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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY — It started out as just another open house orientation movie, but in the end, the LDS Church History Library's film "The Story Lives Here" became an award-winning video. The video, which is now shown to tours of the library, recently won an Aegis video and film production award and also a Gold Plaque in the public relations category at the INTERCOM International Communications Media Competition presented by the Chicago International Film Festival.

"Initially, we just wanted to produce a short orientation piece that we could use during the open house," said Marie Erickson, a member of the Church History Library staff. But then the idea grew — particularly with the addition of a historical vignette to the project."

"We are trying to get across the point that the library is more than just the repository for the history of the church; it is really a repository for the individual stories of the members of the church," Erickson said. "And that's why we told the story of Joseph Millet. We wanted the story of a virtual unknown in the history of the church … just an average member of the church just like most of us, who had a story of inspiration to his children and his descendants."

The story in the film tells how pioneer Joseph Millet became the answer to the prayers of someone in need. Millet recorded that story in his journal. A descendant copied that journal entry into her own diary, and that diary is now in the Church History Library collection.

The whole church history department contributed to the project, Erickson said. There were committees and individuals working on historical context, cultural aspects and so forth. The audiovisual department of the LDS Church worked with staff and used outside talent and resources to create the film. Original music was even composed and recorded for the project.

"It's nice to see that other people around the country are recognizing our work," said Richard Hatch of the church's audiovisual department.

In the Aegis awards, entries are judged against a set standard, rather than by direct comparison to others. "The Story Lives Here" was one of 63 winners out of about 2,100 applicants. The INTERCOM award presented by the Chicago International Film Festival recognizes creativity in the nontheatrical dimensions of filmmaking.

"The Story Lives Here" can be viewed at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City and will be available to watch online at deseretnews.com.

e-mail: mdegroote@desnews.com