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Koerber, Dutcher, Evil Angel, and Joseph Smith

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smac97    6,663

What a weird story:

Quote

Accused real estate guru invested in sexy horror flick to raise funds for movie on Mormon church founder Joseph Smith
Filmmaker Richard Dutcher tells jury about his relationship with Rick Koeber, who’s on trial for alleged fraud.

By Tom Harvey

Utah filmmaker Richard Dutcher told a federal court jury Monday that Rick Koerber put about $5 million from his real estate investment operation into a sexy horror movie called “Evil Angel,” with the goal of earning enough money to make another film about LDS Church founder Joseph Smith.

Evil Angel was released in 2009, apparently after its maker, Richard Dutcher, very publicly departed from the LDS Church (see also here).  So it seems odd that Koerber (who is LDS) would want to team up with Dutcher to film a movie about Joseph Smith, and doubly weird that their idea of financing the Joseph Smith movie was to make money off a horror movie filled with violence, gore, profanity, and sex scenes.

Quote

Dutcher testified at the beginning of the fourth week of trial for Koerber, who’s facing 18 charges that allege he took in about $100 million in investments and returned nearly half that back as interest payments in an alleged Ponzi scheme.

An indictment alleges that Koerber told investors their money would go to purchase single-family homes but that he also spent money for restaurants, personal expenses like luxury autos and the Dutcher movie.

Dutcher is the producer of movies such as “Brigham City,” “God’s Army” and “States of Grace.”

He testified that in the 2000s, he wanted to make a movie about Joseph Smith, who founded The Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830 in western New York. But he estimated that the project could take up to $17 million to “do it properly.”

Dutcher said he talked to Koerber about investing, and they decided to make a movie in a popular genre that might earn enough money so they could make the Joseph Smith project.

Koerber eventually put up $5 million for the horror flick now titled “Evil Angel,” including extra funds to hire star Ving Rhames, a veteran of action movies.

About midway through the morning court session, prosecutors played the trailer for the movie.

Koerber’s wife, Jewel, led two of their young children, who have been attending the trial every day, from the courtroom as it began. It featured movie gore and several sex scenes.

Make that triply weird.  Team up with an ex-mormon to film a movie about Joseph Smith, finance that movie by first making a horror movie offensive to pretty much all Latter-day Saints, and use stolen / ill-gotten funds to finance the horror movie.

He's innocent until proven guilty, but man...

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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stemelbow    4,144
20 minutes ago, smac97 said:

What a weird story:

Evil Angel was released in 2009, apparently after its maker, Richard Dutcher, very publicly departed from the LDS Church (see also here).  So it seems odd that Koerber (who is LDS) would want to team up with Dutcher to film a movie about Joseph Smith, and doubly weird that their idea of financing the Joseph Smith movie was to make money off a horror movie filled with violence, gore, profanity, and sex scenes.

Make that triply weird.  Team up with an ex-mormon to film a movie about Joseph Smith, finance that movie by first making a horror movie offensive to pretty much all Latter-day Saints, and use stolen / ill-gotten funds to finance the horror movie.

He's innocent until proven guilty, but man...

Thanks,

-Smac

 

Is it weird he wants to make the movie or the guy on trial invested on the venture?  Doesn't this investing and seeking funding happen all the time? 

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smac97    6,663
6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Is it weird he wants to make the movie or the guy on trial invested on the venture?  

Mostly the latter.  I had anticipated that Dutcher-made movie about Joseph Smith would be generally respectful (though no doubt still controversial).  

6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Doesn't this investing and seeking funding happen all the time? 

I suppose.  But don't you see something of an incongruity here?  An (apparently) observant Mormon wants to fund a movie about Joseph Smith, so he (allegedly) uses misappropriated (stolen) money to pay an ex-Mormon to make a horror movie full of gore and profanity and sex, which will hopefully make enough money to fund the Joseph Smith movie.

To me, that's weird.

Thanks,

-Smac

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bluebell    14,876
11 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Is it weird he wants to make the movie or the guy on trial invested on the venture?  Doesn't this investing and seeking funding happen all the time? 

Don't you think it's weird that a mormon would want to make a gory violent movie with lots of sex scenes so they could finance a movie about the founding of the church? 

