What Mormon art projects are drawing attention? Does the Mormon community donate to worthy projects? What Mormon projects attract Mormons?
Off and on I’ve been looking at Kickstarter, the crowd-funding website for artists of all kinds who are looking for seed money to get their projects completed. I’ve even funded a project and I’m looking forward to the results of my small contribution. When Kickstarter launched a few years ago it drew a lot of press because it promised to make raising money for small projects easier. A number of similar sites that have launched, and it looks like some good projects are getting funded.
I thought it would be fun to look at how the various proposed Mormon projects did during the past year and perhaps in this way introduce a few more people to the projects that are out there. So I make a list of the projects from Kickstarter and from Indiegogo. And I was generally pleased with what I saw. Donations and pledges totaled more than $160,000 over 22 projects and more than 1,600 individuals donated to projects1. Half of the projects were not funded and five were only partially funded.
Of course, it is likely there are projects that I missed. Not every project by a Mormon involves Mormonism, and some with Mormon themes don’t mention Mormonism explicitly. I only searched for “Mormon,” “LDS and “Latter-day” to compile this list, and only looked at Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I would be very interested in other projects that should be included, and other crowdfunding sites that should be searched.
For those interested, there are currently two projects seeking donations.
[Please note that this list is comprehensive, except for 2 items that were clearly anti-Mormon. It includes items I do NOT recommend. Use caution in viewing them. I have no way of knowing whether or not these projects ]:
- ASCEND: A Short Film
SO FAR: $25 pledged of $2,000 goal. Deadline 7 March 2013.
Short film by Denver James Harward
“Ascend is a short film, written and produced by a crew of students from Universities and industry professionals throughout Utah. It is a dark science-fiction story filled with questions about the future of the human race and the nature of humanity itself. Set in the not too distant future, the fate of all mankind will be decided by the choices of 10 individuals, whose intertwined lives and shared destiny will bring about the beginning of the end.”
- “Bash” The inaugural production of GTC
SO FAR: $0 pledged of $800 goal. Deadline 13 March 2013.
Play production in Minneapolis, MN
Bash: Latter Day Plays by Neil Labute.
“Help us launch Ghost Light Theatre Company with the inaugural production of Bash: Latter Day Plays.”
Fundraising Completed since 1 January 2012:
- FACING EAST
Funded: Raised $70,501 from 368 backers, completed 14 December 2012
Planned feature film by Duance Andersen based on the play by Carol Lynn Pearson.
“A Mormon family reevaluates their lives and beliefs after the suicide of their gay son.”
- The Decision
Partially funded: Raised $685 from 35 backers, short of $2,100 goal. Completed 15 October 2012.
Animated video based on content from The Friend.
“The Decision” is the second short film in series of 5 stories to be produced from content first printed in the Friend magazine, a monthly publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once completed, the project will be presented to both BYU Broadcasting and the LDS Church’s web department as potential distribution venues.
- “Swayed” A skeptic’s Mormon awakening.
NOT funded: $625 pledged from 4 backers, short of $4,400 goal. Ended 10 October 2012.
Nonfiction book by William Janiec
After moving with his daughter to Utah County, a liberal LA Boheme is swayed by the heart-centric, oft-misunderstood LDS culture.
- Mormon Parody They Might Be Elders – Truth Retold Music CD
NOT funded: $851 pledged from 19 backers, short of $999 goal. Ended 30 September 2012.
Musical parody CD by Steve Nunez
The creator of They Might Be Elders; A Mormon Comedy Parody Band has a new album of parody songs, titled “Truth Retold.”
- MORMON MOVIE (work-in-progress) First Look
Funded: Raised $26,325 from 342 backers, completed 29 September 2012
Planned documentary by Xan Aranda.
“Inspired by religious educational films her mother starred in while a student at Brigham Young University during the 1960s, Aranda revisits her ancestral religion through the lens of two Mormon classics: a black-and-white Western portraying an historic clash between colonists and Pancho Villa in Mexico, and a jewel-toned yet tragic cautionary tale about marriage and doubt. As deeper threads of LDS beliefs are revealed, Xan explores the controversially clean-cut community she left behind – and her family’s spiritual fate beyond death.”
- Drug Dealing to Temple Sealing
NOT funded: $0 pledged from 0 backers, short of $25,000 goal. Ended 7 September 2012.
Nonfiction book telling story of the author’s experimenting with drugs, sex, and violence, which eventually led him to become a local drug dealer. After several arrests and a special intervention, he returned to the Mormon faith.
- DO ME A LITTLE
Partially funded: $5,665 pledged from 67 backers, short of $6,000 goal. Ended 7 August 2012.
Play by Marissa Lee Kohn.
“Brigham and Mandy, two wide-eyed, newlywed Mormon virgins, are celebrating their wedding night in the unintentionally kinky pirate suite at the ‘World Famous’ Honeymoon House. But a massive secret is about to… uh… come out that will shatter the religious rose-colored glasses they’ve both worn for their entire lives. Is their relationship a total lie?” (Apparently, Brigham admits that he is gay on their wedding night.)
- Melted Hearts Part 2
NOT funded: $15 pledged from 1 backer, short of $6,000 goal. Completed 31 July 2012.
Film by Nathan Jones and Jorge Ramirez
“The FIRST MOVIE ABOUT A SINGLE, HISPANIC LDS CHRISTIAN WOMAN!”
- MormonInChief- a World Premiere
Partially funded: Raised $2,907 from 47 backers, short of $5,000 goal. Completed 30 July 2012.
Play by Matthew Greene produced at the FringeNYC festival.
