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Brigham Young University. Motion Picture Studio



  • Existence: 1953 - 1990

Administrative History

The Motion Picture Studio (1953-1990) was a support unit at Brigham Young University. It produced documentary, historical, and training films for use of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in schools.

Within the Motion Picture Production was the Film Development Advisory Committee. That committee's functions were to review and select subjects for motion pictures, to review motion picture proposals to consider whether they should be approved for production, to review motion picture scripts and make recommendations for changes if necessary, to review marketing studies made on proposed motion pictures, to review budgets for proposed motion pictures, and to evaluate the overall marketing and advertising programs for educational motion pictures.

Originally the Motion Picture Studio reported directly to the president of the university. In 1959, the director of the Motion Picture Studio began reporting to the director of Auxiliary Services. In 1960, Auxiliary Services became the Vice-President of Auxiliary Services. The director of the Motion Picture Studio reported to this Vice-President until 1965 when the Division of Communications was created. Thereafter the director reported to the director of Communication Services, the Instructional Services Division, and the Division of Instructional Production Services.

In 1991 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints moved the studio from Brigham Young University supervision to the Church. Directors of the Motion Picture Studio included Wetzel O. Whitaker (1953-1974), Jesse E. Stay (1974-1983), and Peter N. Johnson (1983-1990).

The Miracle of birth [VR] c1987: credit frame (Brigham Young University, Motion Picture Studio)

Phone call to the Studio, 5/7/97 (management of the Studio transferred to the LDS Church in 1990; official name changed to LDS Motion Picture Studio)

Ensign, Nov. 1987: p. 101 (BYU Motion Picture Studio)

BYU Organizational History Project, via WWW, Apr. 15, 2013 (BYU Motion Picture Production; BYU Motion Picture Studio; est. 1953; produced documentary, historical and training films for the LDS church and schools; included a Film Development Advisory committee, responsible for review and selection of subjects for films, approved productions, reviewed scripts and made recommendations for changes, reviewed marketing studies and budgets and evaluated marketing and advertising; studio originally reported to the university president; 1959, reported to the Auxiliary Services; reported to vice president until 1965 when the Division of Communications was created; then reported to director of Communication Services/Instructional Services Division/Division of Instructional Production Services; in 1991 the LDS church took over the studio; directors of the studio included Wetzel O. Whitaker (1953-1974), Jesse E. Stay (1974-1983), and Peter N. Johnson (1983-1991))

Found in 85 Collections and/or Records:

Motion Picture Studio flip chart

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197233236717]
Identifier: UA 850
Scope and Contents

Flip chart describes the facilities of the Motion Picture Studio, its productions and their distribution.

Dates: 1957

Motion Picture Studio footage of Brigham Young University

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 1287
Scope and Contents

Materials include 26 reels of film footage of the Brigham Young University campus. Digital copies of the film are also included in the form of 26 DVDs. Footage dates from 1949 to 1981 and is silent.

Dates: 1949-1981

Motion Picture Studio master tapes, production records, and song directories, 1960-1994

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 940 Series 7
Scope and Contents

Collection of production records (productions stored in Motion Picture Studio vault), and The Stecheson Classified Song Directory. Dated 1960-1994.

Dates: 1960-1994

Motion Picture Studio printing elements for Man's Search for Happiness

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8781
Scope and Contents

Contains six reels: 35mm color interpositive, 35mm cyan color separation protective master, 35mm magenta color separation protective master, 35mm yellow color separation protective master, French composite 16mm magnetic soundtrack, Cantonese composite 16mm magnetic soundtrack.

Dates: 1964

Motion Picture Studio records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 1244
Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence from 1979-1987 concerning the BYU Motion Picture Studio.

Dates: 1979-1987

Motion Picture Studio stills

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 3737
Scope and Contents Contains photographs, slides, negatives, and contact print sheets from eight Brigham Young University Motion Picture Studio productions. Films represented in the collection include: How Rare a Possession (1987), Seeds of Destiny (1987), The Three Witnesses (1968), Restoration of the Priesthood (1982), The First Vision (1975), The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon (undated), That They Might Have Joy (undated), and The Lost Manuscript (1974). Collection also includes a BYU football poster...
Dates: 1968-1987

Motion Picture Studio use-copy DVDs, 1971-1999

 Series — Carton 84: Series 8 [Barcode: 31197227635221]
Identifier: UA 940 Series 8
Scope and Contents

Collection of use-copy DVDs of the Brigham Young University Motion Picture Studio audio-visual materials collection. Contains DVDs of Motion Picture Studio productions, such as "Run Dick, Run Jane" Dated 1971-1999.

Dates: 1971-1999

No more a stranger / [Brigham Young University] ; [producer, Wetzel O. Whitaker] ; [screenplay, Scott Whitaker], 1964

 Sub-Series — Box 1: Series 3 [Barcode: 31197235218689], disk: 22
Identifier: UA 5625 Series 3 Sub-Series 9
Scope and Contents

Film was released in 1964, and was produced by the Brigham Young University Motion Picture Department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The story focuses on the reception of a new family into a ward. The collection has one copy of the film on a film reel. Dated 1964.

Dates: 1964

Noel B. Reynolds research files on "A More Perfect Union" , 1987-1988

 Sub-Series — Carton 5: Series 2; Series 3 [Barcode: 31197233247656], Folder: 1-12
Identifier: MSS 7935 Series 2 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents

Contains materials from the Brigham Young University-produced film on the U.S. Constitution, "A More Perfect Union." Materials include the script, correspondence, and research files, 1987-1988.

Dates: 1987-1988

Oral history interview with Wetzel O. Whitaker

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2968
Scope and Contents

Typescript of an interview transcribed from the included audiocassettes. Whitaker was interviewed by Thomas Cheney on July 30, 1985. Whitaker talks about his experiences in making films with the Walt Disney Company and at the Brigham Young University Motion Picture Studio.

Dates: 1985 July 30