The tagline for Sarah Polley’s directorial debut, Away from Her read, “It’s never too late to become what you might have been.” While I liked the film a great deal (one of the better films of 2007, surely), that is, of course, not true (its relevance to its film is dubious, too). Sometimes people get cancer or lose limbs or get shot or something. However, sometimes you actually do get to take care of something you suspected you’d never get another crack at.

Two years ago, I was set to direct a short film that was postponed indefinitely when the majority of my cast dropped out last minute. “Indefinitely” frequently means forever, but here it turned out to be two years. Over the weekend, my crew and I shot a little film called The Importance of Tolerance. It turns out that this may indeed be one of those oft-mentioned “blessings in disguise,” because the change in cast (the first time I’ve collaborated with high school friend William Stewart in six years) and our overall advancement in technical and artistic abilities have given this film a kick that we just wouldn’t have had in 2005. It feels good to resurrect and complete a project long thought dead.

Currently, I’m entrenched in editing this project and coordinating an edit with editor Patrick Svensson on The Interconnection of Mr. Daily (disturbingly similar titles for back-to-back projects). Post-productions rocks!

The Importance of Tolerance is something of a formal send-up of videos produced for and by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (those rascally Mormons). There’s a peculiar aesthetic flavor to these Church-sponsored productions and we’ve done our best to ape it, as evidenced by the first official production still below, included by popular (i.e. cast member and collaborator Joseph Schlegel’s) demand.

While preparing to shoot this, I tried to dig up as many of the videos I was once subjected to in numerous Sunday school and seminary classes. Alas, the Internet would seem to prefer people lip-syncing and clumsily gyrating to Justin Timberlake songs over ham-fisted, modern morality fables devoid of irony. I’ve culled what I can from YouTube for reference:

  • Pride: Something kind of bold for seminary videos: science fiction!
  • Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration: Apparently, since I’ve stopped paying attention, the Church has gone more Christian rock. However, this highlights the visual flair of Church productions wonderfully.
  • What Mormon Theology Is Really All About: Okay, this cartoon is a far cry from something the Mormons would produce (surprisingly, I don’t think they’ll ever attempt to debunk themselves), but it’s a riot. Check out that sleazy God-strut.

If you stumble across any other fantastic bits of Mormon video (I’m looking for one in particular, which I believe is called The Joy of Missionary Work) on our favorite series of tubes, please let me know in the comments!

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About John D. Moore

Writer, cartoonist, filmmaker, and student of Japanese language, literature, and cinema at the University of Utah.

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