For more information and to see the film’s trailer, visit missionstories.com
Film Opens Exclusively in Theaters on Friday, May 7
Excel Entertainment announced today the creation of a new media franchise, MISSION STORIES, focused entirely on telling stories of missionaries for The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. The franchise launches with the theatrical release of MISSION STORIES, a moving retelling of three true stories of missionary work. The theatrical trailer for the film debuts on Wednesday, April 7 at missionstories.com and the feature film opens exclusively in theaters on Friday, May 7 distributed jointly with Purdie Distribution.
Assembled as an anthology of three stories told over four chapters, the project was created by the filmmaking team of Bryce Clark (writer, producer, director), Jason Allred (producer), Crystal Myler (writer) and Arthur Van Wagenen (executive producer) after meeting with a full room of former mission presidents and their companions. “We heard so many incredible stories — story after story of events that cannot be simply coincidences,” explained Bryce Clark. “Every story shows that God has his hand in the work and people’s lives are being transformed and saved through this work.”
“People assume they know what a “mission story” depicted on the big screen will be like,” said Arthur Van Wagenen. “Our goal in this film and the entire MISSION STORIES franchise is to tell stories from not just the perspective of missionaries, but from the perspective of people who make the radical choice to become disciples of Jesus Christ.”
The film tells three true stories, including “Hermanos” that focuses on a father overcoming a crisis of faith so that he can baptize his family. “Chuck” tells the story of a man questioning whether God truly loves him and learning to see himself as God does. Finally, “Full Circle” is told in the opening and closing chapters of the film, and shows that the power of faith applied over years or even decades can ultimately bear fruit in overcoming spiritual issues as serious as depression and addiction.
“’Full Circle’ is an especially personal story for me because a character is based on me and the culmination of this story played out as we were developing this project,” explained Clark. “When people watch the film they’ll see when people struggle the Lord never gives up on them, and how the faith of others can help rescue them. I hope sharing this story may inspire others who are facing similar challenges.”
“The MISSION STORIES film is only the first step in creating a full Mission Stories brand and media franchise,” said Van Wagenen. “We are creating an avenue where people can submit their own mission stories which can be shared with the world to help increase people’s faith and sense of worth.”
Going forward, Mission Stories will become an incubator for up-and-coming writers and directors who will continue to tell these important stories for years to come.”
For more information and to see the film’s trailer, visit missionstories.com
FULL CIRCLE: MISSION STORIES ANTHOLOGY
OCTOBER 9, 2020 – JANUARY 3, 2021
Full Circle: Mission Stories Anthology (Episodic, Faith/Family)
Production Dates: October 9, 2020 – January 3, 2021
Principal Photography: October 26, 2020 – November 13, 2020
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Ready for this? Hi, is Chuck permitting that at least me testimonial people? I guess it seems kind of weird. A guy like me is the one to teach you. You’re definitely not like my priest.
How come they call you sisters but the dudes elders? Shouldn’t they be brothers?
We can tell you we believe. But the beauty of the gospel is that you have a right to know for yourself.
The important thing is belief. So how’s that working for all of us? I’ve had that. Give me your number of things before.
Anyone ever called? No, not one. It’s so peaceful here and I can’t make it here. I sing songs to create my own peaceful place. You’re more spawn than you realize.
I’ve had an impression. I need to transfer you one last time, OK? Why would God care what happens to a bunch of drunks?
My dad said that he would disown me if I joined the church. I want to give up everything that we talked about last time.
If you’re willing to keep his commitments, he’ll bless her efforts. I know this is what people say, but you’re in my prayers. Fear not doing because I’m more than happy with that. If you want happiness, it’s your decision. Jesus stuff from talk radio before my time of Mercy extent, to which. And whosoever will come. Will they receive? And for. That’s how Christ feels about you. That’s how he feels about us. Wow. Oh, my goodness, how exciting.
Hello, everybody, my name is Jenny Dye.
