One of the hottest tickets of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival was a documentary on Scientology. Disappointed I was unable to screen it in Park City, I finally got my at LACMA in Los Angeles as part of the Film Independent Screening Series. I was extremely curious to see what the filmmakers had to say about this so-called “religion”, how people are attracted to the church and what ultimately makes them leave? Why is my curiosity so strong on this subject?
You see, shortly upon moving to LA, I saw an ad in BACKSTAGE that two casting directors were hosting a workshop/seminar at The Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Center in Hollywood. Excited about what new nuggets of information I would learn to promote myself as an actress, I was one of the first to arrive.
As they began to speak, I quickly realized the afternoon would have little to do with acting, but more on how to sign up for courses with Scientology (although it was never mentioned by name). What ensued for me afterwards I will not speak upon in detail, but I will say it was so scary and unpleasant that I have not set foot on that property since.
What is absolutely fascinating is that Hubbard holds four Guinness World Records for “Most Published Works by One Author”, “Most Audio Books Published for One Author”, “Most Translated Author in the World”, and “Most Translated Author, Same Book”. Among its many accomplishments, the church beat the IRS and had their request for being recognized as tax-exempt honored after being overturned ignored at one point. Absolutely fascinating and mind boggling…right??!!
Going Clear, an extension of a book by Lawrence Wright and directed by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, breaks down the origins of Scientology beginning with its founder L. Ron Hubbard right through the present day leader David Miscavige. Journey after journey is revisited by eight members of the church from the time they joined to the moment they knew in their heart to move on with another chapter in life.
The light is also shed on the involvement of two very famous members John Travolta and Tom Cruise. Let’s be clear that they were never consented to involvement with this project, but there is plenty of very well known footage and other interviews where they praise Hubbard and the church.
The one thing that struck me the most is that Hubbard, self-admittedly, created Scientology from his intense love of sci-fi films and literally created a movement that has extended well beyond his own mortality. You will be enlightened by this doc and all the myths/realisms that surround the church. You REALLY don’t want to miss this one!!!
To think this whole film was kickstarted by an article Wright wrote for the New Yorker. Click on this link to check it out:
The link to the book that followed is…
And of course with a release date set for May 16th, here is the trailer for Going Clear…