“Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty is a fan-driven beginning… to the epic New World saga of love, war, revolution, and freedom.” That’s the promise on the home page of the impressive Kickstarter campaign to create a Book of Mormon feature film trilogy. It is the first of its kind, and has the potential to spread the Gospel, reactivate disinterested members, and even contribute to uniting our divided nation.
Uniting a Divided Land
Founder Darin Southam explains in the introductory video, “This war epic features a hero 2,000 years ago. A strong and mighty man, who rallied his country to the call of freedom, and healed a fractured nation”. Southam is, of course, speaking of Captain Moroni. He boasts that Moroni’s story is “one of the greatest struggles for liberty in America”. It is easy to see why this war hero and faithful leader’s story is compelling in today’s world of spiritual and political strife.
Moroni raised a Title of Liberty, which read like an epitaph for a nation almost too far gone. “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” (Alma 46:12) The rallying cry was heard, and hundreds flocked to Moroni, marched into battle, and defended their land and all they held dear. In today’s world, such a banner would unite Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. Plenty of Americans feel that we could soon find Moroni’s Title of Liberty on our nation’s tombstone. Imagine the power of a film that used a Gospel-centered war story to unite, uplift, and inspire.
A Missionary Tool
The Book of Mormon features “one of the most far-reaching war epics ever known,” says Southam. He’s absolutely right. Recall Nephi’s harrowing escape from Jerusalem as he slays Laban and takes back the family’s genealogical records and scriptures. Think of the near-continuous war between the Nephites and Lamanites. Envision the pinnacle event of the Book of Mormon: the appearance of Christ to the Nephites at the meridian of time. The Book of Mormon is chock-full of feature-film worthy scenes.
It is surprising to me that no one has yet fashioned an Assassin’s Creed-style video game, or Lord of the Rings-like film after the content in our faith’s religious text. Such an effort would breathe life into the awe-inspiring Book of Mormon stories. In my own novel, The Author, I envisioned a world not too far in the future in which individuals can step into a virtual reality Book of Mormon. This video game would serve as a powerful missionary tool for nonmembers. It would also capture the imagination of less-active, disinterested teens and young adults. This Kickstarter takes a step in the direction of potentially achieving those worthy goals.
Strategizing for our Generation
Millennials are known for our propensity to fill every second of our day. When we stand in line, we look at Facebook. We shy away from scheduled TV programming and toward made-to-order online services like Netflix. It seems preposterous to waste our time watching a show while waiting for another show to come on. We don’t even waste the time we spend in the bathroom stall. So, the creation of a film short is a perfect strategy to capture the limited attention and valuable time of Millennial viewers.
The Reign of Judges campaign’s premise is that a small starting budget would enable the creation of a high-quality film short which would later lead to full funding for a feature film. The strategy worked for numerous successful films in the past, including Napoleon Dynamite, Whiplash, and Office Space. The campaign has already contracted FBFX Studio, who made armor for Gladiator and Wonder Woman, to sculpt Captain Moroni’s inspiring armor. Its Facebook page has gathered around 25,000 Facebook followers and is growing every day.
A Film for our Time
The Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty campaign to date has raised approximately half of its $150,000 goal, with 15 days to go. Furthermore, since 2014, over 7,000 copies of the first 19 pages of the film script have been downloaded.
The founders truly believe in the potential of Reign of Judges to serve this nation at a desperate time. In addition, Southam and his wife sold their home in order to continue pursuing this project. They are convinced that this film “must be made.” It is my opinion that Southam is a patriot who sees the spiritual and political parallels between Moroni’s time and our own.
This campaign pushed all of my patriotic buttons. There is a sense of urgency and passion in Southam’s words and in the campaign itself. A poster illustration shows Moroni, surrounded by weapons of war, gloriously raising the Title of Liberty. A t-shirt with the inscription “freedom is not free” is given to donating patrons. Southam promises, “When this mighty story unfolds on the big screen, we’ll be able to say together, we answered the call for liberty.” Are you getting a patriotic vibe? I certainly am. It is my opinion that this Kickstarter has the potential to truly “ignite a worldwide spirit of freedom.”
This post is the expressed opinion of the writer and is not sponsored in any way.