The LAT ran a fascinating piece today on Richard Dutcher, the filmmaker who was anointed the father of Mormon cinema after his 2000 sleeper hit, God's Army, ushered in a wave of Mormon-focused indie flicks. Now, Dutcher is releasing what's being marketed as "the first R-rated Mormon movie" — and it's a doozy, peppered with cursing, nudity and violence. Called Falling, it stars Dutcher as an amoral videographer attempting to figure out his life after repudiating his faith. It's a concept Dutcher knows well, because the father of Mormon cinema is now renouncing his religion:
"One day in prayer, all by myself, I asked myself the question: What if it's all not true?" Dutcher recalled. "It was an earth-shaking moment of spiritual terror, such a profound experience. It was such a sense of loss. I felt my faith leaving me and never coming back."
..."At the beginning, I was proud to say, 'Yeah, I'm a Mormon filmmaker' because then, I was defining what a Mormon filmmaker was," Dutcher said. "It quickly got completely out of my control. Now, no one wants to call themselves a Mormon filmmaker because you're associating yourself with a genre that's fallen into disrepute. It's like having porn on your résumé."
In fact, Dutcher is so intent on leaving the genre behind that he penned a blistering "farewell address" to the Provo Daily Herald, excoriating other Mormon filmmakers:
A few parting words: I urge you to put the moronic comedies behind you. If you're going to make comedies, at least make them funny. Perhaps you should leave the mockery of Mormons to the anti-Mormons. They've had a lot more experience and, frankly, they do a better job.
Damn, Richard! Wait, can we say "damn" around you now? In all seriousness, Falling (playing right now at a one-week engagement at Laemmle's Music Hall in Beverly Hills) just shot up to the top of our screening lists, or at the very list, our Netflix queues. While we can't yet attest to Dutcher's skill behind the camera, he's at least nailed the next most important part of being a filmmaker: causing controversy. [photo credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times]