The film, based on the New York Times best seller of the same name by private investigator Sam Brower, chronicles his 10-year investigation into the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and the abuse of power by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs in the nearby towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale in Southern Utah where it all started. Brower will attend the 2015 festival and hold a question and answer session following the screening.
A release for the documentary trailer said:
With polygamy long disavowed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Warren Jeffs, the self-described prophet of the FLDS, ‘took control and bridged the gap between sister wives and ecclesiastical rape, befuddling the moral compass of his entire congregation.’
“This film is not meant to polarize anyone; on the contrary, the hope is that it will bring people together to confront a common problem right here in America,” Brower said. “It is about human rights and a moral imperative to intervene and stop the crimes against children in these communities, where young girls are basically being trafficked, young boys are being ostracized and left to fend for themselves for vague and minor offenses against the cult and families are being torn apart by corrupt leaders.”
Brower describes the challenge of prosecuting cases of child abuse because of the costs to bring a case to trial.
“Small cities and counties simply do not have the resources to do this when even one case can cost millions of dollars in legal fees,” Brower said. “That is where the federal government could come in and assist local municipalities in bringing FLDS offenders to justice.”
The film, written and directed by Academy Award nominee Amy Berg, said it “examines Warren Jeffs’ life and rise to power; eventually becoming worshipped and adored in the same manner his adherents revere God himself. Warren has a devout following numbering in the tens of thousands – many of whom would give their life at any moment with just one word from the Prophet. Despite a trail of abuse and ruined lives, Warren has maintained his grip on power,” even from his Texas jail cell where he is serving out a life sentence plus 20 years, for the ritualistic rape of a 12-year-old and 13-year-old girls.
“Sam Brower is a devout Mormon who is outraged by these abuses in the FLDS communities and focused his efforts to bring justice for the victims of Warren Jeffs,” said Jon Krakauer, executive producer of “Prophet’s Prey.” “He is more responsible than anyone else for getting Jeffs arrested.”
“We felt it was important to give this subject as wide an audience as possible because the subject matter is not about religion. It is about human rights,” said Phil Tuckett, artistic director for DOCUTAH, associate professor at Dixie State University and the director of DSU films.
“We hope that by showing the film in the area where the FLDS started, we could engender more interest in addressing this issue,” Tuckett said.
The “2015 DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival” is held at Dixie State University in St. George. The 2015 festival, which kicks off on Sept. 7 with a special inaugural gala at the newly renovated Electric Theater in St. George, runs from Sept. 8-12 and includes filmmaker chats, seminars and gala events, all within the beautiful scenery of Southern Utah’s red rock country.
DOCUTAH’s mission is to inspire a global connection through independent documentary films and intellectual discussions. DOCUTAH strives to enhance the education of independent filmmakers, aspiring film students, citizens of the world and the community.
DOCUTAH is one of the few university-sponsored film festivals in the U.S. It is an international pure documentary film festival. As part of Dixie State University’s academic component, DOCUTAH also offers master class seminars and filmmaker panels where student, amateur and professional filmmakers can discuss and advance their skills in the art of filmmaking.
- DOCUTAH website
- DOCUTAH documentary festival announces 2015 lineup
- DOCUTAH audience favorites, bonus films; Saturday screening schedule – 2014
- Why we tell stories; insights from DOCUTAH filmmakers – 2014