“People Around the World ‘Meet the Mormons’—in Their Own Language,” Ensign, Apr. 1979, 78–79
It started in Canada, spread to Great Britain, jumped around the globe to Korea and the Philippines, and is coming to Spain, Italy, and Argentina.
In each of those countries, the Church has produced or is producing a film about the members of the Church—based on the people, the culture, and the experiences of the members of the Church in that country.
The first film, Takin’ Care, was filmed in Canada by Karl Konnry and shown to Canadians. The second, Mormons: Fact and Fantasy, was filmed in Britain and produced in Canada. It is designed to be shown on television, in theaters, and in Church open houses in Great Britain and other parts of the English-speaking world. Recently the thirty-minute motion picture won second place of sixty-three entries in the Canadian International Film Festival competition.
Mormons: Fact and Fantasy features British Saints in their family and Church settings. Informative—and accurate—doctrinal explanations are made by Lord Thomson of Fleet and Bishop Canon Bates, head of the Liverpool Cathedral, neither of whom are members of the Church.
“We tried to make an honest, uncontrived documentary without resorting to the negative, says John G. Kinnear, director of broadcasting and films for the Church’s Public Communications Department. “The film was a straight-forward approach, designed to get broadcaster acceptance.”
The strength of the film, he says, is in its spontaneity and honesty. In fact, those are the strengths of similar films that have been produced in Korea and the Philippines.
The Korean film, The Mormons: People of Confidence and Joy, was produced by Universal Studios. It moves at a slower pace than the British or Philippine film, but it is equally effective in its message. It, like the British film, shows members of the Church involved in family and professional life. It explains teachings of the Church that help members build happy lives.
The Philippine film, The Mormons, also produced by Universal Studios, takes the viewer from a Philippine Church welfare farm through the numerous activities of Church members.
Similar films are in process about the Church members in Spain, Italy, and Argentina. “We hope over the next three years to cover all the key areas of the earth,” Brother Kinnear says.
The films are all documentary in format, designed for marketing internationally to television stations. Even if the films are not shown, they have proven effective in motivating broadcasters to produce other television programs about the Church. They also orient and educate international broadcasters who might otherwise inadvertently contribute to erroneous concepts about the Church presented to their audiences.
The motion pictures are also used, following television marketing, in nonbroadcast situations such as open houses, firesides, and other nonmember presentations. They also can be used by missionaries.
Of course, they are designed—frequently, with non-Mormon in-put—to tell nonmembers about the Church in their own country. “In this sense, they are produced for the external audience,” Brother Kinnear says. “But if you produce something that is good communication for the external audience, it will often be appreciated by the internal audience as well.”