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Experience taught Dutcher to stay in the driver's seat

Richard Dutcher on the set of "God's Army 2: States of Grace," which his company is distributing.
Richard Dutcher on the set of "God's Army 2: States of Grace," which his company is distributing.
Main Street Movie Co.

When Richard Dutcher released "God's Army" in 2000, it was pretty much a do-it-yourself project. In addition to producing, writing, directing and co-starring in the film, he even booked the theaters.

"It certainly was a challenge," he said.

Things haven't changed appreciably in five years, because he's still at it with the eagerly awaited sequel, "God's Army 2: States of Grace."

Dutcher is releasing the movie through his own Main Street Movie Co., ending his earlier distribution agreement with Excel Entertainment, which released both "God's Army" and his 2001 thriller "Brigham City."

He severed ties with that company when it joined forces with Deseret Book — not because of any personal differences but instead because of his desire for creative freedom and control. "In my brief experience in this industry, I've learned that you're better off if you can control as many aspects of the business as you can."

So he started Main Street Movie Co., a production and distribution company that isn't really located on Main Street but on Center Street in Provo. It employs a staff of 14, though Dutcher and wife Gwen have also been involved.

"When I made 'God's Army,' I had no ambition and no intention of having my own movie studio," he said with a laugh, "and now ironically I find myself in that position."

According to Dutcher, the company will have "States of Grace" playing in a maximum of 35 locations at one time. "With 'Brigham City,' we learned a few hard lessons about getting too ambitious and getting too big. We're keeping things small this time."

Main Street Movie Co. also exists as more than just a distribution house for his films. In addition to the new two-disc DVD release of the original "God's Army," the company has released the direct-to-video animated featurette "Jonah: A Great Fish Story."

"We'd like to be able to release some other quality films, though there's a lot of competition in this market," Dutcher said, noting the presence of Excel (the first "Work and the Glory," "Pride & Prejudice"), Vineyard Distribution ("New York Doll," "The Work and the Glory: American Zion") and HaleStorm Entertainment ("The Singles Ward," "Mobsters and Mormons").