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10 notable films from LDS Film Festival

By Rachel Brutsch

Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Jan. 19 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"Return with Honor: A Missionary Homecoming" premiered at the LDS Film Festival in 2006 as "The Return." In 2007 it won Best Picture at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival and grossed $103,601 in theaters (boxofficemojo.com).

6. "Emma Smith: My Story"

This film depicts the life and experiences of Emma Hale Smith (Katherine Nelson), including her childhood with a father who disliked religion, her courtship and marriage to Joseph Smith (Nathan Mitchell), her life as the wife of the Prophet and what happened following Joseph's martyrdom. Written and directed by Gary Cook. Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief violence.

"Emma Smith: My Story" was still a "work in progress" when it played at the LDS Film Festival in 2008. The film was released in theaters later that year and grossed $881,787 (boxofficemojo.com).

7. "Forever Strong"

High school rugby player Rick Penning (Sean Faris) makes some poor decisions that land him in an out-of-state detention center. He can keep playing rugby, but only as a member of his former rival team, Highland High. Rick's new coach, Larry Gelwix (Gary Cole), runs the Highland team in a way different from what Rick was used to under his former coach and father, by encouraging his players to become champions in life first and then on the field. When Highland faces Rick's old team in the national championship, Rick is tested in all that he's learned on and off the field. Directed by Ryan Little. Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving teen drug and alcohol use, and for some disturbing images.

"Forever Strong" was screened at the LDS Film Festival in 2008, then went on to gross $719,556 in theaters (boxofficemojo.com).

8. "The Errand of Angels"

When Sister Rachel Taylor (Erin Chambers) goes to Austria to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, her high hopes are met with many disappointments. She struggles with the new language, strange food and a difficult companion, and fears that with so many challenges she won't be a good missionary. As different companions, investigators and experiences come her way, Sister Taylor begins to learn her purpose and find joy in the work. Directed by Christian Vuissa. Rated PG for some thematic material.

"The Errand of Angels" screened at the LDS Film Festival in 2008. It grossed $195,184 in theaters (IMDB.com).

9. "The Flyboys"

Jason (Jesse James) and Kyle (Reiley McClendon) find themselves in a tight spot when their exploration of an airplane in their small-town airport is interrupted. The boys hide, the plane takes off and a bomb sits in the luggage compartment. After discovering the bomb, the boys find that they're again alone on the plane, which is still flying. The bomb belongs to the mob — and that's just the beginning of their problems. Directed by Rocco Devilliers. Rated PG-13 for violence and language.

"The Flyboys" was screened at the LDS film festival in 2011. It was released internationally as "Sky Kids" and had a domestic theater gross of $144,680 (boxofficemojo.com).

10. "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend"

Aspiring writer Ethan (Christopher Gorham) has received yet another rejection from a publisher. He meets Jesse (Alyssa Milano), a woman who inspires him to try again and be all that he can be. They seem perfect for each other, but moments after their initial meeting, Jesse meets advertising executive Troy (Michael Landes), who can do no wrong. When it appears that Jesse will have to choose between Ethan and Troy, it turns out that things are not always as they seem. Written and directed by Daryn Tufts. Rated PG for some mild thematic elements.

"My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" screened at the LDS Film Festival in 2011 after its October 2010 limited theatrical release with an opening weekend per-screen average of $5,150. Its trailer has more than 1.2 million YouTube views.

Email: rbrutsch@desnews.com

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