Mitch Davis

Last updated
Mitch Davis
Alma mater Brigham Young University University of Southern California
OccupationDirector, Producer, Writer
Years active1989-present
Notable work
Home townEscondido, California
Spouse(s)Michelle Davis

Mitch Davis is an American film director, writer, and producer noted for his 2001 film The Other Side of Heaven about the trials and adventures of an LDS Missionary, John H. Groberg. [1] His movies range from intense dramas to lighthearted, family-friendly comedies. He has written seven films, directed five, and produced three. He is from Escondido, California. He attended Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Southern California.


Personal life

Davis is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as an LDS Missionary in Córdoba, Argentina [2] in the 1970s and received a bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1982. [3] It was in an introduction to film class at BYU where Davis first watched It's a Wonderful Life, the film that first showed him the impact movies could have on the lives of individuals. He described it as "a spiritual experience," saying that, after watching it, he "walked around campus in a daze...that movie just made me want to be a better person." [2] His goal in film making is to uplift and inspire on a global scale. [4] Davis later attended the University of Southern California and graduated with his Master of Arts in film production in 1989. [5] He is married to Michelle Davis, and has three sons and a daughter. [6]

Professional career

After graduating from BYU, Davis first worked as a mainframe computer salesman. While attending graduate school, Davis worked as an intern at Disney. He went on to become a creative executive, working on films such as Dead Poet’s Society (1989), White Fang (1991), The Rocketeer (1991), and Newsies (1992). Davis wrote the screenplay for the Disney Channel film Windrunner (1994). He then worked as Vice President of Development of Columbia’s Cash & Epps Entertainment company.

While working as a screenwriter, Davis realized how much directors and producers could change his original work. He became a director and producer to ensure that his films would be released how he originally envisioned them. He explained: "That's how I became a filmmaker top to bottom; I was kind of backed into it." [4]

Davis was struck by lightning while on a camping trip in Colorado. [7] This near-death experience motivated him to begin production on The Other Side of Heaven. It was inspired by John H. Groberg's book, In the Eye of the Storm. Davis and his family moved to the Cook Islands to make the film. There, Davis worked alongside producer Gerald R. Molen and John Garbett. [8] It was released on December 14, 2001. More than three million copies of the film have been sold; about 200 million people worldwide have seen it. [7] Davis stated that the film was "played in nearly every majority-Muslim country in the world." [9]

After The Other Side of Heaven, he wrote and directed Language of the Enemy (originally entitled A House Divided), a story about an American Jewish man's travel to Israel and his subsequent romantic relationship with a Palestinian woman. [10] Davis then wrote a three-part documentary series for BYUtv entitled Fires of Faith: The Coming Forth of the King James Bible, a historical piece featuring figures such as William Tyndale, Martin Luther, and King Henry VIII. [11] He continued with BYUtv to write another documentary about Handel's Messiah in 2014. [12] In 2015 he wrote, directed, and produced Christmas Eve , a family holiday comedy starring Sir Patrick Stewart. [13] In 2017 he released The Stray, which showcased his own life experience. Davis co-wrote the PBS docudrama Joseph Smith: American Prophet in 2017, a remake of the 1999 film of the same name.

The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith , a sequel to Davis's previous film, was released on June 28, 2019. [14] It is set 10 years after the original, and tells the story of Elder Groberg's return to Tonga with his family.

Davis has released a book entitled Journey of Faith: The Making of the Other Side of Heaven, with Gerald R. Molen and John Garbett as co-authors. The Other Side of Heaven: The Screenplay is also available.


