An Open Letter to Larry H Miller
A week or two ago, I saw “American Zion”, and I just came home from watching “States of Grace”. Not only did I enjoy them both very much, but I left the theater walking taller, with a spirit about me that strengthened my testimony of the Restored Gospel. “Grace”, in particular, left me crying like a baby, much the same way that “Brigham City” did.
It occurs to me that we are in a very interesting time in the “Mormon Cinema” movement. The initial fascination and novelty is wearing off, and people are beginning to be more and more discriminating in their judgments of the shows they’re seeing. As I read the discussion and debate in forums on the ‘net, and read the reviews of the various movies, I find that there’s a lot of diversity of opinions. This or that movie is great, but, no, it’s not worth your time and money… Bla, bla, bla, yadda, yadda.
To a certain extent, the discussion is good. If the scene wasn’t getting buzz, it wouldn’t be a scene, right? The fact that people are talking about it means that, for good or ill, it’s having an impact.
There is also much discussion about the business aspects of the movement. Many movies are made, but how many of them actually earn back their production and promotion costs? How many of them make money for their investors, like you?
I don’t know the answers to those questions. I don’t know how many of the LDS films you have bankrolled or contributed to. All I know is that you’ve helped on enough of them to have a big impact on the ongoing movement.
Often it’s the actors, or the directors that get the most attention. In a way that’s good and right, because it’s their artistic vision that’s being shared. But I also know that without people like you backing them up, that vision would never be shown.
So, I’d like to publicly thank you, Mr. Miller, for helping to present cinematic art that has touched my life and helped me to see how to become a better person. I also don’t know how many other people have felt like I do. Nor do I know how to quantify that in terms of dollars and return on investment.
All I know is that tonight, I sat with my wife and some good friends in a dark theater and discovered a deeper understanding about the power of the Atonement, and in a large part, I have you to thank for that.