Elite Team of LDS Film Makers to Produce Epic
Book of Mormon Story for Giant Screen Release
Salt Lake City, UT - April 30, 2001 — A group of accomplished LDS filmmakers have begun development on the first of a series of epic motion pictures based on stories from the Book of Mormon. The slate of films will be presented in the large screen format (i.e., IMAX).
The first movie in the series, "Safe Passage," dramatically
portrays the trial-laden exodus of Lehi's family from Jerusalem in 600 B.C.,
across the life-threatening Arabian desert and the stunning oceanic crossing, to
the safety of the new world.
The production will utilize the talent of seasoned LDS filmmakers and other top industry professionals. Headed by Steven DeVore, founder of SyberVision Systems, the group consists of Scott Swofford (Vineyard Productions), Quinn Coleman (Warner Bros), Peter Johnson (award-winning director) and Reed Smoot, (award-winning cinematographer).
Executive producer DeVore is known for a $25,000 budgeted video documentary he wrote and produced in 1986 that resulted in over $125 million in revenues.
Swofford has extensive production experience resulting in acclaimed and financially successful large format commercial films as well as popular LDS themed productions such as the current "Testaments."
Smoot is one of the most prolific photographers of large format films. He has
shot many of the most popular IMAX films, including Cirque de Soleil's
"Journey of Man," "Galapagos," and, teaming with Swofford,
"Mysteries of Egypt," and the current IMAX hit, "Shackleton’s
Coleman, head of Worldwide Co-Productions and Acquisitions for Warner Bros. Studios, has been responsible for bringing many popular films to the theater, the most recent being the highly acclaimed "The Dish," one of Australia's top grossing domestic hits.
Johnson, who was recruited from Hollywood in 1983 to revamp the academic film
program at BYU and later to upgrade the BYU Motion Picture Studio, has written
and directed films for
television, most notably the regional EMMY award-winning, "A More Perfect Union," which was also nominated for a national EMMY. Formerly Executive Producer with the Audiovisual Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Johnson also directed the highly acclaimed and popular "Mountain of the Lord."
"This is an exciting opportunity," states DeVore " to work with some of the most accomplished
LDS filmmakers to bring to life tales from this special book. The giant screen format (eight story high screen) will enable audiences to vicariously experience one of the world's greatest stories on the world's largest screen."
Coleman believes that the LDS worldwide audience and backend video sales are
significant enough to profitably support the film's multi-million dollar million
"We have done our homework, analyzed the numbers," claims Coleman, "and feel that the large screen LDS epic is a winner, especially when you factor in word-of-mouth and video sales."
"Safe Passage" is targeted for release in mid-2002.
DeVore and Johnson are currently in production on the documentary version of Lehi's journey from Jerusalem to ancient America. Working in association with the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies at BYU (FARMS), they will spend a month in Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Jerusalem filming the documentary prelude to the large screen dramatic version.
Also in development from the producers are other LDS-themed epic films for the large screen including the story of the restoration and the epic pioneer journey.