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"Joseph Smith, Volume 1: Plates of Gold," premieres this weekend in Utah theaters.

PROVO — Real people, real struggles and the quest for salvation.

Those are elements that LDS filmmaker Christian Vuissa wanted to portray in his new film, “Joseph Smith, Volume 1: Plates of Gold.”

“I’m interested in exploring humanity in everyday situations and experiences,” Vuissa said.

The movie, which premieres in Utah theaters Friday, Sept. 2, details the story behind the coming forth of the Book of Mormon amidst the personal hardships and trials in the life of young Joseph Smith. The film also captures the courtship and early years of marriage between Joseph and Emma.

The film has already been screened on the East Coast and in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The movie is rated PG for some thematic elements.

For Vuissa, a native of Austria and a convert to the LDS Church, the project included two years of research and 23 days of movie production. While the movie is entertaining and educational to church members, Vuissa hopes it will be a missionary tool.

“The story of the Book of Mormon has never been told in detail, and it is fascinating and amazing how a text that surfaced from such humble circumstances keeps affecting millions of people around the world,” he said. “Another reason was for me to tell a story that shows the Prophet Joseph Smith as a relatable human being. In many portrayals of the Prophet, he appears iconic and larger-than-life. But I believe one of his unique character traits was that he was so down to earth. I wanted to find that human element so audiences could really get acquainted with him as someone who is in many ways like them.”

R. Dustin Harding, a native of Pleasant Grove and currently a statistics major at BYU, plays the role of Joseph Smith. Lindsay Farr, raised in North Ogden, was cast as Emma. She is currently serving an LDS mission in Hong Kong. Geoff Hansen (Joseph Smith Sr.) and Michael Flynn (Isaac Hale) also carry prominent roles in the film.

Vuissa joined the LDS Church at age 22, after growing up in a Catholic home. Later, he studied at BYU and developed a great love for film. He has produced four feature-length movies, including “Baptists at Our Barbecue,” “The Errand of Angels” and “One Good Man.”

For more information about “Joseph Smith, Volume 1: Plates of Gold,visit www.josephmovie.com.

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