I am joining you this sunny, beautiful and kind of windy evening from Provo, Utah. Today, we are going to be discussing the upcoming film soon to be released, Mission Stories. We are very excited today to have three special guests and we will get to all three of them on board. We’ve got Bryce Clark, who’s the writer and director. We’ve got Nadia Sine, who is an actress who plays Sister Washington in the film, and then also Nick Matthews, another actor who plays Darren in the film.
I think I didn’t mention that we are broadcasting for Meridian Magazine tonight, and that Mission Stories is part of Purdie Distribution and Excel Entertainment. We’re very excited about this.
I’ll tell you, I, uh, living locally I’ve seen ads for this up and down the freeway everywhere I drive. And wow, what what an interesting concept to have this mission stories film. So first, I’d like to welcome, like I mentioned before, the writer and director of Mission Stories, Bryce Clark.
Welcome, Bryce. Thanks.
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Yes, of course.
We’re so happy. Thank you for for spending your time.
Before we begin, I want to mention and we will mention this throughout, but but mission stories will be in theaters on May 7.
And you can get your tickets right now at MissionStories.com.
And like I said before, we’ll be mentioning that kind of throughout, just as a reminder, because I know that’s something that people are going to ask for. Everyone who’s joining us on this on this live stream, we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to know where you’re watching from. If you could leave a comment, let us know where you are. And if you have heard of this film, if you’re looking forward to it, we’d love to know your thoughts and we’ll get to as many of those comments as we can.
Bryce, again, thank you, co-writer and director of Mission Stories. I’m just going to go right ahead and get right into it.
A film called Mission Stories, presumably about mission stories.
I didn’t serve a mission. Is this film for me?
Well, I didn’t either.
Now what? So you didn’t serve a mission either, and here you are, the writer and director of a film called Mission Stories. You want to give us some history of how we got here today to have this conversation
About two years ago, I was contacted by Doosra Book to develop a TV series called Mission Stories, which would take true stories from the mission field and dramatized them for a TV series that would launch a new streaming app for Desert, a book called Desperate Video and. There’s some personal stuff I have to tell you. No, it’s not like all this business, but after I started the project and I ended up in. And I assumed that my Mormons was missing, for he was a recovering alcoholic, not sober and probably not going to make mention stories.
But while I was in treatment, I realized that an active part of the story and maybe in treatment was the victim of it’s one of the chapters on the film. The film is an anthology. It’s it’s three of the episodes that we’re going to be the series that you start picking up. So we realized that in this episode, the synthetic life stories. And so I started to write a script with. And we begin with what we’ve heard, all we can tell these stories for so many of them and so funny, and they lend themselves.
30 minute short stories, in essence. Look at these these first three are released at. Well, you know, you make you make a great point, and that is that there are so many mission stories, many who are paying attention and watching this this broadcast right now have served missions, certainly, or they know someone who was a missionary who has been affected by by missionaries in their life. How how do you how do you. Land on the three that you’ve begun with for this film, and just as a as a side note here, there seems to be a problem with audio a little bit like, yeah, as you go all kind of we’ll try to figure this out.
So the audio is more clear. OK, well, like I said, the first one is a story that I’m involved with. It started when I should have been serving a mission. A friend of mine joined the church and took the discussions in my house with my parents and two missionaries. He hit it off with one of the missionaries in that missionary home, the news of his life in drugs and alcohol, multiple occasions. It’s really hard stuff, but in writing letters, emails, phone calls, remarking that he was the one that caught my friend and a little over two years ago, my friend throughout the book and read that.
And I went to London when I heard this elder story because I realized that I needed the help that he. And so in a very strange way, both before and after the plane, totally accidentally, then the missionaries who taught them the night of the Turkish crew that the second story is and it’s so we got that story and that’s about what this is about. I don’t want to give away what’s in is so sorry. Really quickly. It’s there’s something again with the audio.
