Vimeo scores rights to Gibney’s Scientology doc

The New York-based VOD service has secured the U.S. first-window download-to-own rights for Alex Gibney's controversial documentary. (Pictured: Gibney)
February 10, 2015

New York-based video-on-demand (VOD) service Vimeo has secured the U.S. first window download-to-own rights for Alex Gibney’s controversial documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

The HBO-produced film by director Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) will be shown on Vimeo On Demand in September, following HBO’s own exclusive broadcast window.

Based on Lawrence Wright’s similarly-titled book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, the film looks at eight former members of the Church of Scientology – including acclaimed writer-director Paul Haggis, who renounced the religion in 2009 – and peels back the curtain on the secretive religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1953.

The film generated considerable buzz even before its Sundance premiere, where the Church bought full-page ads denouncing the film in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.

The deal, brokered by Content Media Corporation, is the first deal Vimeo has arranged at Sundance since the VOD platform was founded in 2013.

“Last year out of Sundance we acquired two titles, Memphis and Internet’s Own Boy, but they were deals done after Sundance,” Vimeo spokesman Kevin Turner tells StreamDaily. “This is the first done at the festival itself.”

HBO premieres Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief on March 16.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.