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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 4 Collections and/or Records:

David Kent Jacobs materials on publications, 1965-1983

 Sub-Series — Carton: 61
Identifier: UA 5625 Series 1 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents Contains printed publications concerning projects that Jacobs was involved with or featured in. Included is Jacobs' master's thesis, The History of Motion Pictures produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was written in 1967 in completion of his Master of Arts degree at Brigham Young University. Curtain Time, U.S.A.: Master of Inspiration was a book published in 1965 about the Curtain Time, U.S.A. tour that occured the same year. The book highlights the tour and...
Dates: 1965-1983

Motion Picture Studio flip chart

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: UA 850
Scope and Contents Flip chart describes the facilities of the Motion Picture Studio, its productions and their distribution.
Dates: 1957

University Communications files on the Media Production Studio and LDS Motion Picture Studio, 1959-1994

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 5395 Series 4 Sub-Series 34
Scope and Contents Contains photographs, newspaper clippings, press releases, and lists regarding the Media Production Studio and the LDS Motion Picture studio owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1972 to 1994. Materials contain photographs of movies and productions produced by these studios.
Dates: 1959-1994

Scott Whitaker papers

 Collection — Carton: 1
Identifier: MSS 2278
Abstract This collection contains the papers and journals of Scott M. Whitaker, including ten journals covering 1966 to 1975, photographs, cartoons, and biographical information.
Dates: 1966-1976