It’s a movie about Porter Rockwell, Free Masons, ancient bloodlines and the Ark of the Covenant. Oh, and UVU students. “The Masonic Map,” which was written and directed by senior Communications major Joseph James, is set to have its Utah premiere in downtown Salt Lake City. As James describes it, the movie “a story about a Masonic bloodline that protects a sacred relic.”
The independent film, set to premiere on Sept. 10, recently gained some international attention after winning the Award of Merit from the Accolade competition. According to its website, the Accolade gives awards to “those filmmakers, television producers, videographers and new media creators who produce fresh, standout productions. It is a showcase for cinematic gems and unique voices.”
The film’s premiere will take place at the Masonic Temple in downtown Salt Lake City. The movie’s story involves Freemasons and their ties to Porter Rockwell and sacred religious relics. James, who is a Freemason himself, even received permission to film inside of the Masonic Temple in Provo, something that has never been done before. It was this act of breaking new ground that James believes helped win the Award of Merit from the Accolade. “No secrets were revealed. I tried to respect all that while still pushing the edge,” James said. James has also received emails from Freemasons from all over the world, applauding his efforts to shed a positive light on Freemasons.
James worked in conjunction with over 50 other Utah locals over an eight-month period to complete the film, often fulfilling multiple jobs. Actors helped with technical aspects, such as filming and costumes. “It was a pleasure to work with everyone,” James said. James also described the amount of talent that exists in Utah, especially here in Utah valley.
Besides the Provo Masonic Temple, other scenes were filmed in Utah, such as up Rock Canyon or at Utah Lake. “I love filming in Utah,” James said. “It’s one of the best places to film in the country.”
James credits his education here at UVU for the success of not only his film but the start of his career. “Professors Steven Hall and Phil Gordon taught me things that put me on the right track,” James said. Phil Gordon is an associate professor in the Communications department, while Steven Hall is an adjunct instructor for the Humanities and Philosophy departments.
The premiere is set to be a red-carpet event and is completely free, giving the public a rare chance to see the inside of the Masonic temple. James hopes the event will be a fun experience for everyone. “You can to dress up if you want,” James said. “You’re welcome to bring a camera, take pictures with the cast and crew and even walk down the red carpet.” James also hopes the premiere will usher in “ a new era of Utah film making.”