Department News 5/11/20

Congratulations to Scott Christopherson, whose doc, Jimmer: The Lonely Master, was recognized as the top entry in the Documentary Feature Film category of the 2019 Association for Mormon Letters (AML) Award. (  The AML is a nonprofit founded in 1976 to “foster scholarly and creative work in Mormon letters and to promote fellowship among scholars and writers of Mormon literature.”  They have since expanded into other mediums such as film and art.   About Scott’s work, the AML states, “Thanks to Christopherson’s deft touch, the film transcends the tropes of the traditional sports documentary to show us the loneliness of discipleship as Jimmer struggles through disappointment and isolation.”  The doc streams on BYUTV here:

We express heartfelt condolences to Dennis and Kim Wright.  Kim’s mother, Sybil Lorane Walker, passed away due to complications from COVID-19 in Phoenix  at the end of April.  She was 78.  For more information about this wonderful woman’s life, go to!/Obituary  and


We congratulate Father of Man, a student capstone film which premiered in Final Cut 2019,  directed by Barrett Burgin and produced by John Newton, which was recognized in two separate festivals this past week.  Both awards were presented through virtual award shows on two consecutive days.   The first was presented on Saturday, May 2, by The Association for Mormon Letters.  Though Father of Man took home the award, Barrett points out that all four of our 2019 capstone films were nominated for best in short film. You can find all the nominations HERE, and the winners HERE (where AML provides a beautiful writeup of Father of Man).   The next day, on Sunday, May 3,  Father of Man won the award for “Best Long Short” (shorts 15+ minutes) from the Clean Shorts Film Festival in Oklahoma. Sponsored by the Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, Clean Shorts is largely student run and considers itself to be a festival “open to producing films that are appropriate for a wide array of audiences, and rewards those whose creativity excels in various categories.”  The festival follows strict adherence to a PG rating for work they accept (no nudity, vulgarity, F*Bombs, or gore) and have championed many BYU capstone films in the past, including The SurfaceSocorroHey Brooklyn, and this year Paper Trails (directed by Heather Moser and produced by Avery Marshall and Ellie Peatross)which was also in the Long Shorts category. Because of the pandemic, Clean Shorts was quick to go virtual and streamed the festival for three days on YouTube.  Other notable developments for Father of Man over the past few months were its nomination for Best Short Film Director in the Utah Film Festival & Awards, and its win for “Best Spiritual Film” in the Midway Multicultural Film Festival (which Jeff Parkin and Barrett Burgin attended together).  Additionally, Father of Man won 2nd Place for Best Short Film at the LDS Film Festival, and Paper Trails won 3rd Place.  [Include photos attached above.]

TMA Alum James Goldberg and his wife Nicole Wilkes Goldberg received a Special Award in Literature and Performance from the Association for Mormon Letters 2019 for their work, Thorns and Thistles:  A Concert of Literature.  More information about this work can be found here:

Theatre arts alum Ariel Mitchell (BA 2013), an award-winning playwright, wrote a guest post in the Association for Mormon Letters blog in April.  She writes about her recent play, Give Me Moonlight, which ran Feb. 7-16 at the Motor House in Baltimore, MD.  Ariel started writing the play while she was a student at BYU and originally workshopped it in WDA in 2012.  The play tells the story of Bessie and Albert Johnson, a couple in 1900’s Chicago who seem to have everything.  When Bessie brings home an unexpected houseguest, the veneer of their lives begins to unravel.  “Some sorrow has to be shared.  Give Me Moonlight is about the sorrow so deep that it can barely be felt, let alone acknowledged.”  In her recent post entitled “The Playwright is Dead,” Ariel discusses the invisibility of many of those, including playwrights, who work behind the scenes in the production process, similar to the invisibility of mothers in connection with their children (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic!)  For the article, go to  For more information about the recent production of Give Me Moonlight and Ariel, go here: and and  Give Me Moonlight is available online on the New Play Exchange:

Amy Jensen’s daughter Lauren, a huge Broadway musical fangirl, let us  know that two of our recent MDT graduates were featured on the Instagram account,  @officialbroadwayworld:  Jaymie Inouye (most recently “Audrey” in BYU’s Little Shop of Horrors) and Preston Taylor (the “Dentist” in the same production).  Check out their auditions on the NYShowcase website here:  and

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