2001, while still a film student at Brigham Young University.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the festival. "We've never had such a varied and extensive lineup," says Vuissa, who marvels at the growth of the LDS film community over the years.

The LDS Film Festival strives to annually present a diverse spectrum of films that represent the status quo of current LDS filmmaking. The festival is independently organized and not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"We are excited that our film Singing with Angels will premiere as the opening night film at the 15th Annual LDS Film Festival," says Brian Brough, the film's director and producer. "The festival gives us the opportunity to showcase amazing storytelling and the iconic voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."

Singing with Angels is about a woman who when faced with a crossroads in her life reflects on her experiences in joining the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and discovers the strength it has given her and her family through their challenges. Many scenes were filmed on location at the Tabernacle on Temple Square, and actual Choir members participated in key scenes.

Choir President Ron Jarrett commented that "until now, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has not been involved in a feature film of this magnitude. I am so pleased with how the Choir was portrayed, how the experiences came to life, and how powerful the movie is right through the last moment."

Singing with Angels will be released theatrically on March 11, a week after its premiere at the LDS Film Festival.

The entertaining and inspiring documentary Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made will be the closing night film of the 2016 LDS Film Festival on Saturday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m.

"We've been fans and attendees of the LDS Film Festival since it's first year back in 2001, and we couldn't be more excited and honored to have our latest film Raiders! as the closing night film this year," says Tim Skousen, who directed and produced the film together with Napoleon Dynamite producer Jeremy Coon.

"The LDS Film Festival has always featured uplifting films and uplifting stories, and we feel like it's a perfect fit for our film Raiders!," Skousen adds.

The documentary tells the story behind the making of what is known as the greatest fan film ever made. It chronicles three kids in 1981 Mississippi, who are determined to remake their favorite film: Raiders of the Lost Ark. It takes them seven years to complete, except for one scene. Thirty years later, they set out to finally finish their fan film and fully realize their childhood dream.

"LDS film doesn't have to mean movies about missionaries and bishops. The LDS Film Festival is the premiere venue for LDS filmmakers and has always helped expand the definition of what LDS cinema is. Including our film as the closing night film shows the modern state of LDS film," Skousen concludes.

Tickets for both Raiders! and Singing with Angels as well as all other festival events can be purchased directly at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah, on their website www.scera.org or by phone at 801-225-ARTS. Click here for admissions information.

All events are open to the public and take place at the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah (745 South State Street).


24-HOUR MARATHON GOES INTERNATIONAL

For the first time this year, everyone around the globe can participate in the 24-Hour Filmmaking Marathon. You don't have to be physically present at the start of the competition.

Every year dozens of groups participate, and all finished films are screened during the LDS Film Festival to a crowd of several hundred people. Past entries have gone on to play at film festivals nationwide. Every participating group has 24 hours to write, shoot and edit a 4-minute short film.

We will kick off the marathon on Friday, February 19, 2016, at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah. If you won't be able to be there in person, we will post the theme, object, and dialogue line on this website and participants can drop off or upload their finished films 24 hours later on Saturday, February 20, at 10:30 a.m.

Click here for more information.


2016 FESTIVAL PROGRAM COMING SOON

We will soon announce the 2016 lineup of films. We are looking forward to another great festival with multiple premieres of feature films, special screenings, and short films.

The LDS Film Festival annually presents a diverse spectrum of films that represent the status quo of current filmmaking in the LDS film community. The festival is independently organized and not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


FESTIVAL DATES

The festival dates for the 2016 LDS Film Festival will be March 2-5, 2016, at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah.


GET READY FOR ANOTHER GREAT FESTIVAL

The LDS Film Festival has grown tremendously over the last few years. What began as a short film festival, is now a major event that showcases an impressive array of feature films, special screenings and short films.

Attendance is now averaging 5000-7000 visitors each year. Most of the films shown at the festival are world or Utah premieres.

Since its inception, the LDS Film Festival has awarded and paid out over $40,000 in cash awards to LDS filmmakers.


SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

The LDS Film Festival offers multiple sponsorship opportunities that allow you to have a presence at the festival and reach filmmakers and audiences alike.

Over the last five years, attendance has been constantly increasing, now averaging several thousand visitors each year.

Please contact us at feedback@ldsfilmfestival.org for more information. Your support is greatly appreciated.