Every year, over 60,000 young missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sent across the world to preach their gospel. Sundance Film Festival selection THE MISSION follows four Latter-day Saints teenagers from their training in Utah to their missions in Finland, home of Europe’s most private and secular people. Tania Anderson's film tracks these wide-eyed, impassioned teens on their two-year rite of passage, as they struggle with being immersed in a new culture, and the daily rejections they inevitably receive throughout their task. Granted total access by the Church, THE MISSION is a sensitive observational documentary detailing the challenges and triumphs of these missionaries' journeys.
"It is a frank and generous portrayal of a common experience of nearly all young members of a very successful American religious subculture. A religious minority that holds a great deal of political, economic and social power far outweighing their numbers. The Mission is appropriate viewing for high school and college level sociology courses, an interesting example of understated verité filmmaking for the student of documentary, and a good example of contemporary ethnography in the study of religious culture. Recommended." - EMRO
- "Part anthropological study, part reality show, Tania Anderson’s The Mission is a fascinating look at a bunch of clean-cut American teens who fly to Finland to spread the word of their religion."
- "Anderson is incredibly empathetic toward her subjects; her observational style with no voiceover or expert talking heads means she doesn't force an opinion on the viewer."
- "Anderson's incredible sensitivity lets personal epiphanies steadily accumulate in power, yielding a film in which the particulars of a religious practice may be fascinating, but the process of learning to have faith in oneself is even more compelling."
- "An intriguing glimpse into a hidden world."
- "The Mission offers an empathetic portrait of the sacrifices made by young American Mormons while spreading word about their faith."
- "An unexpected portrait of humanity and understanding."
- "The Mission is an enlightening gateway into the world of missionaries that demands to be seen, no matter one’s religious affiliation."
- "A rewarding and empathetic study of young Mormons."
- "The Mission is an enthralling portrait of a group of young people who put their lives on hold to serve their church. They’re fascinating subjects and this ... makes The Mission a thoughtful and curious piece of filmmaking."
Awards & Recognition
Grand Jury Prize - Documentary
Sundance Film Festival
Ad Hoc Docs Competition
Cleveland Int'l. Film Festival
Göteborg Film Festival
Best International Documentary
Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival