The Guardian: Protest film

From XFamily - Children of God

Festival diary

Protest film

Press » Guardian Unlimited » 2007-01-24

By Jeremy Kay

The home of American US indie cinema has been playing host to a different kind of cult movie this week.

Cults. Dontchajustluvem? Perhaps it's dementia caused by the bone-chilling cold of the hotel lobby where I'm writing my Sundance reports, but it's now my firm belief that all cults should come under the auspices of cast-iron conservation orders. Eternally committed, frequently provocative, these passionate stalwarts of mind control can usually be relied upon to spice up an occasion. And so it came to pass last night in Park City.

Members of a sect now known as The Family staged a protest during the public screening of the HBO documentary Children of God: Lost and Found at Slamdance, Sundance's oft overlooked sister festival up the street. A right old to-do broke out after a member got up during the post-screening Q&A and denounced the film by cult refugee Noah Thomson as a tissue of lies.

It caused a stink, and resulted in the film's British-born producer Fenton Bailey making a citizen's arrest. "I thought I was going to get beaten up," Bailey told me after collaring the leader of a small group of Family acolytes as they tried to bundle the disruptive speaker out of the cinema.

Bailey, who along with Randy Barbato has earned a good wad chronicling society's colourful underbelly (Inside Deep Throat, Party Monster et al), swung into action "I learned how to make a citizen's arrest when I grew up in Britain," the filmmaker said. "The guy seemed disarmed by the whole thing. It was quite dramatic."

The police eventually arrived, two of the members were detained for questioning, and a suspected illegal tape recording of the screening was confiscated.

Editor's note: The rest of of this article has been omitted because it is not relevant.