Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Part 1 - Interview with Carole Whang Schutter, screenwriter of SEPTEMBER DAWN

Since my posts regarding the newly released movie, September Dawn (starring Jon Voight), I've had the privilege of interviewing the writer of the screenplay, Carole Whang Schutter. I'll be posting my questions and her answers here throughout September. Some of the questions I posed to Ms. Schutter were inspired by your comments to this blog.

I invite you to listen in to my conversation with Ms. Schutter...

Dianne: How did you come to know about the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

CWS: I was driving in Colorado when a story came to me about a pioneer girl on her way to the California gold rush whose wagon train was attacked by Mormons dressed as Indians. The story wouldn't leave me. Imagine my surprise when I began researching the wagon trails to the gold rush and discovered the story of the Mountain Meadow Massacre.

Dianne: How did you come to write the screenplay for September Dawn?

CWS: We have a God who uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. We also have a God who likes to ask one to do things they don't know how to do because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

When the idea for a screenplay popped into my head, my first reaction was, "Lord, I don't know how to write a screenplay."

But, of course, years before the Lord had arranged for me to become good friends with Chris and Sharon Cain. Chris is a retired director/producer who became my co-writer. He knew how to write a screenplay. The Lord provides.

Coming next: What challenges or fears have you experienced while writing this movie?

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Jan said...

What an awesome kickstart to a great interview! I'll be back to check this out and see more.

Thanks for the invite Dianne.

Isn't it amazing where God takes us when we step out of the Driver's Seat?


Marlene Depler said...

I will be looking forward to future posts of your interview. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Tomás Aquinas said...

Good morning.

I have visited Ms. Schutter's website. I see that she has made this comment:

"The film is extremely controversial and is based on a real life event, the Mountain Meadow Massacre, the first act of religious terrorism in the United States that occurred on September 11, 1857."

Does Ms. Schutter really believe that the Mormons perpetrated the first act of religious terrorism in the United States?

While most of the facts of the case are not in dispute, some points are either patently untrue or highly disputable. The movie is receiving poor reviews. Generally I do not agree with many movie critics but after seeing the movie I do agree in this case. I find the movie to be blatant propaganda against Mormons and is designed, in my opinion, to whip up sentiment against them.

May I suggest that readers do a Google search on the string "Christian terrorism" using the quotes.

Will Ms. Schutter be doing screenplays for any of those incidents?

Dorothy Thompson said...

Awesome stop...kudos to Cheryl for getting Carole an interview here and thank you for hosting her! She's really a remarkable woman...screenplay, then movie, then book...isn't that everyone's dream no matter which order it's in?

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the kudos, Dorothy, but this interview was all Dianne's doing. She just allowed me to use it.

I think it's important to point out that Carole has spoken about her motivation and the meaning behind the movie and the book many times, and what critics continue to ignore is that this is not an anti-Mormon piece of work. This is a movie and book seeking to teach people to think for themselves and encouraging people not to blindly follow any leader. I've read the book and plan to watch the movie to compare the two, but the unfolding love story between Jonathan and Emily is the "true" story of "September Dawn" and while I won't spoil the ending for anyone, the power of forgiveness plays a huge part in this story--not only at the end, but during the massacre itself.

Carole has written a powerful piece and if people stood back and looked at it as a whole instead of as a film and book about religious fanaticism, the critics might feel differently.

Thanks for allowing me to highlight this interview Dianne.


Dianne E. Butts said...

Dorothy, thank you for your kind comments. I hope you enjoy the rest of this interview with Carole in the days to come.

Thank you, Cheryl, for highlighting my interview with Carole. She has a lot to say to writers and to Christians and to others, and I'm thrilled to have you pointing readers to this interview.


Myles Steimle said...

Wow.... Just finished watching this ridiculous film. If it is not anti mormon, I don't know what is. From what I know, the Mormon Massacre is a very dark part of Mormon History. But I also know that none of it is totally clear to anyone.

The author of this book/movie sure did a poor job of telling a complete story in an unbiased way. No wonder the reviews are so bad. You don't have to be a historian to see the one sided view of this writer. What a waste of time. And to think I was going to be educated on an good part of history.