The new documentary Meet the Mormons premieres Tuesday evening at the Jordan Commons theaters in Sandy. On Friday, it will open in more than 300 theaters around the United States.
Work on Meet the Mormons began almost four years ago, when church leaders wanted something new to show to visitors coming to the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Building across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. But producer Jeff Roberts says they got an enthusiastic reaction from both Mormon and non-Mormon audiences when they screened it for focus groups from Los Angeles to Connecticut.
“The response was so positive," Roberts told KUER, "that we felt like it would be beneficial to give people an opportunity to see it on a big screen around the country, not feel like they have to come to Utah.”
The film tells the stories of six Latter-day Saints, including Ken Niumatololo, the head football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. His wife Barbara says the film crew followed them everywhere.
“I think it was about three or four days," she told KUER in an interview, "and they just pretty much wanted to follow us through our life, what we did. They did come back to film a game and they actually came to the White House as well, when we received the Commander in Chief trophy from the president.”
Others profiled in the movie include Gail Halvorsen, the “Candy Bomber” of the 1948 Berlin Airlift and Bishnu Adhikari, an engineer who builds roads and schools for rural villages in his home country of Nepal.
Audiences will pay a regular theater admission to see Meet the Mormons, but net ticket proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross. After its theatrical run, the movie will be available online, on DVD and of course, for visitors to the Legacy Theater.