Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dutcher Vs. Merrill

I put off writing this post for awhile and now the very contours of the story have changed. Richard Dutcher, the filmmaker generally described as having ushered in the 'Mormon cinema' movement of the early 21st Century, has left the church. Dutcher has said that his personal spiritual journey has lead him away from Mormon orthodoxy, and that while he will continue to be a 'defender of the church', he will no longer be a practicing member or make films for a primarily Mormon audience. This brief summation of his current situation, along with a critique/encouragement to current Mormon film makers appear in a Daily Herald article that can be accessed here.

A short time later active Mormon Keith Merrill, a two time Academy Award winning documentarian, and for many years the go-to-guy for making official Church motion pictures, issued a blistering and heated rebuttal to Dutcher's farewell address (which contains a lot of ill-will directed at Martian Scorsese's The Departed). I was all ready to attack Merrill his blatant hypocrisy's, but then he issued this apology, and I find I really respect him for it. Man if only more arguments could end like this. Anyway, I just netflxed The Great American Cowboy in his honor.

Note: I should maybe mention that Merrill family members attended the same Cupertino area ward as my mothers family in the 60's, and that my mom worked for Keith's brother while attending BYU in the early 70's.


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