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Doc unearths ‘Past’ of pioneer massacre

Pic won Utah's best of state 2004 award

“Burying the Past,” a docu about the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah, will be screened at the ArcLight Sunday as part of the ARPA film fest.

Pic, from U. of Utah professor Brian Patrick, retells the story of a group of pioneers killed in a Mormon-directed attack as they traveled from Arkansas to California.

“Burying the Past” was pulled at the last minute after being slated for screening at Idaho’s Spudfest last month. Fest leaders claimed the bloody documentary was inappropriate for the event’s kid-heavy audience, but Patrick contends the squabble was caused by threats of protest from the Driggs, Idaho, Mormon community (Variety, Aug. 9).

“Burying the Past” has since gone on to win Utah’s best of state 2004 award, best of festival at the Berkeley and Broadcast Education Assn. festivals and the $4,000 Crystal Heart Award at the Heartland Film Festival. Despite the squabble at Spudfest, ARPA leaders are not concerned about the film’s impact on the local community. “Idaho is not Los Angeles,” said ARPA committee member Alex Kalognomos. “In Los Angeles I have many dear Mormon friends, and I don’t think they would offended by something like this.”

“Burying the Past” is nominated for ARPA’s docu award. Winners will be announced Sunday.

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