T. C. Christensen

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T. C. Christensen
Born 1953
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Alma mater Brigham Young University
Occupation Filmmaker
Years active 1973–present
Notable work

Tom C. Christensen (born 1953) is an American cinematographer, film director, and writer best known for his work on Latter-day Saint (LDS) church history films including Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration to 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.


Christensen grew up in Layton, Utah with nine siblings. He served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Ohio and West Virginia from 1972 to 1974. He studied filmmaking at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.[1]

T.C. Christensen married his wife Katy in 1980. They had two children: Tanner and Tess, both of whom have worked with Christensen on his films. His cousin, Ron Tanner, has also collaborated with Christensen on his films.[1]


While attending Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, Christensen worked as a part-time cameraman for KSL-TV in Utah for five years. He declined offers to go full-time, because he did not want to pursue a career in news.[1] After leaving KSL-TV, Christensen began freelance film-making. He credits fellow filmmaker Kieth Merrill as his mentor, whose children were cast in Christensen's The Mouth of Babes.[1]

Films by Christensen have received recognition in several film festivals. His A Pioneer Miracle (also titled In the Arms of Angels) received the Grand Remi Award at the Houston International Film Festival in 2004.[2][3] His Seasons of the Heart, for which he was both director and cinematographer, received multiple awards in film festivals.[4] Christensen has made several films about Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement (Mormonism).[5] Among these are Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration and Emma Smith: My Story, both made in cooperation with Gary Cook.[6] Other Mormon-themed films include the biography of LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley, made following Hinckley's death in 2008.[7] Christensen wrote, directed, and produced Only A Stonecutter, the story of John R. Moyle, father of James H. Moyle.[8] Christensen has also been the cinematographer for a large number of films. These include Rigoletto, The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd, Forever Strong, and Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy.[9][8] Having collaborated over the years, T.C. Christensen has been described as the "mentor" of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre director Jared Hess.[10]

On such films as the first Work and the Glory, Christensen's cinematography was considered by some to be by far the best part of the film.[11] Christensen has also made several IMAX films including Texas: The Big Picture and Ozarks: Legacy and Legend.[12] In the summer of 2011, 17 Miracles was released across the country. The film depicts the Martin and Willie handcart companies as they traveled across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley in 1856.[13][14] In 2013, Christensen's film Ephraim's Rescue about the life of Ephraim Hanks, a notable rescuer of the Martin Handcart Company, was released to good user reviews and specifically the addressed events of Hanks bringing the first food supplies to the company, which were snow-bound and starving on the Mormon Trail.[15][16] In 2015, Christensen wrote and directed The Cokeville Miracle which tells the story of the school bombing in Cokeville, Wyoming in 1986.[17][18] In 2016, Christensen began working on Love, Kennedy. It is based on the true story of Ogden, Utah teenager Kennedy Hansen's battle with Juvenile Batten Disease. The film was released in June 2017.[19][20]

Christensen is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.[21]


All credits come from Internet Movie Database (IMDb).[22]

