United States 2016, 89 min, English, Hebrew subtitles

Their guru looked more like a hot porn star, wearing only a Speedo and Ray-Bans. To his hundreds of beautiful young admirers, that didn’t seem ridiculous. He promised them love, a family, and, of course, enlightenment. As an aide to the guru, director Will Allen served him day and night. He was also the official chronicler of the Buddhafield cult. The film is mostly comprised of clips from his vast collection of archival footage, shot when he was still a cult member. After 22 years, Allen discovered that it was all a sham, and that the guru, Michel, was really an out-of-work actor and professional hypnotist, who cast himself in the role of his life. Despite “the bombshell that destroyed our lives”, survivors of the cult still remember life with Michel as “crazy, terrifying, beautiful”.

Previous Festivals: Sundance

Director: Will Allen
Production: Will Allen, Tracey Harnish, Alexandra Johnes
Editing: Will Allen, Sean Jarrett
Cinematography: Will Allen, Polly Morgan
Music: Thomas Gray, Giles Lamb

CV

Will Allen is a film graduate from Southern Methodist University. Shortly after college, he ended up living inside a guru-based society for 20 years, during which time he was continuously filming the world he inhabited. After finally freeing himself at the age of 44, Allen began using his archives of footage to tell the tale of Holy Hell.