The LDS Film Festival was founded in 2001 by Austrian filmmaker Christian Vuissa, who envisioned a place for LDS filmmakers to network with each other and showcase their work to an appreciative audience. The festival is independently organized and not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since 2006, the festival has found a perfect venue at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, Utah.
The LDS Film Festival strives to annually present a diverse spectrum of films that represent the status quo of current LDS filmmaking. At the same time, the LDS Film Festival seeks to discuss what LDS filmmaking should be or could be. The festival’s LDS Film Forum presents papers by LDS scholars and academics that deal with different theoretical aspects of Mormon filmmaking. Discourses, discussions and exposure to different ideas and thoughts are all encouraged.
The LDS Film Festival has grown tremendously over the last few years. What began as a short film festival, is now a major event that showcases an impressive array of feature films, special screenings and short films. Over the last ten years, attendance has been steady, averaging 4000-7000 visitors each year. Since its inception, the LDS Film Festival has premiered dozens of theatrical releases and screened hundreds of films. Regional, national, and international media have all reported from and about the festival, including The Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Premiere Magazine.
The LDS Film Festival also offers a unique atmosphere with dozens of filmmakers attending the festival and mingling with each other and the audience. Experienced filmmakers share their knowledge with younger filmmakers in informative presentations, and almost every screening at the festival is followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers. Additionally, the festival draws industry professionals, distributors, and broadcast media looking for content.
The LDS Film Festival encourages a practical approach to filmmaking. One of the most popular events of the festival is the 24-hour filmmaking marathon. Over the last years, over 400 short films have been created in just 24 hours, some of them going on to win prizes and awards at festivals nationwide. The festival also initiated the 7-page script competition and produced several short films from scripts that were submitted to the festival. The festival’s Short Film Competion has launched and supported the career of several aspiring filmmakers in our community. Since its inception, the LDS Film Festival has awarded and paid out over $45,000 in cash awards to young LDS filmmakers.
While the LDS Film Festival was started to support LDS filmmakers, non-LDS filmmakers’ work has always been welcomed and appreciated. Religious affiliation of the filmmaker has never been asked and is not a condition for participation.