We believe in the power of cinema to inspire and change culture. The man our story is based on, Captain Moroni (mor - oh - nigh), was a mighty hero of the pre-Columbian New World. Of him it is written, "if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." Though he had much prowess as a military leader of defensive warfare, yet of his days it is written, "behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni." We believe the world will benefit greatly by coming to know the honorable man, Captain Moroni, on the silver screen.
Actor/Director, Darin Southam and his wife, Michelle, are in this together as well as the many who have lent their talents to the project thus far. Selling a home of 8 years and giving everything to pursue an endeavor (especially when there is no guarantee of reaching full funding) certainly reveals much about a one’s commitment and motives. The producers are committed to making nothing less than a worldwide blockbuster film based on the 4th “Most Influential Book in America”. Our motives are simple: Flood the earth with the coolest (action-packed and inspirational) stories the world has ever seen, as taken from the Book of Mormon.
Absolutely, YES! If you are a freedom-loving patriot of liberty, you will support making this film. It’d be the “Christian” thing to do ;).
Of course, as Christians, we read many books about Christ that are not the Bible. C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling”, or Max Lucado’s “Fearless”, for example, are excellent Christian choices. But these books may be (and often are) written by pastors from Church denominations other than our own. Does this mean we up and change our Church just because we read a book from a different denomination? Of course not.
Of the Book of Mormon’s 239 chapters, 174 of them (73%) deal with war, terrorism, murder, political conspiracies, secret combinations, threats, family collusions, and other hostilities. These are universal themes 100% of the world understands. In contrast, the Book of Mormon also references Jesus nearly 4000 times as “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”. It's one of the most Christ-soaked books on the planet. With these merits, Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty is a war epic based on a book capable of attracting one of the largest, most ideologically-diverse audiences in history. It’s no wonder the Book of Mormon will soon be the 9th most translated book in the world approaching nearly 150 languages. But here’s the thing, if you’re not member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the book is just another book about Jesus that's also chock full of universally-relatable themes. Whether in a different religion or in no religion at all, you should support this epic film. Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty is really just an action-packed entertaining story about the blood cost price of LIBERTY that is soaked in the Spirit of Freedom. A period action film that follows a people who fled Jerusalem to declare independence from from the oppressive king Zedekiah.
If you want to know something really interesting, the man our story centers around, Captain Moroni, actually coined the phrase “Christian” in 73 BC. Think of it, the inhabitants of ancient America had such faith in Christ they took upon themselves His name, even before He became flesh on earth. “And thus (Moroni) was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians. And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored (Alma 48:10)."
Please, especially if you're Christian, buy and share our concept short film, make a donation, or make an investment in our film, which represents your love of liberty, peace, and freedom that Christ affords His children. You won’t regret it!
We are aiming for an MPAA rating of “PG-13”. We appreciate the concern expressed with this question and realize it is a sensitive matter. First, we have to be honest with ourselves about the book this film is based on and what the historian General, Mormon, chose to put in it.
As with Passion of The Christ, for example, portrayed authentically sometimes means an MPAA “R” rating. The realities of warfare and fighting for freedom actually make up the majority of the Book of Mormon (73%), juxtaposed to the fact there are also nearly 4,000 mentions of Christ throughout the record. Obviously, the historian Captain Mormon saw great parallels in their warfare with following (or not following) God and this is why he chose to include them in such raw detail.
It has long been said by many, if an authentic movie was made about the Book of Mormon it would have an MPAA rating of “R” and this is the truth if it truly showed what is written. However, there is a choice in filmmaking to focus on gore rather than the motives for the conflict. We are choosing the latter. Gore is distracting and can be an excuse for good storytelling. Motives, on the other hand, are inspiring. Besides, we're aiming for the Reign of Judges saga to eventually hit the top 50 films of all time and not a single one of the top 50 has an MPAA rating of "R".
The warfare in Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty will be real and authentic-- nothing will be watered down, but it will not be distractingly gory. The focus will remain on the struggle of good vs. evil, freedom vs. captivity.
Although our concept short film, for example, has not been rated by the MPAA, it has been rated by 2 provinces of Canada and received a "PG" rating in both, generally equivalent to the MPAA "PG-13".
Absolutely, YES! Filmmaking, as with any business, is all about how many people we can employ who will lend their talents to the project and distribute (delegate) the intense rigor of production. If too few people are doing too many things, detail is lost. It is no stretch that Darin and his wife, Michelle, have personally invested more than $300,000 of their time and money into this project.
Moroni’s armor alone costs more than some people make in a year. The armor for an army is extremely costly, the visual effects are extremely costly, the costumes, actors, food, transportation, room and board, etc. It is a massive (miraculous) coordination of effort to make a movie.
JJ Abrams was completely spent after "The Force Awakens". Peter Jackson nearly disappeared with all the weight he lost filming "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy. Filmmaking is rigorous but the more funds that are available the more the load is eased and the better the resulting product. It’s also a lot more FUN to make movie magic when we have magical resources to make that magic!
