Amy Berg almost didn’t make it to the Bryant Park Hotel on Tuesday night for the Showtime premiere of her documentary “Prophet’s Prey.” The director ran into some airline issues on her way to New York after a very buzzed-about Toronto Intl. Film Festival screening of her latest documentary, “Janis: Little Girl Blue.””Prey’s” executive producer Ron Howard took the reigns and introduced the film. He explained that he was introduced to “Prey” while developing Jon Krakauer’s tome “Under the Banner of Heaven” with Dustin Lance Black.
“On occasion a really extraordinary and fascinating (project) falls into our lap and that was the case with this film,” he told the audience before the screening. “I haven’t seen the final, final version yet, so I’m very excited.”(After “Prey’s” Sundance preem, Berg made slight edits to the film.)
Ninety minutes later Berg was at the hotel answering audience questions about the documentary that investigates the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints operated by the now-jailed Warren Jeffs. The film is based on Sam Brower’s book “Prophet’s Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation Into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints.”
The film, which is part of Showtime’s growing slate of docus, will be released theatrically via under the Showtime Documentary Films banner on Friday.
Showtime’s SVP Original Programming Robin Gurney said that when it comes to nonfiction, the pay cabler is looking for “controversial, complex figures” and Jeffs fit that mold perfectly.
As for investigating the FLDS ruthless leadership and entering into their very secretive domain to shoot the docu, Berg said she wasn’t scared.
“I wasn’t scared, but I was cautious,” she said. “I stepped into a beautiful mountain region community and it was like a third world country. I couldn’t believe it existed in our backyard. It was so strange. I felt compelled to understand what was driving this community.”