Nicole Barnette is a filmmaker on the move, and the direction she is going is straight up. I just finished watching Fourteen, her short film that is making the rounds of film festivals and getting rave reviews, and I have to join in with the others.
In seven short minutes, she takes the viewer out of their easy chair and into the horrible world of fundamental polygamy. And there is no dialogue to move this film along, but just vignettes of a teenager’s life, glimpses of the emotions of a doting mother, touches of what it feels like to be a teenager on your birthday. Normal things.
The she tips the normal world upside down.
Fourteen should be required viewing for every person who has ever thought, “Well, yeah, those polygamists are really weird, but they have nothing to do with me.” Mormn or otherwise. EVERYONE should see this film.
They should screen it at every session of the Utah Legislature and force our lawmakers to realize the horrible crimes being perpetrated on women, children, and even the “lost boys” who are thrown out of their towns and torn from their families, all in the name of religion.
Fourteen should also be screened at every Mormon wardhouse, in every Utah town. Polygamy got its start with Joseph Smith, the “prophet” that Mormons follow.
“Those people have nothing to do with us,” cannot be the mantra any longer.
If we were to go point by point over Joseph Smith’s teachings, we would find that the fundamentalists like Warren Jeffs are living Mormonism the way Smith taught it.
It’s time for the LDS hierarchy to step up to the plate and admit that truth.
This film will be available for sale, beginning next week, on the site www.fourteenfilm.com. I’ll post a reminder when it gets closer. And now, Nicole has agreed to answer a few questions for me.
I asked Nicole about giving away the theme, because I felt like it needed to be done here, on Trapped, and this was her answer.
“The theme is hard to talk about without giving away the ending. What I usually say to people is “It is the story of a fourteen year old girl on a momentous day in her life”. But, seeing that your blog is called “Trapped by the Mormons” I think it is safe to say that anyone reading this blog will most definitely be interested…even the people reading it who disagree with your blog – should see FOURTEEN.”
How did you get involved in this project? Who had the original concept?
I read the book UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN by Jon Krakauer. It was so profoundly disturbing the idea of this religious fundamentalism that it stuck with me. Renee Ridgeley, the writer, is a friend and I told her she should read the book because she might be interested in the subject. A few months later I saw her at a party and she said “I have an idea for a short film.” That was pretty much it. We made it a month later.
Did you have any contact with fundamental polygamists that led you to make this film?
Oh, no. Renee and I, separately, did a lot of research. I mostly did a lot of research online. Read a few books… The fundamentalists really scare me — I am torn between feeling sorry for them and then being angry that they do the horrific things they do “In the name of God”…those poor girls and women…and boys. What they are doing to those young boys “The Lost Boys” they call them…really just sad.
I’ve heard excellent reviews of this film, and have to agree with all of them. It was just visually stunning and the impact was incredible. The music was great, the dialogue. How do you feel about its impact, and do you think it is making a difference in how people look at polygamy?
Well, I don’t know if it makes a difference. But, since they arrested Warren Jeffs we have gotten into a lot of festivals. I think the biggest thing that people learn is that this really happens. Although, it is fiction, it shows people that this is still something that goes on in this country. We pride ourselves on being a democratic country and wanting to spread democracy throughout the middle east, which means equal rights for women, but we allow women and young girls to be basically forced into these marriages, against their will, and it is just sad and really disturbing. That and I seem to get into a lot of heated discussions with Mormons who think that I am spreading the idea that polygamy=the Mormons. Which, as I am FULLY aware that polygamy was outlawed by the Mormons in the late 1800’s, but, it was started by Joseph Smith, their prophet. Isn’t that funny how I can get that across when I use no dialogue in the film? The word Mormon is never mentioned in the film… People read into things what they want to see…this is the world we live in.
What’s up next for you?
I am working on a feature film. Nothing to do with Mormons or fundamentalists — but with the dark side of suburbia. I seem to be drawn to things that lurk beneath the surface.
Thanks, Nicole, for visiting with us here on Trapped. Make sure to get a copy of Nicole’s incredible film.