Principal photography of the new feature film JANE & EMMA began today at This is the Place State Park, announced Arthur VanWagenen of Excel Entertainment Group, Inc. JANE & EMMA is a production of Clearstone Films, a partnership of Chantelle Squires (THE WORK & THE GLORY trilogy) as director, Melissa Leilani Larson (FREETOWN) as writer, along with Jenn Lee Smith, Madeline Jorgenson, and Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes (Sistas in Zion) as producers. Principal photography began on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 and is scheduled to shoot in Salt Lake City through Friday, March 23, 2018 with additional filming in Nauvoo, Illinois on to follow. Set visits for press are available upon request.
Inspired by true events, JANE & EMMA tells the story of two women (Jane Manning James and Emma Smith) who forged an unlikely friendship against the backdrop of race, religion and gender issues in 1844. Jane as one of the first black members of the Mormon church and Emma Smith as the wife of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, come together to survive a perilous night after Joseph is murdered by a mob in Carthage jail.
When Jane returns to Nauvoo, she finds the city nearly deserted and soon discovers Emma alone in her home with Joseph’s body. The film explores the possible events of that night, including Jane’s endeavor to remain amongst the Mormon people and Emma’s struggle to cope with her heartbreaking loss. Throughout the night, poignant issues of racism and polygamy threaten to break their bond of friendship. In the end, will Jane and Emma have the courage to follow the path each believes they must take?
“This is a story of faith. In spite of all the hardships these women encounter, one of the things I love the most about this story is how deeply both women want to love God and obey him, even when what he is asking them to do seems impossible,” remarked Director Chantelle Squires.
“For both Jane and Emma, their situations are less than ideal, their trial of faith seems never ending, but their hope in something beyond the pain that surrounds them is what helps them find the will to keep moving forward. I am honored and thrilled to direct this film and tell the story of these two incredible women.”
JANE AND EMMA is set to release later in 2018.
ABOUT THE FILM
JANE & EMMA is based on the life of Sister Jane Manning, one of the first black Mormons. She returns to Nauvoo to find that Joseph Smith, her prophet and friend, has been assassinated. Jane spends a ceaseless night with his widow, Emma Smith, sitting watch over the body of the prophet as a whirlwind of loss and confusion leaves them wondering how either one of them will be able to move forward. Through the long night, Jane wonders if the prophet’s promise to extend the blessings of eternity to her has died along with him.
The film is in production now and slated for a theatrical release later in 2018.
Read more about Jane on history.lds.org here: https://history.lds.org/article/jane-manning-james-life-sketch?lang=eng
And read about here from an article in the Ensign here: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/08/jane-manning-james-black-saint-1847-pioneer?lang=eng