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State of LDS-themed Movies

The state of LDS-themed movies was recently (read: “the past 6-12 months” here) cycling through a lull. Last year, Richard Dutcher broke away from his faith-centered films (at least temporarily) to begin shooting his supernatural thriller “Evil Angel” tentatively slated for release in October 2007.

There’s a saying that goes something like: “A true captain will never abandon his ship.” Perhaps Dutcher did. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the work Dutcher does. He’s excellent at his craft. What he can do as far as quality for just under a million dollar budget puts his contemporary LDS filmmakers to shame.

But contrary to the saying about the captain and his ship, Richard didn’t go down with the “LDS-themed film” love boat. He jumped to a life boat from the safety net of such distributors as Excel Entertainment (a Salt Lake City-based distribution company which recently merged with Deseret Book with Sheri Dew and Jeff Simpson as its presiding officers) to his own distribution company Main Street Movie Co. and has paddled quickly in another direction.

The ship has resurfaced (some might say resurrected) with Kieth Merrill, a long-time filmmaker noted for such LDS institutional films such as “The Testaments” and the classic “Mr. Krueger’s Christmas” starring the veteran actor Jimmy Stewart. Merrill has organized a group of filmmakers and audience members alike under the acronymn AAMPS (Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios) concerned with the creation and promotion of high quality films with traditional family-based values.

There are other filmmakers resurfacing with better films and ones that are new to LDS-themed film fans. Examples include Ryan Little’s upcoming rugby film “Forever Strong” and McKay Daines who teamed up with Michael Flynn to direct and produce “The Dance” a movie that has little to nothing to do with Garth Brooks’ chart topping country ballad by the same name.

So far in 2007, the LDS-themed movies seem to be in good hands. Now, if the marketing aspect could just be fine-tuned a little more so more could be find out about the movies before they got dumped from the theatres after only one weekend.


dutcher is no longer a practicing member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. i doubt we will be seeing much more from him as far as LDS movies go.

what happened

do you have any idea why he left (or was asked to leave)??

Something about a Buddhist boat

He made his decision to leave the church public here.

...And wrote a follow-up here.