‘Meet The Mormons’ movie event a collaborative effort


A two-week, feature event for the movie “Meet The Mormons’’ just concluded at Battle Ground Cinemas and it was so successful that organizers were left hoping for a sequel.

“It was very successful,’’ said Patty Saunders, director of marketing for Prestige Theaters. “We’re hoping there will be a ‘Meet The Mormons II.’ ’’

Saunders is just one of many people responsible for the collaborative effort to bring the movie to Battle Ground Cinemas and the surrounding community.

According to Saunders, only 317 copies of the documentary were being released in the United States. Normally, a smaller theater like Battle Ground Cinema would need a release of more than 2,400 copies to have a shot at getting the movie. However, a strong commitment by Prestige Theaters President/CEO Elie Kassab fueled the community effort to bring the movie to Battle Ground.

“We normally don’t get movies like that because studios like to go with bigger communities of 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 and larger so that they can get a return for their print,’’ Kassab said. “In this case, our film buyer put a little bit of pressure, in kind of a positive way, on the studio and they gave us two prints, one for Battle Ground and one for Sandy (OR).’’

Prestige Theaters officials worked together with staff and members of the Vancouver Washington North stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which made a verbal commitment to an attendance of 500 for the opening weekend of the movie at Battle Ground Cinemas.

In turn, Prestige Theaters created a special Saturday morning viewing on Oct. 11. The movie, which premiered in Battle Ground a day earlier, was shown in four different theaters at Battle Ground Cinemas on that Saturday morning and moviegoers were rewarded with discounted prices on both tickets and concessions. The result was a total attendance of 1,157 on the first weekend the movie played in Battle Ground.

Saunders said Battle Ground Cinemas ranked 98th out of the 317 theaters that premiered the movie.

“This was a great collaboration between our church and our community theater, Prestige Theatres,’’ said Steve Walker, one of the event organizers. “We are so grateful for their efforts on our behalf. They bent over backwards for us; not only in procuring the film but in graciously accommodating our visits to their theater.

“This is the type of stand-up businesses that blesses and unites communities,’’ Walker added. “Others, I am sure, will find them equally accommodating in servicing their organizations’ needs.’’

Not only was the movie well-attended, but it was also well-received.

“The film was based on testimonials, inspirational stories,’’ Saunders said. “It was about 80 minutes in length and it was very well received.’’

“We really enjoyed working with the theater,’’ said Bruce Randall, president of the Vancouver Washington North stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.“The movie was very professionally done. It just gave a sense, a basic understanding of who Mormons are.’’

Randall said all the net proceeds from the movie will be given to the American Red Cross.

Saunders said the two-week event was such a success that she hopes Prestige Theaters will have the opportunity to work with other community organizations on other collaborative efforts.

“In the future, we will try to help out the community whenever we can,’’ Saunders said. “We were really fortunate to be able to get this opportunity and show what we could do.’’

Kassab said the collaborative effort shows the vision that led to the decision for Prestige Theaters to build Battle Ground Cinemas.

“Absolutely, we are there to the community and bring to it what it needs,’’ Kassab said. “That’s why we came out to Battle Ground in the first place. National and regional chains kind of shy away from the smaller communities because they don’t get the returns for their stockholders that they want. It’s always going to take smaller companies like us to come out and serve smaller communities.’’

The Vancouver Washington North stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is comprised of roughly 5,000 members from the La Center, Battle Ground, Hockinson, and Brush Prairie areas all the way south to the Orchards/Vancouver Mall areas.