Sundance: Jared Leto Executive Producing Cult Documentary ‘Holy Hell’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Jared Leto
Steve Eichner/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Jared Leto has come aboard as an executive producer on the cult documentary “Holy Hell” following its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Variety has learned exclusively.

“‘Holy Hell’ is relentless, haunting and unforgettable,” Leto said. “This unflinching documentary expose takes us on a beautiful and bizarre journey in search of faith, love and family, but ends up showing us how the business of spirituality, power and corruption are often religion’s ménage à trois.”

It was announced in early December that the film would play in the U.S. documentary competition lineup, with the director remaining anonymous. The helmer was revealed the next month as Will Allen, who said in an interview that his name was kept secret so that he could finish the project while minimizing the possibility of interference by the some of the subjects of the film. The movie marks Allen’s first feature documentary and centers on a California spiritual community that went by the name the Buddha Field.

Allen served as the de facto documentarian of the group. The 100-minute pic includes interviews with fellow ex-cult members.

Allen produced “Holy Hell” along with Tracey Harnish and Alexandra Johnes. Leto joins executive producers Cheryl Sanders, fair use attorney Michael C. Donaldson and Julian Goldstein.

“Jared saw an early cut of the film, which I shot over 22 years as the unofficial videographer of the group, and responded to the intimacy of our story,” said Allen. “It’s an honor to be able to work with an artist that I respect so much, especially for my first feature-length documentary. I’ve admired his work and career since ‘Prefontaine.'”

Allen is working with Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company for domestic and international sales, and with John Sloss of Cinetic Media for feature remake rights.

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  1. David says:

    I saw this movie at Sundance several times. This is one of the most powerful and groundbreaking films I have ever seen. The audiences were transfixed and gave standing ovations at each screening I attended. A MUST see for the world!

  2. Ricky says:

    The director told me that Leto found the story so compelling because of subtlety of the narrative. Holy Hell is not just the story of some crazy cult. It’s the story of normal people looking for depth that they could not find in mainstream religion, a man lying about his credentials and his past that took advantage of their good intentions, and how those people overcame their own ignorance. All of Holy Hell’s screenings at Sundance were sold out and the film received multiple standing ovations. Audiences loved it! I think you will too.

  3. 85wzen says:

    Fact is that anything out of the well trod ordinary is gonna be perceived as wrong by the society that surrounds us… it’s not as if anyone on Earth has gone beyond the ignorance of today Religious ignoramuses which is just about all of them… best wait onto Death to ‘get into the groove’… fact is you’d be damn lucky to actually ‘burn in hell’ mostly they hope for ‘resting in peace’ which is their motto these days… by all means ‘rest up’ I’m sure that there is plenty of sleeping to be had! lol…

  4. M. says:

    kinda fitting, Leto. oh well.

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