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By Film Threat Staff | August 4, 2004

There is a huge uproar over a film that was set to be shown next week at the “SpudFest” Film Festival in Idaho. Gilligan’s Island actress Dawn Wells (“Mary Ann”) has been promoting her Film Festival “SpudFest” which is taking place in Victor, Idaho August 3-8. The film in question is a documentary entitled “Burying The Past — Legacy of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.” The film has won 10 awards and has played in over 15 film festivals. “SpudFest” organizers received numerous phone calls from angry Mormon protestors planning to carry signs and picket all three screenings of “Burying The Past” that were scheduled for August 4th, 5th, and 7th. The Mormons also notified festival directors that they were advising all members of the Mormon faith to boycott the entire festival. The protestors are Mormon Church Authorities, Bishops, and Church members who have never even seen the film, but are nonetheless offended.

“Burying The Past” has been suddenly pulled from the festival with organizers now claiming publicly that it had to be taken out because it wasn’t “family-friendly.” Director Brian Patrick received uneasy phone calls from Executive Producer of “SpudFest” Ted Weiant last week informing Patrick of the angry Mormon threats, and expressing great concern. “SpudFest” attorney Steve Wright(also of Mormon faith) then called Patrick four days before the film was set to play, and told him that due to the Mormon protests and threats they were probably going to have to pull the film–that they did not want to offend the locals. Patrick suggested to Wright that the festival should get a few of the Mormon Church authorities and protestors together and show them the film, since they have never even actually seen it, and may not be as offended after having actually viewed it. The festival declined to follow up on the suggestion. The festival pulled the film publicly stating that the film wasn’t family-friendly, though they chose to keep the R rated war film “Saints & Soldiers” on their program.

The following is a synopsis of the film that has the Mormons’ panties all twisted:

On September 11, 1857, a wagon train of 120 immigrants bound for California were slaughtered, under a white flag, by Utah Mormons in one of the worstmassacres in American history. This moving story, kept out of history books and schools, exposes the Mormon Church’s coverup of the massacre through theactual testimony of a young girl who survived, interviews with descendants ofthe victims, forensic archaeologists holding bullet-hole-riddled skulls accidentally unearthed at the site of the crime, and a funeral held 145 yearslater. Descendants of the massacre, haunted by the tragedy to this day,struggle to reconcile with the descendants of the perpetrators and find forgiveness.

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