Other Side of Heaven to Air on National TV

The Other Side of Heaven, a major motion picture based on the missionary experiences of Elder John H. Groberg, is set to debut nationwide on cable television. 

“We are very excited to feature this uplifting film on our network during the holiday season,” said Nancy Silverstone, Vice President of Programming for Starz!, the largest movies-only subscription cable service in the U.S.  “It is the perfect movie for the entire family to enjoy together.”

Starz announced it intends to air the film on December 1, 2004, with follow-up screenings on December 9, 14, 18 and 20.  They will air the movie on Starz Family channel on January 4, 10, 16, 21, 22, and 27.

Showtime, a competitor cable network, will begin airing The Other Side of Heaven in January but has not yet announced exact dates.  Both networks will show the movie dozens of additional times over the course of the next 18 months.  Interested viewers are advised to confirm air-dates and times on-line at “starz.com” for Starz! and “showtimeonline.com” for Showtime.

Elder Groberg, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, expressed hope that as many people as possible could see the movie during its cable release.

“I have been impressed by this movie’s ability to do good in the lives of the people who see it,” Elder Groberg says.  “I get letters and phone calls from people all over the world whose lives have been profoundly affected by it.  It is really a remarkable thing.  And it has nothing to do with the fact the movie is based on my own experiences.  It just goes to show you that when good people do good things for good reasons, there is no end to the positive impact they can have.”

Indeed, the producers of The Other Side of Heaven indicate the film has been screened by “tens of millions” of individuals across the globe in the last few years.

“Only about one million people saw the movie in theaters in the United States,” reports Mitch Davis, the movie’s writer, director, and executive producer.  “But since then it has been distributed all over the world in foreign theaters, on television and airlines, and in video and DVD sales and rentals. 

“We have been particularly gratified at the number of Muslim countries that have exhibited the film.  Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Malaysia — all of those Muslim countries and many more have exhibited the film, mostly on television.”

Elder Groberg confirms the worldwide nature of the movie’s impact.

“We had friends from the United States traveling in a Muslim country.  They felt they were not welcome there and asked one of their guides why.  The guide told them they were not respected because they came from a country that was perceived to be degraded and irreligious.  My friends asked their guide why the United States is perceived that way.  He immediately responded, ‘Your television shows.  Your movies.’

“Well, that same night those folks went into their hotel room and turned on their TV set.  After flipping through a few channels, they understood what their guide had been talking about as they came across some of the tawdry material commonly found on U.S. airwaves. 

“Then they flipped their channel once more and came across The Other Side of Heaven, which was airing on SkyTV.  They told me they ran right out and found their guide and told him to turn on his TV.  They said, ‘Here!  Watch this!  This is what we are really like!  This is what we believe.'”

Walt Disney Home Entertainment has released the video/DVD version of The Other Side of Heaven with great success.  Although sales have been brisk and widespread, there has also been an unfortunate abundance of pirating. 

“My own  daughter saw pirated copies for sale on the street corners of Saigon,” Davis reports, “and friends of Elder Groberg found counterfeit copies all over Beijing.  It’s illegal to talk about Mormonism in either of those communist countries, but I guess it’s not illegal to watch pirated movies about it.”

Davis concluded: “From a mission standpoint, I am thrilled that our movie is being pirated all over communist Asia, but we still have to pay back our investors, so I hope a lot of other people will continue buying their copies legitimately.”

Davis also hopes that the programmers at Starz! and Showtime will feel rewarded for their decisions to air “The Other Side of Heaven.”

“The more positive feedback those networks get, the more often they will run the movie,” Davis explains.  “I am sure they will receive a few letters complaining about them airing a film with Mormon themes.  I hope there will be a lot more letters sent to them congratulating them on airing a movie with universal, Christian themes.”

Anyone wishing to send letters to Starz! regarding “The Other Side of Heaven” should address them to:  Starz!, 8900 Liberty Circle, Englewood, CO 80112.  Letters to