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‘Mormon Land’: Why this LDS-palooza on the screen? ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ ‘Cheer’ directors weigh in.

Jared Hess and Greg Whiteley discuss how Latter-day Saints and the sometimes-bizarre episodes from the religion can be a recipe for successful films.

(Michelle Faye | FX) Andrew Garfield as Jeb Pyre in "Under the Banner of Heaven," one of a string of recent films and TV shows about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the past year or so, Latter-day Saints have been showcased in a bevy of TV shows and documentaries — from “Under the Banner of Heaven,” about a grisly 1980s murder case, to “LulaRich,” about a pair of multilevel marketers.

Recently, moviemakers tackled the purported killings of two children by extremist members in Idaho and a series based on the true-crime documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.”

Why this sudden interest in the church and some of its more bizarre episodes?

On this week’s show, Latter-day Saint filmmakers Jared Hess, who co-wrote and directed “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Murder Among the Mormons,” and Greg Whiteley, who directed “New York Doll,” “Mitt” and “Cheer,” discuss the industry and its fascination with Mormonism.

(Invision/AP) Latter-day Saint filmmakers Jared Hess, left, and Greg Whiteley.

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