CNN Films picks up Will Allen’s “Holy Hell”

CNN Films has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to Will Allen's religious cult film Holy Hell (pictured).
March 17, 2016

CNN Films has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to Will Allen’s religious cult film, Holy Hell (pictured).

The archival film, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, trails Allen throughout the 1980s as he joins the Buddhafield, a secretive spiritual community in West Hollywood that is torn apart 22 years later.

The film examines the organization’s inner workings while exposing how the Buddhafield attracts its members as Allen becomes the group’s unofficial documentarian and personal aide to Michel, “the teacher.”

CNN Films will broadcast the film later this year.

The deal was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, VP of business affairs, on behalf of CNN; Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company; and Michael Donaldson and Dean Cheley of Donaldson + Callif, on behalf of the filmmakers.

Holy Hell is produced by Time Inc.’s Alexandra Johnes and ex-cult member Tracey Harnish. The doc is exec produced by Donaldson, Cheryl Sanders, Julian Goldstein and Jared Leto.

New York-based distributor FilmRise previously acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the film and will release the doc theatrically across the U.S. on May 20.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.