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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.