Today, “The Mission” start in German cinemas on the UCM.ONE label NONFY Documentaries. The film by British-American-Swiss director Tania Anderson shows the life on “mission” of a group of young missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They leave their home in the USA to convert the most unreligious, closed-minded and sceptical people in Europe, the Finns, to their faith.
Every year, over 60,000 missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS for short) are sent around the world to share their gospel. “The Mission” follows four American LDS teenagers who have been given a mission by God that takes them from their families and the safety of their remote, religion-filled bubbles to the icy, forested reaches of Finland, home to the least religious, most closed-minded and sceptical people in Europe.
The journey they embark on will prove to be the most emotionally and psychologically difficult time of their young lives. As these wide-eyed, passionate teenagers struggle with the absence of their families, language hurdles, aching feet and daily rejection, they are pushed beyond their limits and fall deeper and deeper into their faith.
The international documentary production, a co-production of Danish Bear Productions (Finland) and Dirk Manthey Film (Germany), shows the inner life of a group of young missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who leave their homeland for the first time and travel to the other side of the world to try to convert some of the most unreligious, closed-minded and sceptical people in Europe, the Finns, to their faith.
Tania Anderson is a British-American-Swiss filmmaker living in Helsinki, Finland. She has also worked as a writer and journalist and has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, most recently as a writer for National Geographic, where she discovered her passion for telling the extraordinary stories of ordinary people. A conversation she overheard between two young missionaries in dark, wintry Finland gave her the idea for “The Mission“, her first feature-length documentary.
With “The Mission“, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has, for the first time in its history, allowed a film crew to film young missionaries throughout their missionary years – from their nervous farewells as they leave home (some for the very first time) to their return as triumphant conquerors with “missionary splendour” or as psychologically exhausted fallen heroes.
Director Tania Anderson‘s stated aim was to “connect with the vulnerable teenager behind the religious suit, the human being behind the missionary. I shot in a cinéma vérité style and wanted the audience to be at eye level with the missionaries, which is sometimes uncomfortably close.”