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CNN Sets Premiere Date for Sundance Cult Life Doc ‘Holy Hell’

Sundance comes to CNN on Sept. 1., when he news network will premiere the Sundance documentary “Holy Hell” at 9 p.m. ET.

The broadcast rights to “Holy Hell” were snapped up by CNN Films shortly after its Sundance debut; FilmRise handled the theatrical release.

The doc centers around a cult-like organization called “The Buddhafield,” led by a failed actor who called himself Michel, and was directed by one of the group’s former members, Will Allen. Allen had been part of the group for 22 years, serving as the longtime videographer, before growing disillusioned and leaving. “Holy Hell” takes much of its footage straight from Allen’s archives, painting a far more damning portrait than interviews alone could.

“Holy Hell” earned mostly positive reviews when it hit theaters in May. “Whereas a less invested director might have either sensationalized the story or exploited the situation for its absurd comic value, Allen comes from a place of deep personal disillusionment, the way a sexually abused altar boy might attempt to reconcile his wounded faith,” Variety’s Peter Debruge wrote.

In addition to the linear premiere on Sept. 1, CNN will stream the film on its CNNgo app.

Allen is also a producer of the film along with Tracey Harnish and Alexandra Johnes. The executive producers for the film are Michael C. Donaldson, Julian Goldstein, Jared Leto, and Cheryl Wheeler Sanders.

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