I think the seeds of this writing came from a recent Elders' Quorum lesson in which we talked about diversity in the Church compared with the scriptural imperative to be of a single heart and mind. I commented then, and still think, that something about worldly philosophies has subtly twisted the value of diversity into a mindset that values rebellion, non-conformity, and unfettered individualism. In other words, when Isaiah points out that "all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6) the world replies, "Oh, good. We should all try to be ourselves."
I've found this philosophy to be especially apparent in the arts. I'm not sure why that should be so other than the deeply personal nature of art, but it seems to me that art, and film more so than some other media, has become a vehicle of choice for rebellious personalities. There's a mindset that says, "If I make a film, I can show my rage against the system," or "Since I'm such a rebel, I should make a film about it." You get the idea. Film itself seems to have become a symbol of extreme individualism - particularly independent film. Interesting that it should be called that.
I'm all in favor of personal expression and I recognize the diverse ways and means of the Spirit, but it seems to me that LDS filmmakers should shy away from this mold. I commented on another post about Richard Dutcher and whether or not his personal apostasy was related to his filmmaking path. I don't know the answer to that, but when I think of Brigham Young and his ideas about how the stage can reinforce the teachings from the pulpit, I wonder if it is wise in us to hold edginess and envelope-pushing as values in the creation of art, as we sometimes do.
It seems to me that honesty, charity, and other virtues should be at the forefront of our portrayals, whatever other devices or approaches we take. I also think that personal worthiness on the part of the artist - and by this I mean temple worthiness at least - is paramount. There is another kind of worthiness that has to do with whether our character can support our knowledge and creativity, and Katsuhiro Otomo's film Steamboy gives what I consider to be an excellent discussion of it.
I think I'll leave it there for now, but I would like your ideas on this. I want to know if I'm the only one who sees it this way and, if not, where we go from here.