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Courtesy Darin Southam

Kickstarter created for film based on Capt. Moroni from Book of Mormon

By John Clyde, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Aug 31st, 2017 @ 2:05pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Local filmmaker Darin Southam is attempting something that has never been done before: fund a major motion picture of more than $40 million using Kickstarter.

Southam is hoping to raise funds to make “Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty,” a short concept film based around the story of Captain Moroni from the Book of Mormon, with a script Southam wrote himself. The Book of Mormon is a religious text for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Making a big-budget war epic based off a story from the “Book of Mormon” could be perceived as a bit of a gamble, but Southam says the story of Captain Moroni is very personal for him and the risks involved are more than worth it.

“I have been visualizing these stories for over 22 years,” Southam said. “Besides my family, there is absolutely nothing I am more passionate about than the story of Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty.”

The short film will be based off a full-length script Southam has written and be shot in the spirit of a “Braveheart” movie as it strives for authenticity and doing the story justice.

“This idea came from a book with over 200 million copies in circulation. The fourth most influential book in America,” Southam said. “ ‘Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty’ is a period-action film, like ‘Braveheart,’ but set in the 73 BC pre-Columbian New World. A humble soldier rises unexpectedly as the protector of a young republic. Now Chief Captain of a war-weary nation, Moroni defends his country with revolutionary prowess, but his greatest struggle will be uniting a beleaguered people.”

Southam is trying to do something that has never been done on Kickstarter, but he believes in the project and its purpose.

“(This) is the first major motion picture to hit Kickstarter. Major as in a budget of more than $40 million. We launched our Kickstarter to raise funds for a concept film short, which we will use to secure funding for the full feature,” Southam said. “The other exciting reason we turned to Kickstarter was because it is a worldwide platform to prove our audience.”

Southam hopes to follow in the footsteps of films like “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Deadpool,” “District 9” and “Whiplash,” all of which made concept short films to secure funding for the feature version.

The Kickstarter page has a goal of $150,000 with more than $70,000 already pledged with just over two weeks left on the campaign. Southam has been touched by the support of pledgers across the world.

“A backer from Washington State randomly pledged $3,000. Someone I don’t even know. Then, the next day, another person pledged $5,000. Most of the people pledging are not multimillionaires either. This really is a grassroots movement and I know some of the people who have pledged are really exercising a lot of faith,” Southam said. “There is no expression adequate to thank them. I am moved nearly to tears when I think of how many people have felt the vision of this project and have let it inspire them.”

Taking on a subject like the Book of Mormon is no easy feat as we saw from the 2003 film “The Book of Mormon Movie, Volume 1: The Journey.” The movie barely recouped its production budget and was destroyed by critics and audiences alike. Southam understands he has a large task in front of him and that a lot of eyes will be on him, as well as a lot of hopes from fans who want to see the story told correctly.

“My goal for this concept film short is to make it so amazingly compelling and epic that it ignites a worldwide enthusiasm and curiosity for this amazing story. I don't want to just get it made. It can be nothing less than exceptional if it is to accomplish what we need it to. I am going to pour my heart and soul into it, leave it all on the table. At the end of the day, if the fans don't respond, it's on me,” Southam said. “I feel like I’m running for president or something. Every day I get up, look at where we’re at, and ask myself, ‘what can I do today to propel this thing forward?’ Then I go to work. The concept film short is just step one. If the fans respond to our campaign as well as they have so far, is there any reason to believe they will not respond in kind to our concept film short once it is completed?”

The Kickstarter page will be live through Sept. 14 and Southam hopes to have the concept finished and released by April of 2018, or sooner depending on the budget he is able to raise.

You can learn more about Southam and “Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty” by visiting the Kickstarter page or Facebook page.


John Clyde

About the Author: John Clyde

John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. He also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome, and it just so happens, that these are the three things he writes about. Contact him on Twitter at @johnnypclyde.

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