Christian Vuissa started the LDS Film Festival in 2001, showcasing film with a uniquely Mormon message and feel. Now its 13th year, the festival is held the historic SCERA center in Orem, Utah. As the films draw from a necessarily small base of filmmakers, the results have been somewhat uneven. However a few screenings have stood out. A screening on Thursday the 6th showed 5 theatrical and documentary shorts dealing with gender identity, sexual orientation, and the church. The first was by Torben Bernhard documenting a young trans-woman, the second and third were by Stephen Williams and were theatrical shorts dealing with male homosexuality and the church. Then Kendall Wilcox showed two documentaries. One was about Wilem, a gay punk rocker from Seattle who is a devout Mormon. The other was about the "It Gets Better" project at Brigham Young University. There was a discussion afterward with great input from the filmmakers and from the audience.

 

Friday morning, Christian Vuissa is offering (currently as of this writing) a discussion and presentation on Mormon cinema. He started out talking about the Saratov Approach, directed by Garret Batty as a Mormon blockbuster. Then he went onto talking about the general trends in film making as it applies to the greater film world, questions of quality, and where the Festival sits in the broader scheme of Mormon art and publishing. 

 

Overall, I find the level of quality coming out of Utah in film is of a surprisingly high quality and there is a real drive to tell a personal story. This "missionary" zeal exists perhaps because of the theology but is often a very personal statement.

 

Other great films found are by Rob Diamond (Prodigal Son story with gambling and gun play) and "Missed Connections" by Brandon Ho.

Posted
AuthorBrad Hawkins

I've followed Brent Heflin McHenry for a little bit and he always has insightful ways to spur the composition bug His recent post had a piece that he wrote using Common Tone Voice Leading wherein you keep as many notes as possible from a chord and move one or two with the music developing in a slow, often methodical pace. It's handy when you want to underscore stuff that is rather neutral and then want to add some acid but not change the texture. It's pretty cool and subtle.

I added my own version of his piece, using his staring voicing as my jumping in point. His makes a complete jump from bars 4 to 5 but is an excellent example as well.

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Posted
AuthorBrad Hawkins

I've been tasked by a group of music teachers to compose violin and cello parts for a series of well known student piano pieces. The first example is a screen shot of  "Canyons and Waterfalls" by Melody Bober, who has been very supportive of this endeavor. I am in talks with Ms. Bober's publisher to see about getting this out to a broader audience. In the mean time, if you want to see it performed, you will have to come to Tacoma, WA on the first weekend in November.

First page of the Piano Trio Version of "Canyons and Waterfalls" by Melody Bober

First page of the Piano Trio Version of "Canyons and Waterfalls" by Melody Bober

Posted
AuthorBrad Hawkins