“Unassuming Mormon, Connor Jorgensen, becomes the center of national media frenzy when his tweets about a Mormon presidential candidate go viral. Inspired by comments the candidate allegedly made in a church meeting, Connor spreads his presidential pick’s views on “the gays, gangsters and bleeding hearts”, leading ambitious reporter Lydia Strout to his door.”
- Fascinating Womanhood Documentary
Funded: Raised $3,200 from 82 backers. Completed 19 July 2012.
Documentary film by Erin Fox.
“A feature documentary about the 1963 best-seller Fascinating Womanhood, and its enigmatic author Helen B. Andelin.”
- Dear Joe
Funded: Raised $3,305 from 35 backers. Completed 14 July 2012
Short Film by Andrew Balcof.
“Joe is 19 and Mormon which means he is in the middle of his mission that he has opted to do locally. As Joe struggles to stay focused on his mission he is constantly ridiculed by his father and led astray by his companion, Brad, in his pursuit of Ashley, the girl next door, who Joe’s only interaction with is through fantastical delusions.”
- Jack Mormon – a short comedy/tv pilot
NOT funded: $860 pledged from 6 backers, short of $7,500 goal. Ended 12 July 2012
Short film project by Marcellus van Lent
The art of fellowshipping is the basis for this comedy. Jack and Molly live in the suburbs proud parents of five children they are trying to raise with LDS beliefs. Jack is asked to invite his new redneck, beer guzzling, chain smoking neighbor to the game while Molly decides to fellowship the neighbors beauty queen wannabe wife by inviting her and their teenage kids over to bake cookies. Unsure of how to approach this challenge, Jack and Molly’s efforts go south quick and the evening turns into a comical disaster.
- LDS Member Guidebook – Print and distribute 1,000 copies
Funded: Raised $2,010 from 48 backers. Completed 19 June 2012
Book by Adrian Escalante
“A quick reference booklet to understanding and navigating the organization of the fourth largest Christian denomination in the U.S.”
- OUTSIDE: GAY IN UTAH
NOT funded: $2,826 pledged from 13 backers, short of $250,000 goal. Ended 31 May 2012.
Documentary film by Stephen Seager
A film about being gay and gay marraige in Utah, the epicenter of the Mormon Church. Intended to be ready for Sundance 2013.
- Tartar Control – The TV Show!
Funded: Raised $5,000 from 59 backers, Completed 12 May 2012.
TV Show by comedy band Tartar Control
Tartar Control, a punk rock band featuring two mormon missionaries and a talking robot, is making an episodic comedy featuring music videos, numerous characters and elements of sketch comedy, like Tenacious D, Flight of The Concords or Mr. Show.
- Pitch-in to Get YSAcentral Launched!
NOT funded: Raised $516 from 22 backers, short of $60,000 goal. Completed 2 April 2012.
Social media website for LDS Young Adults
“YSAcentral for LDS young and mid-single adults seeks to unite together LDS singles all over the world and make communication and socializing simple to help keep our hope alive and the fire burning.”
- Longshot: The Lance Allred Story
NOT funded: $0 pledged from 0 backers, short of $95,000 goal. Ended 2 March 2012.
Film project by Stafford Smith.
The adventures of a deaf polygamist kid turned Mormon, his life, triumphs, trials and tribulation in his journey to the NBA.
- Happy Valley
NOT funded: $660 pledged from 21 backers, short of $3,500 goal. Ended 29 February 2012.
Photography project by Brian Shumway
“A rare and intimate glimpse into Mormon culture, which is often misunderstood and shrouded in mystery, by looking at just one family, my own.”
- This Is The Place – Television Series
NOT funded: Raised $255 from 7 backers, short of $100,000 goal. Completed 23 January 2013.
TV drama that seeks to answer questions about Mormonism
“Creators Todd Bay and Chris Larsen wrote a television series called THIS IS THE PLACE with one question in mind: How do you boldly answer the world’s intriguing and sensitive questions about Mormons without needless controversy or stereotypes? That question is answered in THIS IS THE PLACE – where thought-provoking drama, real life characters and Hollywood-quality storytelling collide with the values, history, and traditions of the LDS Faithful in unprecedented fashion.”
- Digital Dharma (Kickstarter)
Funded: Raised $31,977 from 409 backers, completed 22 January 2012
Planned documentary by Dafna Yachin.
“Amid political turmoil, pacifist E. Gene Smith, a Mormon from Utah, triggers an international movement to save Tibetan Buddhism” by “preserving and digitizing more than 20,000 volumes of ancient Tibetan text.”
- Digital Dharma (Indiegogo)
Partially Funded: Raised an additional $2,945 from 35 backers, short of $25,000 goal. Ended 3 October 2012.
- Digital Dharma (Indiegogo)
- Ultimate Morning Study Guide
Partially funded: Raised $130 from 4 backers, short of $1,500 goal. Completed 15 January 2013.
Book by Michael Young
“The Ultimate Morning Study guide is a resource tailored to specific mission languages to help LDS missionaries focus their learning about the grammar, culture, vocabulary and accent of the target language before and during their missions. The guide provides a handy reference for learning LDS terms in the target language and provides resources for more-effective morning study.”
- The Mormon Family
NOT funded: Raised $50 from 2 backers, short of $5,000 goal. Completed 2 January 2013.
Web video comedy by Shaun Frenza
Video in the vein of The Modern Family or Up All Night centered in Provo and about Mormon Culture for mormons.
- This number includes some duplicates, since I don’t know who donated to more than one project. ↩