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rongo    3,037

I'm disappointed in Dutcher's transformation as a film-maker, and his leaving the Church (essentially, because he was bitter at not becoming a celebrity Mormon film maker. The target audience is just not big enough to become a big anything; it's a niche market).

That said, I think his Joseph Smith movie would have been light years better than anything the Church has made. I was taken aback by his attempting to get Val Kilmer as Joseph Smith, but the more I thought about it, I think he would have done a great job. He tended to do eclectic roles (Jim Morrison, Doc Holliday, etc.). But, he needed to be fat-farmed to slim down to the role. In the end, they couldn't get the funding, despite Larry H. Miller's backing.

Very disappointed with the turn towards salacious R-rated stuff. It's too bad, because he made good LDS films that made you think (in a good way).

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ALarson    2,946
8 minutes ago, rongo said:

I'm disappointed in Dutcher's transformation as a film-maker, and his leaving the Church (essentially, because he was bitter at not becoming a celebrity Mormon film maker....

From what I am reading, that's not why he left the church.  It seems to have happened when he was doing research on Joseph Smith for the movie:

http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=53940921&itype=CMSID

Comment on this article:

Quote

So in-depth research of Joseph Smith led to his near instantaneous loss of faith. I think that says it all.

In his statement posted here, he makes it clear that it had nothing to do with not making more money off of his Mormon movies:

http://www.mormonstories.org/richard-dutcher-explains-why-he-left-the-lds-church/

Quote

 

Many have jumped to the conclusion that I left because I’m angry that LDS audiences didn’t line up for my movies. If such was the case, I would be a truly shallow human being.

First of all, LDS audiences did line up for my movies. Even my lowest-grossing film, STATES OF GRACE, made $200,000.00 at the box office. True, that’s less than 1/10 of what GOD’S ARMY grossed, but still…most independent filmmakers would kill (or, at least, maim) for a $200,000.00 theatrical gross.

Some have very pointedly claimed that if my films had been more financially successful, I wouldn’t be leaving. Believe me, it has nothing to do with money. I didn’t make GOD’S ARMY because I thought it would make me rich, and I haven’t left Mormon Cinema because I’m afraid it’s going to make me poor. If STATES OF GRACE had made 20 million dollars, I’d still have made the same choice.

Others have said that I’m angry because Mormons didn’t “get” my movies. I think the majority of those who saw them “got” them. I’ve tried not to pay too much attention to the very vocal minority who didn’t.

 

It will be interesting to see what type of movie he actually produces regarding Joseph Smith.  I also hope that it's respectful (and as historically factual as possible....).

Edited by ALarson

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rongo    3,037
18 minutes ago, ALarson said:

From what I am reading, that's not why he left the church.  It seems to have happened when he was doing research on Joseph Smith for the movie:

In his statement posted here, he makes it clear that it had nothing to do with not making more money off of his Mormon movies:

I'm basing this off of comments he made at the time (that pre-dated what you linked to). At the time, he expressed profound disappointment that he had not been embraced as the premier LDS film-maker.

I *really* liked God's Army and Brigham City. I heard mixed opinions about States of Grace (haven't seen it, myself). I think I would like to --- from what I've heard, it makes LDS think about the degree to which we fully buy in to the Atonement in practice. I'd be interested in anyone here's thoughts on that film (the last film he made before turning out the lights, in terms of the Church).

Is he still wanting to do a Joseph Smith movie? I think that even as an apostate, his Joseph Smith movie would be very good. As long as it wasn't R-rated . . . ;) 

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jkwilliams    3,717
1 minute ago, rongo said:

I'm basing this off of comments he made at the time (that pre-dated what you linked to). At the time, he expressed profound disappointment that he had not been embraced as the premier LDS film-maker.

I *really* liked God's Army and Brigham City. I heard mixed opinions about States of Grace (haven't seen it, myself). I think I would like to --- from what I've heard, it makes LDS think about the degree to which we fully buy in to the Atonement in practice. I'd be interested in anyone here's thoughts on that film (the last film he made before turning out the lights, in terms of the Church).