Year Title Role Notes
1973 Wheels of Fire Cinematographer & Editor Documentary
1978 The Bridge Cinematographer Short - As Thomas R. Christensen
1979 Kenny Rogers and the American Cowboy Cinematographer TV Movie
1982 The Ghost of the Great Salt Lake Director
1987 The Touch of the Master's Hand Director Short - as Tom Christensen
1988 On Our Own Cinematographer & Actor TV Movie
1990 Quest for a Go-Getter Director of photography Video Short
1991 Dream Machine Cinematographer
1991 In Your Wildest Dreams Cinematographer
1992 The ButterCream Gang Cinematographer Video
1992 Split Infinity Cinematographer
1992 On the Way Home Cinematographer Video short
1993 Rigoletto Cinematographer Video
1993 Seasons of the Heart Cinematographer
1995 Fedora Cinematographer Short
1995 Reach for the Stars Director of photography
1995 The Dark Knight Cinematographer Short
1995 Ozarks: Legacy & Legend Cinematographer
1995 San Francisco: The Movie Cinematography Short
1995 Valencia, Spain Cinematographer
1996 Treasure Chest Cinematographer Short
1996 Turning Point Cinematographer Video short
1996 Last Resort Cinematographer
1996 Clubhouse Detectives Cinematographer
1997 Witness Cinematographer Short
1997 Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail Cinematographer TV Movie documentary
1997 The King's Falcon Cinematographer Short
1998 No More Baths Cinematographer
1998 Follow Your Heart Cinematographer Short
1998 Angels in the Attic Director of photography
1999 Olympic Glory Cinematographer Documentary short
1999 A Kid Called Danger Cinematographer
1999 American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith Cinematographer Documentary
1999 Christmas Mission Cinematographer Video short
2000 Navigate your Destiny Cinematographer Short
2000 The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd Cinematographer
2000 Baby Bedlam Director of photography
2000 Message in a Cell Phone Cinematographer
2001 Walls Cinematographer Short
2001 Bug Off! Cinematographer & Writer
2001 The Penny Promise Cinematographer & Writer
2001 Horse Crazy Cinematographer
2002 Journey to Harmony Director of photography Short
2002 Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West Cinematographer Short
2003 A Pioneer Miracle Cinematographer & Writer Video short - Alternative title: In the Arms of Angels[23]
2003 Texas: The Big Picture Cinematographer Documentary short
2004 The Work and the Glory Director of photography
2005 Down and Derby Cinematographer
2005 A Warm Heart Director of photography Short
2005 Praise to the Man Cinematographer & Writer & Director Video
2005 Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration Cinematographer & Director
2006 Roving Mars Cinematographer Documentary short
2006 Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy Director of photography As TC Christensen
2006 Rainbows of Paradise: The Pageant of the Long Canoes Director Documentary short
2007 Take the Lead Cinematographer Video short
2007 Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure Director of photography Documentary short
2007 The Legacy of Aotearoa: Land of the Long, White Cloud Cinematographer & Director Video documentary short - as TC Christensen
2008 Emma Smith: My Story Cinematographer & Co-director
2008 Forever Strong Cinematographer
2008 Gordon B. Hinckley: A Giant Among Men Cinematographer & Writer & Director Video
2008 Only a Stonecutter Cinematographer & Writer & Director Video short
2009 The Jerk Theory Cinematographer
2009 Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story Cinematographer & Director Video short
2010 The Killers: Boots Director Video Short
2010 That Promised Day: The Coming Forth of the LDS Scripture Director of photography Video
2011 17 Miracles Cinematographer & Writer
2012 Everything's Fine Cinematographer Short
2012 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue Cinematographer
2012 Gathering of Friends Cinematographer
2013 Ephraim's Rescue Cinematographer & Writer
2014 Scriptures Legacy Cinematographer TV Short
2015 The Cokeville Miracle Cinematographer & Writer & Director
2017 Love, Kennedy Cinematographer & Writer & Director
2017 The Stray Cinematographer
2019 The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith Cinematographer Filming

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Toone, Trent (March 6, 2013). "T.C. Christensen: the man, the movies, and the stories that matter". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ "2015 Remi Winners – Worldfest-Houston". worldfest.org. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  3. ^ A Pioneer Miracle/In the Arms of Angels, retrieved 2018-05-10
  4. ^ Hicks, Chris (April 24, 1994). "'Seasons of the Heart' wins another award". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  5. ^ "American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith (1999) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  6. ^ Means, Sean P. (November 25, 2015). "Tayva Patch, actor in several LDS-themed films, dies at 62". The Salt Lake Tribune. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  7. ^ Moore, Carrie A. (2008-11-21), "Movie details early life of President Hinckley", Deseret News
  8. ^ a b Toone, Trent (March 6, 2013). "17 films from the resume of T.C. Christensen, creator of '17 miracles'". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Rigoletto (1993)". www.ldsfilm.com. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  10. ^ Walch, Tad (2005-07-26), "BYU duo win Telly Award by a nose", Deseret News, retrieved 2009-06-05
  11. ^ Vice, Jeff (2004-11-24), "'Work' beautiful but disappointing", Deseret News, retrieved 2009-06-05
  12. ^ "Biographies: Latter-day Saint and/or Utah Film Personalities: C". www.ldsfilm.com. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  13. ^ Fidel, Steve (2010-08-30), "T.C. Christensen's '17 Miracles' aims to be more than just a handcart story", Deseret News
  14. ^ Davis, Allan (2012). "17 Miracles. Directed by T.C. Christensen". BYU Studies Quarterly. 51 (4): 185–188. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  15. ^ Hilton III, John (2014). "Ephraim's Rescue, written and directed by T.C. Christensen". BYU Studies Quarterly. 53 (2): 187–189. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  16. ^ Toone, Trent (May 31, 2013). "'Ephraim's Rescue' another powerful pioneer tear-jerker". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  17. ^ Toone, Trent (June 4, 2015). "Sharing the 'Miracle': Mormon filmmaker wants 'Cokeville' retelling to reach many faiths". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  18. ^ Haddock, Sharon (March 13, 2015). "'The Cokeville Miracle' a story of faith and answered prayers". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  19. ^ Toone, Trent (May 1, 2017). "TC Christensen's new film based on inspiring life of Utah teen who died from rare disease". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News.
  20. ^ McDonald, Hannah (June 2, 2017). "'Love, Kennedy' is touching, if a little heavy-handed". Deseret News Publishing Company. Deseret News. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Members - The American Society of Cinematographers". theasc.com. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  22. ^ "T.C. Christensen". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  23. ^ "'A Pioneer Miracle' (also known as 'In the Arms of Angels')". Harold Communications. Daily Herald. July 24, 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2018.

External links[edit]