Oh, there you are again. OK. It’s just kind of. Kind of. And I just want to say for anyone who had a hard time hearing that you were saying that the first story because there are three in this film. Correct. Correct. So the first one is is a personal story for you, because it is kind of someone who, like you said, a friend of yours at the time when you would have maybe been going to Syria and who who joined the church and went into remission himself.
But but it’s a lot about the relationship between your friend and the Missionary Baptist on the site when you’re saying is called Hermanos.
Hermanos, yes, and that one is in Spanish with subtitles and involves a miracle. And I don’t want to give away the miracle because it’s kind of part of watching that story, but it’s really powerful. And then Chuck is another story that involves recovery and redemption. And so there are all schematically lenses that would make great and of so. And so we’re launching this new mission, Sports Brandt, with a new series on the A screaming app. And then I want.
Awesome. OK, so these three, like you said, it’s those are part of the feature film, the three included in this film Full Circle and Monos and Chuck, and then moving forward on the streaming app, there will be a show, including even more mission stories going to the the part that is the story of Chuck. I’d like to go ahead and bring on Nadia Sanei, who’s an actor from from that portion of the film. She plays Sister Washington.
Nadia, welcome. Oh, just one moment. There we go. Can you hear me now? Yes, yes, yes. I mean, is that the phrase from yesterday or what? So, yeah. Welcome. Thank you for being with us tonight.
I’m so grateful. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
How did you come to be involved with mission stories? Well, I’m a full time actress and through my agency, I got the opportunity to audition for this film and luckily I got chosen for this role. And yeah, the rest is history.
Excellent. Do you know how much of the work that you do as a full time actress is religious themed?
Um, to be honest, not much. So for this to be my first feature film, it’s a really interesting start, but I’m really grateful for the opportunity to serve this part of a self serving mission. Oh, yeah, I did. You serve. So I. Sergeant Temple Square in Salt Lake. Yes. So then I also did a what we call outbound assignment, just a very personal trip to Bronx, New York, for three months.
And then I came back to finish my mission.
Yeah, I’m sure you have a lot of stories that you could you could probably share moving forward for on the desert streaming app, having a mission yourself. So, so. So you. You’re a full time actress, you book this piece. How is this different, this feature film? You said this is your first feature film.
Mm hmm. And how beyond that experience of being a feature film, how was this different from from other from previous work that you’ve done?
I must say, I was able to relate a lot to the storyline given I to serve a mission. But I must say that it was a very different experience, even from, you know, even from me serving in Temple Square. Like I didn’t walk around knocking on doors, like, you know, like I did in this movie. And so it was just like those little differences that kind of took took me back into my system just in a different place and a different perspective.
Got it. It was like reflective, but also. A new way to to see a missionary. Yeah, yeah, Bryce, are all the the actors involved in this project? Are they local? I mean, was this was this filmed and completely made in Utah? Yes, and because of the pandemic, we could not travel anyone from out of state, so all of the crew and all of the cast are from Utah. And it was great to come in and have the actors be so talented.
And I saw Nadia’s audition and I was like, who is this is amazing. Who is this? And and she was she’s so great in the role.
She’s just wonderful. And that was true of everyone that we cast was.
Agreed. She is wonderful. Her character is one of my my favorites from from some speaking of excellent local talent. I’d also like to bring on Nick Matthews. He is an actor who plays the role of Darren in the piece called Full Circle. Now, I’m sure that and we can talk about this in a minute, rice with rice. But that full circle isn’t just one piece of of this film. This film, even though it covers three million stories, it is not just this one and this one, then this one.
And so welcome to you, Nick. Thank you for being with us tonight. Thank you, Jenny. Great to be here.
So so tell us about your experience similar to Nadia. We just learned that from Bryce that that the pandemic played played a part in this in and just kind of just six of creating the film. And so how was the experience for you? Yeah, pandemic wise, it was very interesting between masks on, masks off, I mean, sitting in hair and makeup and then not wanting to mess up the job because you put your mask back on and hustle back and forth.