The Church has made no official statements for or against our project, at least not by name. However, the Church has strongly encouraged (especially in recent addresses) the production of independent media by its members and has called for its members to financially support such independent media efforts. Logically, this would include Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty. We have not taken (and do not intend to take in the future) funds from the Church to make this film, even if offered, which they have not. When Actor/Director, Darin Southam, starred in "Ephraim's Rescue", a private screening was offered and well attended by many general authorities of the Church. Our production team, as a courtesy, extended a similar invitation for a private screening of our concept short film to the First Presidency of the Church, which they declined, citing recent policy changes (not for lack of interest). The Church has not offered to help fund our film nor could they, as the Church is a non-profit organization. Southam has appeared in at least 7 official Church productions. He has also produced two “Mormon Messages” (as an independently-contracted production company) for the Church.
Southam’s first “Mormon Message," called "Saving Your Marriage", was the fastest-approved message in the history of the campaign at the time it was delivered, being approved by all respective general authorities in less than 48 hours. Southam is well familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' production processes, talent, and workflows.
A recent address, given August 3, 2018 by Elder Kevin W. Pearson (on official assignment from the First Presidency of the Church), makes clear the Church is actively pleading with its individual members to produce independent media on all media platforms. Elder Pearson also pled with Church members to financially support such organizations and individual members who were seeking to create such media. You can watch the highlights of Elder Pearson's address here: https://youtu.be/OwY9ileA8P0
In addition, the Church's own doctrine states “Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness (D&C 58:27).” One definition of the word anxious means “Wanting something very much, typically with a feeling of unease.” Southam has wanted this story portrayed in worldwide theaters since he was a young boy. With the exception of finding the love of his life and having a family, he has never wanted anything more anxiously in his entire existence.
The Church is a non-profit organization with layers upon layers of approval. Stated plainly, they’re not in the business of worldwide blockbuster filmmaking. The Church is, in fact, currently in production with some Book of Mormon vignettes for a new Book of Mormon Audio Visual library, like the Bible videos they did recently. These will likely not reach many who are outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and almost certainly won’t reach the masses. The Book of Mormon is a universally-read book by religious and irreligious alike, destined to reach the masses. We believe cinema is the way to do this.
Our film is about a hero who lived 2000 years ago and rallied his people to the call of freedom to save a dwindling nation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints espouses a doctrine of inclusion. The epic stories from The Book of Mormon were intended for the masses and they won't reach the masses unless the film is done independently. The stories must be portrayed in a way the world can understand-- EPIC and with the a necessary allowance of creative freedom.
Our specific locations have not been chosen yet. There is much to consider, including budget and the time of year we are filming. Locations are chosen once the script is locked and we begin pre-production.
There is much speculation as to where Book of Mormon events took place. We’re also not naive that some think they didn’t take place at all. The focus of our film is not to convince every scientific inquirer of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
Our purpose is to deliver an action-packed experience filled with love, epic conflict, and freedom, guaranteed to be riveting. Does it really matter that they didn’t use kilts in the time Braveheart took place? Likewise, the Book of Mormon was never intended as a geographical book. We know Book of Mormon subjects lived on the ancient American Continent and there is good reason to suppose it was in North America, as the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated were unearthed in Manchester, NY.
We’ve made strong historical choices that reflect what we know today and create the feeling of an ancient world that will envelope viewers. You’re gonna love it!
No. In fact, 90% of the cast and crew on our concept short film, as an example, were not members of the Church of Jesus Christ. One of our consulting producers is a born-again Christian and he is thrilled about this project. Nearly all the Hollywood professionals we’ve consulted have been very supportive of (and genuinely intrigued with) what we are doing.
Yes, the Writer/Director, Darin Southam, is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has made a lifelong study of the Book of Mormon and is an enthusiastic fan of Captain Moroni.
Mark Burnett did a masterful job of producing the Bible and Son of God. Mel Gibson did the same with The Passion of The Christ. Should we not see these movies because they're both Catholic? Of course not. Likewise, we will employ the best talent in Hollywood, but we also feel it's important to have a few team members who are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ and can provide the necessary knowledge of the source material.
No. He is said to have translated it from ancient gold plates, which he discovered (through the help of a Heavenly Messenger) in a buried concrete depository located in modern day Manchester, NY.
One cannot allege Joseph Smith wrote (or invented) the Book of Mormon without, at the same time, giving him much unintended credit. Joseph Smith was a farmhand with only 3 years of formal education. He could not formulate a coherent sentence according to his wife, Emma Smith. To say he invented 531 pages of text, teeming with literary and Semitic complexity, without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages, is akin to saying Joseph Smith was a prodigy unlike any we’ve ever seen.
To put it another way, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Heber J. Grant, said, “I cannot understand how any intelligent (person) could think that anyone without the help of the Lord could have produced the Book of Mormon.”