The “Witnesses” film project reaches a milestone

The “Witnesses” film project reaches a milestone September 3, 2019


Mark Goodman with "Edwin Kelly"
Director Mark Goodman discussing the role of journalist Edwin Kelly with Ted Charette, the actor who is portraying Kelly.  (Still photo provided by producer Russell Richins.)


Filming of the dramatic portion of the Interpreter Foundation’s Witnesses movie project began today.  Our crew is at Ontario’s Upper Canada Village, south of Ottawa and Montreal and just over the border with the United States.  I wish that I could be there, as well — I am, after all, one of the film’s executive producers — but, alas, being regularly employed in a quite unrelated job does have its downsides.  (Today was also the first day of classes for BYU’s new academic year, and I was here in Utah teaching a course on the Qur’an in English translation, as well as another introducing the “humanities” of the Islamic world and a third introducing Islam as a religion.  One day down, and I still haven’t made a complete shipwreck of the fall semester!)


Kandarian or Whitmer reading
Actor Paul Kandarian portrays Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer in his later life. (Still photo provided by producer Russell Richins.)


It’s very gratifying to have reached this point in our ambitious undertaking, and I want to express my gratitude to all those generous souls who have contributed in any way, financially and otherwise, to the Witnesses project.  We have already filmed a number of scholarly interviews for the documentary or docudrama portion of the effort, but today marked our first day of dramatic filming.


We have the funds in hand to do the filming.  There are, however, some ancillary efforts for which we still need to raise money.  I would be happy to speak with anyone who might be interested in further information about those elements of the overall project.  Contact me at  If you would like to discuss making a financial contribution, both my colleague Ed Snow and I would be happy to speak with you.  Donations can also be made, both to Witnesses and to the Interpreter Foundation more generally (which should not be neglected or lost in the shadow cast by the film and its relatively large requirements), via the Interpreter Foundation website:


Donating to The Interpreter Foundation


An elderly David Whitmer at work.
David Whitmer at work in his Richmond, Missouri, livery stable.  (Still photo provided by producer Russell Richins.)


Filming will continue for a few days at Upper Canada Village in Ontario and will then move to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.  Thereafter, there will be additional work in Utah, at the LDS Motion Picture Studios and at This is the Place Heritage Park.  We will also be doing additional scholarly interviews at various locations.


Whitmer and Kelly from Richins
A rather reluctant David Whitmer being interviewed by reporter Edwin Kelly in Whitmer’s livery. (Still photo provided by producer Russell Richins.)



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