Also doing such a major project like this with only self taped auditions, you know, because that’s for safety. We had to do it from home and not in a casting room that’s always has its own challenges. But, yeah, very interesting year to make movies last year. Yeah.
How did how did the story of full circle touch you? I mean, how was that? Is there any aspect of it for you that really that really was significant and special? Yeah, I think I think one of the biggest things about my story is, I mean, not only is it a story about redemption, I think for me the thing that touched me most was. Being willing to be vulnerable and ask for help, I think that’s something whether it’s we feel pride, whether we feel shame, asking for help is hard.
It’s a lifelong loss. That was one of the most about the role. It’s very well written. Do you agree? I agree. You know, and and it kind of it reminds me, just going back to what I said earlier in his own introduction, that he he doesn’t have experience serving a full time traditional mission, the kind that we think of when we when we talk about mission stories. And also he himself, you know, is a recovering alcoholic.
And and while a part of us might initially think, oh, that’s that doesn’t kind of fit the mold of of who who would be the first city to do this project to fulfill that role. The reality is, like you just mentioned, Nick, we all are in need of help. It just looks it looks different for every every person. And I love I love that idea of redemption. I feel like in in each of the three stories presented in this film, redemption is kind of a recurring theme.
Or maybe that’s just part of life because that is such a core tenet of gospel. Absolutely. I wish I could speak to the three. I only know my story. I know Bryce is very well versed. But from what I’ve seen, what I know, these three stories are, as Brandt said, immaculate redemption coming back, coming back, coming back to, you know, where you belong, where you really belong and. I can’t wait to see it.
What’s so exciting? That’s so great, Bryce. Like we mentioned before. Though these three stories are, you know, make up the bulk of what the story’s film is, it isn’t they aren’t presented sequentially. So is place. Yeah. So I just want to talk about that a minute, because, like I said, it isn’t like like the movie opens and it’s your story. One hears a story, too. And, you know, I don’t want to give too much away.
But I’m wondering, Bryce, if you could if you could talk about that and kind of the decision to to format it that way. I really liked it. I thought it was was well done. Yeah, I mean, we realized that we had a story in full circle that was a little bit longer than the other two, and so we felt that bookend in the movie with that story was the right strategy. And in watching this film, it just feels right.
It just feels like it has a good flow through. And even though each of the stories are standalone stories, the themes are so similar that it feels like one piece. What we have every story has its own. And so it was like making these short films. And but I think they work together as one piece quite well.
Agree with the what what is something that each of you again, this is we’re talking about mission stories.
We’re talking with Christ Clark not easily. And McMath’s is from the film Mission Stories, which will be in theaters on May seven. You can go right now to mission stories dot com to buy your tickets in advance for those showings. And is it the we say it’s going to be shown in 40 theaters.
Yes, it’s starting in Utah and between 30 and 40 screens. And then based on how it’s received, it can go all over the country. So if people come out and support this film, it will go all over America. Eventually it will be available on video like iTunes and Amazon and move it. And then it will live on the desert forever after that. Got it. We’ve talked about this when we’ve been talking about other films before, but I just want to remind everyone just the importance of exactly what you just said, Christ, which is to a really great way to support local filmmaking.
And and, in fact, any filmmaking that you feel is worthwhile for yourself, for your families, for your unities, is to support those films in the first days and weekends of the screenings, wherever they may be, because what that leads to is potential wider distribution so that more people can see it. So I’ve seen some people in the comments, someone from South Carolina saying that they would love a showing. And so, you know, I’m going to throw it to the person, Kaysville, and say, go ahead and and go to that showing this weekend and bring everyone you know, I would like to hear from all three of you if you if there was something about about this film that you want people to know, what would that be next?
Can we start with you for that? Yeah, something that I want people to know about the film. Yeah. It is. I mean, to me, it’s almost grounded. You guys are based on real life stories, as I said, and that’s what adds to the groundedness of it. This is. These are the real stories that we can all relate to in some fashion. I think no matter what your background is, whether you’ve served the mission or not, whether you’ve been in the church or not, there are themes.