Is he still wanting to do a Joseph Smith movie? I think that even as an apostate, his Joseph Smith movie would be very good. As long as it wasn't R-rated . . . ;) 

I don't recall him ever saying he left because he hadn't been embraced as a filmmaker. If he really wanted to be some sort of celebrity, you would expect him to try to become an ex-Mormon celebrity, a la Steve Benson. But he hasn't. From what I've read, his exit was every bit as painful as mine. Reducing it to his not being enough of a celebrity seems a bit weird.

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ALarson    2,946
Just now, rongo said:

I'm basing this off of comments he made at the time (that pre-dated what you linked to). At the time, he expressed profound disappointment that he had not been embraced as the premier LDS film-maker.

Do you have a source for that?  (I'm not doubting you, just interested).  But even if he was disappointed regarding this, he's made it clear that is not why he left the church.  I'll take him at his word.

 

2 minutes ago, rongo said:

Is he still wanting to do a Joseph Smith movie? I think that even as an apostate, his Joseph Smith movie would be very good. As long as it wasn't R-rated . . . ;) 

Well, many active LDS still attend R-rated movies and I'll bet they'd go see this (if it was still respectful and not anti, even if it received an R-rating).  I know many would not see it because of that, however.  It's a personal choice and I respect both.

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ALarson    2,946
2 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I don't recall him ever saying he left because he hadn't been embraced as a filmmaker. If he really wanted to be some sort of celebrity, you would expect him to try to become an ex-Mormon celebrity, a la Steve Benson. But he hasn't. From what I've read, his exit was every bit as painful as mine. Reducing it to his not being enough of a celebrity seems a bit weird.

Especially since leaving caused him to fall in the eyes of many who could have made him a Mormon celebrity.  Leaving hurt his chances of achieving that.

I can completely understand how he most likely discovered details regarding Joseph Smith's life that led to what he calls his "faith crisis".   Once again, I'll take him at his word and let him speak for himself.

Edited by ALarson

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rongo    3,037

I'm sure that it is much more complicated than that, but I think it's/it was a factor. I don't have a source; just recollection. I was interested in him and his films, so at the time, *I* was disappointed in how things turned out. 

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jkwilliams    3,717
2 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Especially since leaving caused him to fall in the eyes of many who could have made him a Mormon celebrity.  Leaving hurt his chances of achieving that.

I can completely understand how he most likely discovered details regarding Joseph Smith's life that led to what he calls his "faith crisis".   Once again, I'll take him at his word and let him speak for himself.

I can't count the times I've been told the "real" reason I left the church. Well, technically I haven't left, but you know what I mean.

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ALarson    2,946
16 minutes ago, rongo said:

IIs he still wanting to do a Joseph Smith movie? 

Here's what it states on wiki regarding that movie:

Quote

 

The Prophet[edit]

In 2003, Dutcher announced his most ambitious movie project to date: The Prophet, a biopic about the life of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith, based on a screenplay written by Dutcher. In a press conference held in Utah, Dutcher called the movie "the Mount Everest of Mormon filmmaking" and said that he planned to do "the bulk of the filming" in 2004 for a 2005 theatrical release. He also announced that both Val Kilmer and F. Murray Abraham had agreed to portray Joseph Smith and Gov. Thomas Ford of Illinois, respectively (depending on schedules). The budget of the movie was projected at more than $12 million.[10] The movie was never made.

 

Quote

 

Film plans[edit]

Dutcher at one point was planning to direct Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith, a film about the life of the early LDS prophet. While Dutcher did not specifically comment on his plans for his movie on Joseph Smith in his "Parting words" letter, Dutcher did state that he will no longer be making Mormon films.

 

But then from the OP,  it sounds like he's getting funding to make the movie.  Maybe someone else knows more here?

Edited by ALarson

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rongo    3,037
8 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I don't recall him ever saying he left because he hadn't been embraced as a filmmaker. If he really wanted to be some sort of celebrity, you would expect him to try to become an ex-Mormon celebrity, a la Steve Benson. But he hasn't. 

I don't think he wants to be a celebrity at all costs --- of any kind. It seems to me that he still harbors a spark within him, and because of that isn't prone to simply pull a Steve Benson. That might be the least satisfying Warhol 15 minutes of all --- the accolades of the RfM crowd.

