Emotions ran high Wednesday night at the Directors Guild for the screening of Chris Cain’s “September Dawn.” It’s the story of the Mormons’ massacre of 120 westwrard-bound settlers. The final cred on the screen reads: “The Mormon Church continues to deny its responsibiity for the massacre even until this day.” Cain tells me, “The actual massacre was worse than shown in the movie. I wanted to make it as horrible as it was — yet watchable.” Cain’s main motive he says is to remind people “That we are living today in a world of horrible killings as well — all again in the name of God!”
Jon Voight’s performance will probably gain him yet another Oscar nomination. His convincing evil is unrelenting throughout the film. To insure that “September Dawn” would be seen as it was intended to be made, Cain and his company, Black Diamond Pictures, are releasing the film themselves on June 22 in about 1000 theaters — including those in Utah, Idaho and Colorado where there are Mormons. He had one showing in Salt Lake City and a church leader refused to attend, said Cain.
Post-theatrical, Cain has made a deal with Sony Video. There were 75 descendants of the massacre on hand at Wednesday night’s DGA screening. How did they know of the film and the screening? “They found us,” said Cain. They received a standing ovation when introduced by Cain.