There are real elements and real stories here that we can all relate to. And there is something for everyone to be. Excellent. Thank you. Nadia, what about you? Something I’d like to say is that. When you watch them, the emotions are real, like the spirit is real, if I even felt it when I saw the trailer, I was I was amazed.
I was like, oh, you know, you always look like there’s like this, you know, facade and like film or like try to feel what they’re feeling. But all throughout shooting, I like that because I felt that at the time, you know, as a you have these real experiences and so you just connect so easily. Excellent. Thank you. And Bryce, what about you? Well, obviously, it’s pretty personal for me because I’m in one of the stories, but the thing that stood out to me about these stories and mission stories in general is how the Lord never gives up.
There, his armor of mercy is extended to us. Forever and it’s so clear in these stories there are things that seem like coincidences or random events or unrelated things that are part of a larger. And God’s role in our life is always better than I know because of my own place somewhere. But when you have, I see what’s important and that’s OK with me is that God is and also it’s the love and support that missionaries have, those that they teach, and then the support that those who they teach for others.
It’s not just a singular experience. Missionary stories that the impact Islam. And I feel like the ways that’s uniquely powerful. And I’m here for audiences and I think that. My hope is that is that God is not. God does not give up heaven. I love that, and I really like thank you for that. I really like what you’re saying about about kind of the expansion really of of the affect of people’s mission stories. Because when I think about it and I think the film does an excellent job of of displaying this very thoughtful.
But I did not serve a traditional full time mission. And yet and I think maybe for many of us, we’ve all been in a situation where people do start talking about their missions and sometimes it can feel a little exclusionary if I’m being honest. And yet many aspects of my life have been affected by missionary work from the time I was a little girl growing up in New York to the fact that now my daughter is married to a boy that they met while serving their missions together.
Those are mission stories that that are my stories that have nothing to do with my having served the mission. And I feel like because you have taken that aspect of it, that really is a more inclusionary way to bring the audience in to find and consider really their own stories. So, gosh, what a what a gift. Really quickly before we wrap up, what what can we look forward to with this with the streaming show on the Desmonte streaming out with Mormons Jesus?
Well, one of the things that I take away from this process, as I began to develop a TV show and then this film is that what missionary work is really about is building people that Jesus Christ movies that he’s real. And how that is so like in this world is very different to each. But the truth of that is what makes this mission, so why not? But there’s something beautiful about one who discovers that. And when that happens, because they are.
But the idea that Jesus Christ and that we all. Universal health insurance would in the morning, and I believe that these stories will appeal to people from all different backgrounds because the themes are universal faith, friendship, love, recovery. These are things that happen in the old world. We’re focusing on mission stories within our faith and with and with our mission. And so people can look forward to more of these stories. We want to know why this we going to be the next to be heart wrenching drama.
It could be an action episode, a thriller episode. I mean, that’s the thing about these stories is that there are so many incredible stories, everyone. Well, that’s what it’s like. And a day in the life happens and all of that, not every mission in this story is miracle. Some people say you should never have a conversion, but that’s still and still are spreading love and faith throughout the world. And we want to capture that and share.
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. Just one last time I want to I want to remind everyone that Mrs. Scoring’s will be in theaters on May seven throughout the Utah. It’s really important to go out if can that people who to support that film so that the wider distribution. You can get your tickets now at Nephi story dot com. I want to thank Bryce Harper, the writer director of the film Stories and Ideas and an actress from the heart of the film that covers such places in Washington and also Nick Matthews and efforts on the part of the film of full circle.
He plays the role of. I want to also thank you very much for hosting this live and also pretty distribution. And it’s so entertaining. We really look forward to being able to see this film. We look forward to moving forward with the Democrats coming up and the show that will follow. Thanks, everyone, for joining us tonight. Hope you have a great week and we’ll see you again soon. Thank you. Thank you. Good evening.