It would also thrill me if the spark within you flared up somehow, John . . . ;) 

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jkwilliams    3,717
18 minutes ago, rongo said:

I don't think he wants to be a celebrity at all costs --- of any kind. It seems to me that he still harbors a spark within him, and because of that isn't prone to simply pull a Steve Benson. That might be the least satisfying Warhol 15 minutes of all --- the accolades of the RfM crowd.

It would also thrill me if the spark within you flared up somehow, John . . . ;) 

According to the missionaries who came to my door a while back, I'd go back if I just felt worthy enough. :rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

 

I suppose.  But don't you see something of an incongruity here?  An (apparently) observant Mormon wants to fund a movie about Joseph Smith, so he (allegedly) uses misappropriated (stolen) money to pay an ex-Mormon to make a horror movie full of gore and profanity and sex, which will hopefully make enough money to fund the Joseph Smith movie.

To me, that's weird.

Thanks,

-Smac

"Weird" true, if the one putting up money for what you define as an (or he does) "observant Mormon". Especially in such a movie if the funds are "misappropriated or stolen funds", it would seem that he is not an "observant Mormon", by any definition. Also the member who "left in a very public way", like many who leave in that way there is often, anger, resentment and a need of revenge. Those who just leave quietly, or just stop attending, do so (often) in many different ways, usually still respect the Church, even if they no longer believe. In short they don't have an axe to grind.  

So if he, or the other are willing to raise money by producing such a movie, one can only assume that their movie about Joseph, will be the same type of movie. They will suffer the same fate, "Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and fight against God."

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jkwilliams    3,717
2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Don't you think it's weird that a mormon would want to make a gory violent movie with lots of sex scenes so they could finance a movie about the founding of the church? 

No weirder than a Mormon starting a Ponzi scheme. 

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ALarson    2,946
20 minutes ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

"So if he, or the other are willing to raise money by producing such a movie, one can only assume that their movie about Joseph, will be the same type of movie. They will suffer the same fate, "Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and fight against God."

In reading about this more, I doubt that Dutcher will be making the movie about Joseph Smith.  He stated that he did get money from Koerber back when "he wanted to make" it:

Quote

 

He testified that in the 2000s, he wanted to make a movie about Joseph Smith, who founded The Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830 in western New York. But he estimated that the project could take up to $17 million to “do it properly.”

Dutcher said he talked to Koerber about investing, and they decided to make a movie in a popular genre that might earn enough money so they could make the Joseph Smith project.

Koerber eventually put up $5 million for the horror flick now titled “Evil Angel,” 

 

He does, however, have plans for the movie "Evil Angel":

Quote

Dutcher said he hopes to release the film again with a new title and several new scenes. Horror films make money, he said, and he estimated the film could earn between $18 million to $30 million.

 

Edited by ALarson

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28 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

No weirder than a Mormon starting a Ponzi scheme. 

I don't know about that, making an X Rated movie, to fund a movie about the Church and Joseph Smith, is much more odd that Ponzi schemes. Well at least that is my 2 cents. Also, hope this note finds you well. 

Edited by Bill "Papa" Lee

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jkwilliams    3,717
Just now, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

I don't know about that, making an X Rated movie, to fund a movie about the Church and Joseph Smith, is much more odd that Ponzi schemes. Well at least that is my 2 cents. 

I thought it was an R-rated film, but either way, I don't think that's worse than a Ponzi scheme, given that both were conceived to fund the film in question.

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1 minute ago, jkwilliams said:

I thought it was an R-rated film, but either way, I don't think that's worse than a Ponzi scheme, given that both were conceived to fund the film in question.

BTW, I posted that I hope my note finds you well, I hope so?. As far as the movie, I was addressing this on the "weird-o-meter", not on a the sin-o-meter. :) 

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jkwilliams    3,717
2 minutes ago, Bill "Papa" Lee said:

BTW, I posted that I hope my note finds you well, I hope so?. As far as the movie, I was addressing this on the "weird-o-meter", not on a the sin-o-meter. :) 

Things are good. The silver lining to Hurricane Harvey is that my daughter and baby granddaughter are staying with us until my daughter can get into a walking boot, at which time she can go home to Houston. In the meantime, I am loving being a grandfather. Hope you're doing well, too. You're a good man.

Edited by jkwilliams

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