I guess I should clarify a few things that I may have taken for granted. There are assumptions that I've made, which I assumed would not be debatable, but I realize I should also bring the following to the discussion:
1. That a discussion of what is "essentially LDS" will be beneficial to those who are creating cultural and artistic output both inside and outside of the Church's official channels (i.e. that the films at the conference center and movies made outside the church's facilities by members might be stronger and/or more thoughtful if their makers took part in some kind of dialogue on the implications — doctrinal and cultural — of their form and content).
2. That this same discussion will be likewise beneficial for and greatly benefited by participation of Latter-day Saints (and, therefore, hopefully thoughtful) consumers as well as intellectuals from all fields, not just cinema or media studies.
3. That this discussion acknowledges both content and form as intrinsically linked to the philosophies and ideologies they propagate, denounce, address, etc. (i.e. that both what a movie shows or what story or lack of a story it is telling is just as important as the form in which it tells that story or lack thereof). This also suggests that cinema which does not explicitly discuss LDS doctrine may still be viewed/scrutinized in terms of the discussion this author hopes will take place.
4. That escapism is not in harmony with LDS thought. As far as a Latter-day doctrine is concerned, the Word of Wisdom (an abstinence from addictive and harmful substances outlined by revelation as well as a respect for the body) and the Law of Chastity by extension pertain especially to film construction: Both laws forbid behaviors that substitute dealing with life's difficulties. In the opinion of this author, promiscuity, infidelity, drunkenness, as well as any form of addiction, weaken us spiritually and socially in the same way escapist cinema does. "Escapist" could be further expounded upon, but in short it is anything which encourages retreat into "the world of the film" rather than confronting and challenging, communing with and celebrating with its audience. This is a complex issue, both acknowledging that everyone needs some kind of release from tense situations and thinking of 1 Cor 10:13. However, as a general guideline, escapism does not lead to godliness.
5. That such a discussion's goal is NOT to come to any kind of consensus, but to provoke thought and discourse, to challenge and refine. While scripture teaches that Zion is "of one heart and one mind," unity, if brought about before the needed study and work, leads to passivity and a compromise of values. However, this can be accomplished without contention.
6. That such a discussion MUST take place outside of a Church context, though it is designed for those who belong to its ranks. The Church cannot, officially or unofficially, endorse such a discussion. The Church's focus, in this ever more PR-run present, has rightfully turned to correlation committees rather than "by lines." This is at odds with the nature of such a discussion as well as the subject in many ways. The Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, Isaiah, and John's two narrative books are unique among narrative-based scripture in that they have explicit authorship. However, outside of General Conference, this kind of personal storytelling must be discouraged within the Church.
7. That the LDS culture is in need of personal films from LDS filmmakers. This need stems from a desire to see LDS life portrayed on screen as well as a desire and need to have discussions (since the best films are a conversation between the audience and the film) about the morality perceptions and culture of the Latter-day Saints. It is this author's belief that these goals can best be brought about by strong artistic voices strengthened and formed by Christian ideologies.
8. That the films created and produced by the church are not and should not be considered scripture, no more than the architecture of temples and meeting houses should be considered scripture. The church has found a style and functionality that fits its aesthetics and purposes for its buildings, but nowhere is the suggestion that all Church architects should design all their buildings in that manner. It is also worth noting that the Church's architecture varies from country to country and culture to culture—that even its official buildings change according to the surroundings and the members.
9. That the films produced by the Church should be scrutinized and analyzed. If the goal in this is fault-finding, it is obviously wayward and of evil origins. But if the goal it to learn from the first and earliest attempts and Church films, then, again, this author's hope is that such scrutiny will be done in the spirit of Moroni's words: "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been. (Mormon 9:31)"
Likewise it is this author's opinion that as the architects for the Salt Lake Temple studied European architecture as an influence (ironically one secondary source for that information is Mountain of the Lord), it occurs to this author that the production of Church films could benefit from a greater acquaintance with world cinema and cinema history. Furthermore, supposing that some architectural style that was suggestive of hedonism, atheism, or commercialism, would definitely NOT be the suggested style to build temples in, we should also assume the same for film style. If any of these things apply to the Church's films, or could apply to future projects, it is this author's suggestion to discuss such things, again, in the spirit of Moroni's words cited above.
10. That as the Church has three goals (to proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, redeem the dead), likewise we should realize that not every film has the same goal. It is my opinion that the films at the conference center fail as a means to perfect the saints. However in discussion it is important to remember that the goals of those films are to proclaim the gospel and should be held to that rubric first and foremost.
11. That there is a distinct difference, though the two are often connected, between what is spiritual and what is emotional. A tear-jerker may toy with, even manipulate emotions, but it may have nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ or His Spirit. Emotions may be manipulated, but if we agree with Nephi and Joseph Smith, the Holy Spirit is Deity and has a divine will which not only should not but cannot be controlled. Something should not be considered "spiritual" because it is emotional. It is also this author's opinion that "sparseness" is superior to "abundance," in allowing for the Spirit of God to take a role in any given cinema experience. A "Christian" model would be in opposition to a commercial model, where cinematic tools replace the Spirit of God rather than "making room" for that Spirit.