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Mormon Messages winners present sincere testimonies

By Rhett Wilkinson

Mormon Times

Published: Monday, May 16 2011 5:30 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — It took several weeks and hundreds of views, but those involved judging the videos of the LDS Church's International Video Contest said they were "touched" by the winning videos.

For this reason, a dozen contestants were chosen as the contest's top selections, among submissions from Illinois to India and everywhere in between.

The purpose of the contest was to provide members of the LDS Church the opportunity to share their talents with worldwide members in displaying testimony about a variety of topics, including Latter-day Saint life, history, beliefs and a variety of other concepts. The winners' videos also become property of the church to potentially be used in future Mormon Messages and other church video projects.

Winners' and visitors' choices came in four categories: professional, U.S. and Canada amateur, international amateur and U.S. and Canada, ages 13 to 17. No winners were chosen from the international 13- to 17-year-old category.

"I was impressed by the amount of effort that went into all of the video submissions," said Garin Granata, product manager in the LDS Church's Media Services Department. "All the submissions contained sincere expressions of faith and service. I felt fortunate to have the unique experience of viewing personal stories and testimonies from members of the church from all around the world. It was inspiring to me that regardless of cultural differences, members everywhere had the desire to share their personal feelings and experiences through the medium of video."

The winning videos ranged from topics including honesty and avoiding certain vices, to a woman who, with the Lord's help, has redefined her life for the better following an automobile accident that caused her to be paralyzed.

Regardless of the video's content, members of the LDS Church Member Engagement committee, including Associate Media Producer Ashton Smith, were pleased to have the opportunity to see the videos and select the winners from the hundreds they received.

"The content (contestants) came up with were really good, really impressive, especially with the youth," said Smith, who noted that he was touched by a video that contributed to a son strengthening his relationship with his mother. "They were full of sincere expression and had really good concepts."

Marianne Jennings, also an LDS Church Member Engagement associate media producer, said she thought the contest was productive in that it has and will continue to create a variety of opportunities to share the gospel.

"That’s been interesting to see that there has been a lot of inspiration not with just winners but with the missionary work that’s been done," Jennings said.

Jennings said the finalists' and winners' videos have been posted on YouTube. Combined, the videos have had more than 200,000 views so far. Outside of the United States, submissions came from India, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Austria, New Zealand and South Korea.

"It's been neat to see the response internationally," Jennings said.

In the professional category, the winner and visitors' choice went to "Honesty — You Better Believe It!" from Brian Burnham. Other winners in the category included Jason Barron's "Trial of Adversity" and Bryce Gandy's "LIFE."

In the U.S. and Canada Amateur category, Alexander Cheung's "Our Hands His Hands, Our Hearts His Heart" was the winner and visitors' choice. "Stand Tall," by Andrea Hernandez, and "You're Not Alone," by Sariah Howard, were the other winners.

In the International Amateur category, "Judgment," by Karel Denisse Calva Sánchez, took home both winner and visitors' choice. Salvador Alejandro Herman Pere's "Without Fear" and Daniel Schroeder's "He Heals the Heavy Laden" were also winners.

The winner and visitors' choice for the U.S. and Canada, 13- to 17-year-old category, was "Staying in Tune," by Stefania Barr. Tate Stone's "Better Things" and Angie Cluff's "Good Better Best" were the other winners in the category.

Email: rwilkinson@desnews.com

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