‘You can’t walk away from these roles’: ‘Jane and Emma’ star knew little about black Latter-day Saint trailblazer, but she’ll never forget her (Salt Lake Tribune)

What, if anything, did you know about Mormonism before accepting this role? I wasn’t that versed on Mormonism. I knew about Brigham Young University and Brigham Young but I didn’t know anything about Joseph Smith at all. Strangely, I had read a small blurb about Jane Manning James. It’s kind of uncanny. It was like, “I know about this woman.” I had encountered a small inkling of who she is in written form on the web two years prior. It didn’t click for me until I was sitting in a hotel on a short film — before I came to …

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“Jane and Emma” Film Examines Power of Unlikely Friendships (LDS.org)

Imagine walking more than 700 miles with blistered and bleeding feet to reach a destination after being denied passage on a boat that would go directly there. Imagine receiving glares from passersby and getting turned away from shops with food and other necessities. Imagine prayerfully calling on God for a blessing of healing to be able to continue the journey when all hope feels lost. Then imagine knocking on the door of a large house, hoping and praying that the people behind the door will be different from all the others along the way. When the door opens, a woman …

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Interview with Jenn Lee Smith and Zandra Vranes of “Jane and Emma” (Segullah)

Sandra: Tell us a bit about yourself how you came to your creative work. Jenn Lee: I’m a writer and film producer who focuses on underrepresented stories, particularly of women. On Jane and Emma (released October 12), my roles are as producer and executive producer. Beginning in 2001, with helping to start a micro-loan program for women, I have engaged in gender-balancing work. I’ve worked in nonprofit organizations for women and researched race and gender discourses in religion. A few years ago, I met a filmmaker named Dane Christensen who was planning to make a short documentary on gay male Mormons. I suggested …

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“Jane and Emma” Actress and Non-Member Tells NPR the Uplifting Insights She Learned About Joseph Smith, Faith Playing Jane Manning (LDSLiving)

The upcoming movie Jane and Emma is already making waves in the entertainment industry with its controversial topics and strong female presence in the cast and crew. The movie shows the relationship between Jane Manning, Emma Smith, and the prophet Joseph Smith. Jane Manning was one of the first African American Latter-day Saints to join the Church. She was a woman of great faith and led her family from Connecticut to Nauvoo to better participate in the Church. Her story is one of faith, heartbreaking trials, and endurance. It confronts controversial topics such as race, gender, and polygamy head on. Danielle Deadwyler …

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“Jane and Emma” Reviewed on By Common Consent (Blog)

Some topics of Church history are so ugly, so complex and so fraught with conflicting priorities that they seem impossible to talk about in meaningful ways. Racism in the Church is one of those topics. Polygamy is another. Each attempt to examine these topics is like performing an autopsy on a live patient, each little dissection an injury. How, then, can we address these matters, because it is both morally crucial and communally necessary to know ourselves and see as we were then and are now? Melissa Leilani Larson (screenplay, story), Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes (story) believe that the …

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Mormon News Report Special Edition – “Jane & Emma” Movie! (Podcast)

Today on a special edition of the Mormon News Report, Brandt and Jenny talk with Melissa Leilani Larson, Madeline Jorgensen, Jenn Lee Smith and Chantelle Squires, the dream team behind the amazing “Jane & Emma” movie! Find out where the idea came from, what historical significance the movie has, and how it all came together. JANE & EMMA Listen to the podcast here Visit the Mormon News Report website

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ReFrame, IMDBPro Announce 22 Newly Certified Gender-Balanced Films (Variety)

ReFrame — a coalition of industry leaders founded by Women in Film and the Sundance Institute — and IMDBPro announced on Tuesday nearly two dozen films to be certified for their gender-balanced productions. Reframe launched the data initiative in an effort to recognize and promote gender-balanced films and television shows. The collaboration relies on data from IMDBPro to analyze films and television series to see how many women were involved in the production, and how much screen time female characters had. To earn the ReFrame Stamp, a film or TV show must meet a handful of requirements that call for …

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