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LDS Film Festival plays Peery's Egyptian Theater

Thursday , July 31, 2014 - 11:13 AM

Standard-Examiner staff

Editor’s note: The film lineup was updated July 31.

The public open houses begin Aug. 1 for the newly renovated Ogden Temple, and visitors are expected to arrive in droves for their appointments to tour the space, which is sacred to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Peery’s Egyptian Theater, which enjoyed its own renovation in 1997, wanted to join the party, showcase its own digs, and add some enjoyment for the expected visitors.

The Egyptian will do just that with its own LDS Film Festival, comprised of informative documentaries, dramas inspired by church history, and comedies based on church culture.

“Weber County, who we work for, basically, talked about a lot of things happening downtown for the temple opening,” said Shirley Genus, Peery’s Egyptian Theater’s director. “We wanted to make sure people got a chance to see what Ogden and the theater have to offer.

“We were quite happy when we started diving into LDS films we could offer, and were delighted to see how many comedies, dramas and documentaries there are.”

Working with a committee from the LDS Church, the theater ended up with 18 films. In addition, the Northridge Stake, in Layton, will produce the stage play “Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection,” with six performances between Aug. 22 and 30.

All film screenings and play performances are free at the theater, at 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden.

(The Ogden Temple address is 350 22nd St. For tour reservations, visit Tours continue through Sept. 6, excluding Sundays.)

The films to be screened range from the 1997 PBS special, “American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith,” narrated by Gregory Peck, to the more playful “Mobsters and Mormons,” a 2005 comedy about a Mafia family placed by the witness relocation program into an all Mormon community in Utah.

Falling somewhere between are the dramas based on LDS Church history, including “17 Miracles” and “Ephraim’s Rescue,” both of which touch on the tragedy and heroism surrounding the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies, which began their westward journeys too late in the season.

The comedies based on church culture include “Singles Ward” (2002), “Singles 2nd Ward” and “Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy.”

“These are all just things for people to come to Ogden to see, in honor of the temple opening,” Genus said. “There is nothing better than seeing some of these movies on this wonderful screen. It’s going to be fun.”

Genus said she doesn’t know if individual screenings and performances will draw three viewers or 800, but the Egyptian will be ready for anything.

For more information, visit or call the theater at 801-689-8700 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Here’s the lineup, with film descriptions drawn from and other sources.

Aug. 1

American Mormon” (2005, unrated), 2 p.m. An interviewer and a camera operator tour the country documenting the hilarious misconceptions people have about Latter-day Saints.

“Saints and Soldiers” (2003, PG-13), 7 p.m. Four American soldiers and one Brit fighting in Europe during World War II struggle to return to allied territory after being separated from U.S. forces.

Aug. 2

“Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story” (2007, unrated, a BYUTV production) and “John M. Browning - Four Generations of Browning Gun Designers” (the John M. Browning Firearms Museum video), 2 p.m.

“Sweetwater Rescue” reenacts an act of heroism when the stranded members of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were rescued by the Saints in Salt Lake. “John M. Browning” follows Browning gun designers from different generations.

“17 Miracles” (2011, PG), 7 p.m. The Willie Handcart Company leaves for Utah too late in the season, and faces tragedy, but also 17 miracles.

Aug. 4

“Mobsters and Mormons” (2005, PG), 7 p.m. A mafia family from New Jersey is placed by the witness relocation program into a Mormon community in Utah.

Aug. 6

“The Errand of Angels” (2008, PG), 7 p.m. A wide-eyed female missionary arrives in Austria to begin her 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and faces cultural and personal adjustments, which test her faith, forgiveness, and charity.

Aug. 7

• “Storm Riders” (2013, PG), 7 p.m. When her father is put into jail, the spoiled teenager Dani must move in with her uncle, and work on his farm, training a mule, to learn what really counts.

Aug. 8

“Sacred Stone: Temple on the Mississippi” (2002, unrated, a BYUTV production), 2 p.m. This TV special tells the story of the Nauvoo Temple.

“Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy” (2003, PG), 7 p.m. Author Jane Austen’s 1813 classic is transplanted to modern Utah.

Aug. 9

“The Singles Ward” (2002, PG), 2 p.m. When a recently divorced man is thrust back into the world of being a single Mormon, he resists joining a singles ward until he meets a young woman who makes the ward seem more appealing.

“The Singles 2nd Ward” (2007, PG), 7 p.m. A young LDS man falls in love at first sight, even though the young woman’s non-member parents can’t see it. At the Utah nuptials, future in-laws clash.

Aug. 11

• “The Other Side of Heaven” (2001, PG), 7 p.m. A farm kid from Idaho Falls, crosses an ocean to become a missionary in the remote and exotic Tongan islands during the 1950s.

Aug. 13

“Baptists at Our Barbecue” (2004, PG), 7 p.m. This romantic comedy is set in the fictional Longwinded, a feuding town of 262 Mormons and 262 Baptists.

Aug. 14

“Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail” (1997, unrated, a PBS production), 2 p.m. The story of the westward emigration of more than 70,000 people.

Aug. 15

“The Best Two Years” (2003, PG), 2 p.m. Two pairs of LDS missionaries from America live in a rundown apartment in the Netherlands. The four men’s personalities are distinctly different, as are their challenges and reactions to hardship, in this dramatic comedy.

“Ephraim’s Rescue” (2013, PG), 7 p.m. Based on a true story, Ephraim Hanks provides relief and rescue to the suffering Martin Handcart Company.

Aug. 16

“American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith” (1999, unrated, a PBS production), 7 p.m. Gregory Peck narrated the story of the founder of the LDS Church.

The stage show

“Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection,” a live theater production, will be performed at 7 p.m. Aug. 22, 23, 25 and 29; and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 30.

Contact Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or Follow her on Twitter at @SE_NancyVanV; on Facebook at

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