Theatrical releases

YearFilm Director Producer Writer Starring
1994 Windrunner NoNoYes Russell Means, Margot Kidder
2001 The Other Side of Heaven YesNoYes Anne Hathaway, Christopher Gorham
2015 Christmas Eve YesYesYes Patrick Stewart, Jon Heder, James Roday, Cheryl Hines, Gary Cole, Max Casella
2017 The Stray YesYesYes Michael Cassidy, Sarah Lancaster
2019 The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith YesYesYes Christopher Gorham, Natalie Medlock, Ben Baker

Other releases

YearFilm/Series Director Producer Writer Starring
2010 (DVD) Language of the Enemy YesNoYes F. Murray Abraham, Eion Bailey, Linda Hardy


Fires of Faith: The Coming Forth of the King James BibleNoNoNo(documentary series)
2014 (TV)Handel's MessiahNoNoYes(documentary)


Joseph Smith: American ProphetNoNoYes Gregory Peck (narrator), John Foss, Anna Daines

Awards and nominations

Related Research Articles

Brigham Young University–Hawaii Hawaii campus of Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University–Hawaii (BYU-Hawaii) is a private university located in Laie, Hawaii, United States. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mormon fiction is fiction by or about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called Mormons or Latter-day Saints (LDS). Its history is commonly divided into four sections as first organized by Eugene England. During the first fifty years of the church's existence, 1830–1880, fiction was not popular, though Parley P. Pratt wrote a fictional Dialogue between Joseph Smith and the Devil. With the emergence of the novel and short stories as popular reading material, Orson F. Whitney called on fellow members to write inspirational stories. During the home literature movement, church-published magazines published many didactic stories and Nephi Anderson wrote the novel Added Upon. The generation of writers after the home literature movement produced fiction that was recognized nationally but was seen as rebelling against home literature's outward moralization. Vardis Fisher's Children of God and Maurine Whipple's The Giant Joshua were prominent novels from this time period. In the 1970s and 1980s, authors starting writing realistic fiction as faithful Mormons. Acclaimed examples include Levi S. Peterson's The Backslider and Linda Sillitoe's Sideways to the Sun. Home literature experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s when church-owned Deseret Book started to publish more fiction, including Gerald Lund's historical fiction series The Work and the Glory and Jack Weyland's novels.

<i>The Other Side of Heaven</i> 2001 adventure drama film by Mitch Davis

The Other Side of Heaven is a 2001 American adventure drama film written and directed by Mitch Davis, based on John H. Groberg's autobiography In the Eye of the Storm. The film stars Christopher Gorham as John Groberg and Anne Hathaway as Jean Groberg.

Mormon cinema Type of cinema made by and for Latter-day Saints

Mormon cinema usually refers to films with themes relevant to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The terminology has also been used to refer to films that do not necessarily reflect Mormon themes but have been made by Mormon filmmakers.

BYU TV American television channel

BYU TV is a television channel, founded in 2000, which is owned and operated as a part of Brigham Young University (BYU). The channel, available through cable and satellite distributors in the United States, produces a number of original series and documentaries with emphases in comedy, history, lifestyle, music and drama. BYUtv also regularly broadcasts feature films, nature documentaries, acquired medical/crime dramas and religious programs. Additionally, BYUtv Sports is the primary broadcaster of BYU Cougars athletics, producing more than 125 live sporting events in 2012 alone. The channel has won multiple Emmy Awards, and several of its original series have been praised by national television critics.

Samuel Woolley Taylor was an American novelist, scriptwriter, and historian.

Janice Kapp Perry American songwriter

Janice Kapp Perry is a composer, songwriter, and author. She is most notable for her work related to her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has written over 3,000 songs, some of which appear in the church's official hymnal, Children's Songbook, and many personal albums, songbooks, and musicals. Some of her most well-known songs include "I Love to See the Temple", "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus", and "A Child's Prayer". Perry has also composed albums in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

John Holbrook Groberg has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1976. He is the author of The Eye of the Storm, and was the protagonist in the movie made from the book titled The Other Side of Heaven.

Douglas H. Thayer was a prominent author in the "faithful realism" movement of Mormon fiction. He has been called the "Mormon Hemingway" for his straightforward style and powerful prose. Eugene England called him the "father of contemporary Mormon fiction."

Brigham Young University Press is the university press of Brigham Young University (BYU).

Bookcraft was a major publisher of books and products for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Blair Treu is an American film director. He directed Little Secrets and Wish Upon a Star. More recently he has teamed up with Brigham Young University (BYU) professor Stephen F. Duncan, KBYU-TV and BYU TV to create Real Families, Real Answers. He was also a codirector of BYUtv's Granite Flats. He graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in theatre in 1985.

