Zions Indie Film Festival slated for March 15-18 in Orem
Courtesy Michelle Moore
The four-day Zions Indie Film Festival in Orem is just days away from returning and Marshall and Michelle Moore, owners and co-directors of the festival, are getting more excited every day — even with a few notable changes.
“We changed the name to have features be more inclusive,” Michelle Moore said. “Some filmmakers thought it had to have an LDS Theme.”
Zions Indie Film Festival was known as the LDS Film Festival and will be held at the SCERA Center for the Arts, beginning with a premier of “His Only Son,” at 7 p.m. on March 15.
“His Only Son” is the product of writer/director David Helling and explores the story of Abraham’s test of faith during the three-day journey to sacrifice his only son. It opens wide in movie theaters on March 31.
“To have ‘His Only Son’s’ premiere as ZIFF’s opening night feature is absolutely thrilling,” Marshall Moore said. “Having this film as our opening feature and so many other incredible films from throughout the world in competition shows just how much the festival has grown both in size and notoriety. ZIFF is truly catching the attention of filmmakers around the U.S. and internationally.”
Courtesy Michelle Moore
One of the international films is “Volvere” (I’ll Be Right Back) by award-winning director Marlon Gonzalez, making its world premier on March 18. The story follows Felipe Lopez, an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S., who finds out that his mother is dying in his hometown in Mexico. He has to either stay with his wife, who is expecting their first child, or return to his hometown at risk of not being able to come back.
Moore said the festival, with the theme “Gather, Celebrate, Connect,” has 85 full-length, short and documentary films on the docket. Eight full-length films will be judged. In past years, films would be shown twice. Now, they will only be shown one time. One thing that hasn’t changed is that the films are required to be family friendly.
“When we first announced the festival submissions in August of 2022 we expected there would be an increase in the number of filmmakers entering their films, but what we didn’t fully realize is that we would double the amount of submissions coming from across the country and overseas,” said Marshall Moore, former president of the Utah Film Commission. “Overall the production value and quality of storytelling has been remarkable — full of pleasant surprises and emerging talent.”
Michelle Moore noted there are many films about faith from a variety of perspectives. The short film “Court of Conscience,” starring Jon Voight and directed by his son, James Haven, seeks to examine how human conscience “may draw on divine knowledge.”
“In death, your conscience will be that of a record, that will testify for or against you before a divine tribunal as well as your own soul. Even if your conscience is inactive, flawed, ‘seared’, asleep, during your own life, as could be said in the worst of villains, it will come fully to life with a perfect memory of all one’s actions in the after-life,” reads the film’s summary.
Courtesy LDS Film Festival
Michelle Moore believes this festival, and its changes, have the opportunity to bridge the gap between religions.
“I feel the pressure, but it’s important,” Michelle Moore said.
On Thursday, audiences can watch a real first-time table reading on four scripts to see how actors, directors and other staff come together to build a production.
“This four day celebration of film is not just for the filmmakers and cast but is open to all audiences, our desire is for everyone that loves movies and new stories to Gather, Celebrate, and Connect with conversations and viewing experiences that inspire us to be better and do better,” Marshall Moore said.
Tickets are now on sale for the annual festival held March 15-18 at the SCRERA Center for the Arts, 742 South State Street, Orem. The full lineup, with dates, times, overviews and tickets can be found at https://zionsindiefilmfest.com/.
Courtesy Michelle and Marshall Moore