T.C. Christensen is an American cinematographer, film director, and writer best known for his work on films related to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration, Gordon B. Hinckley: A Giant Among Men, 17 Miracles, and Ephraim's Rescue. He has made films about the Martin and Willie handcart companies who traversed the plains toward the Salt Lake Valley in late 1856. Christensen is also a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.

Delwin Oliver "Del" Parson is an American painter who is well known for his Latter-day Saint (LDS) themed paintings. His painting of Jesus, "Christ in Red Robe," is recognizable from its wide use by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

John Garbett is an American film producer from Utah. He was the producer of The Other Side of Heaven and also of The Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003) for which he also wrote the screenplay. This was loosely based on the screenplay his mother-in-law Claire Whitaker Peterson wrote for the film Johnny Lingo.

Mormon studies is the interdisciplinary academic study of the beliefs, practices, history and culture of those known by the term Mormon and denominations belonging to the Latter Day Saint movement whose members do not generally go by the term "Mormon". The Latter Day Saint movement includes not only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but also the Community of Christ (CoC) and other groups, as well as those falling under the umbrella of Mormon fundamentalism.

2015–16 BYU Cougars mens basketball team American college basketball season

The 2015–16 BYU Cougars men's basketball team represents Brigham Young University in the 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. It is head coach Dave Rose's eleventh season at BYU and the Cougars fifth season in the West Coast Conference. The Cougars once again play their home games at the Marriott Center.

<i>The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith</i> 2019 film by Mitch Davis

The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith is a 2019 adventure biography drama film directed by Mitch Davis. It is the sequel to the 2001 film The Other Side of Heaven. Heaven 2 continues the story of John H. Groberg, who returns to the islands of Tonga, where he served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ten years prior. This time he is a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He brings his family along: his wife, Jean Groberg, and their five daughters.

Melissa Leilani Larson American playwright

Melissa Leilani Larson is an American writer and playwright based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mormon literature critic Michael Austin described her as "one of the true rising stars of Mormon literature." Her plays commonly feature women in leading roles, and some center around the faith of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is the youngest person and first woman to receive three Association for Mormon Letters (AML) awards.

Garrett Batty is an American film director, writer, and producer known for his film The Saratov Approach. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a native of Park City, Utah. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his films lie within the realm LDS cinema but often approach storytelling differently so as to appeal to a wider audience. He has written, directed, and produced four full-length films, including Freetown (2015) and Out of Liberty (2019), and will begin work on a fifth in 2020. For Freetown, he was awarded the 2015 Ghana Movie Award for Best Screenplay alongside Melissa Leilani Larson.


  1. The Other Side of Heaven , retrieved 2020-01-10
  2. 1 2 "Other Side of Heaven Director on Risking It All". BYU Magazine. Retrieved 2020-01-10.
  3. "Taking It to the Big Screen". BYU Magazine. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  4. 1 2 Harman, Hayden (2014-08-19). "The man behind the movies: Mitch Davis". The Daily Universe. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  5. "Mitch Davis". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-01-10.
  6. "The Miracle Stray Dog That Saved the Life of One LDS Family". LDS Living. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  7. 1 2 "How Being Hit by Lightning Led Mormon Mitch Davis to Create Disney's "The Other Side of Heaven"". LDS Living. 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2020-01-10.
  8. "Mitch Davis - Feature Film Director". Retrieved 2020-01-10.
  9. "'Other Side of Heaven' filmmaker has big plans to take the LDS missionary story's sequel worldwide". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2020-01-10.
  10. Language of the Enemy , retrieved 2020-01-10
  11. Toone, Trent (2011-10-15). "BYUtv tells story of the King James Bible in 'Fires of Faith'". Deseret News. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  12. Handel's Messiah , retrieved 2020-01-16
  13. Christmas Eve , retrieved 2020-01-16
  14. The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith , retrieved 2020-01-10
  15. "2015 AML Awards Finalists #6: Film". Dawning of a Brighter Day. 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2020-01-16.