commences work on its first full length feature documentary.
This personal essay about Scientology will peel away the layers surrounding the mysterious organization founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.
The film will mix in humor to tell a very serious story about a group which committed the single largest case of espionage against the U.S. government; whose founder went from writing pulp fiction for a penny a word to having a briefcase filled with a million dollars in cash hand-delivered to him weekly at his hidden desert compound; a group which followed Hubbard's orders to use the court system to destroy its enemies and to bring the IRS to its knees; and which, 20 years after his death, still mirrors the fantasies, neurosis and paranoia of its late founder.
To most people, Scientology is that "Hollywood" religion. And until recently, many thought that "if Tom Cruise belonged to it, it couldn't be that bad." But through interviews with former long-time members, religious scholars, law enforcement, attorneys, politicians and others, we'll pull back the curtain and show what Scientology actually believes and how it behaves.
We'll talk to former members about their experiences, including members of the Sea Org, the elite paramilitary organization inside of Scientology whose members sign a billion year service contract to work for Scientology, coming back lifetime after lifetime. Working 80 hours a week for little pay, these dedicated members keep the organization running and cater to the needs of the wealthy public Scientologists who flock to the main centers in Los Angeles and in the small Florida town of Clearwater, known as Scientology's mecca. Former Sea Org members will tell stories of both mental and physical abuse and how even an offhand remark can land them in trouble with management and get them sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force (the RPF) where they will be forced to do hard labor for months or years at a time, separated from loved ones until they are allowed back into the good graces of the group.
For decades, Scientology has relished their reputation of not being a "turn the other cheek" religion. They have fought back hard at anyone who dared speak out about them. Hubbard said anyone who attacked Scientology is a criminal. All one needed to do was dig up their crimes to silence them. He labeled his enemies Fair Game and said they could be "lied to, tricked, sued or destroyed by any means by any Scientologist."
While this film will deal with serious issues, it will tell the story in an entertaining way, close to the spirit of Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock's films. Much of the story is bizarre, incredible and over the top. Hubbard himself said their greatest defense is that no one would believe it. Yet, it's all documented. Hubbard was obsessive about keeping written orders on how precisely to acheive a goal, whether it was taking over the government or tucking in a bed sheet. His written words are sacred and are not to be altered. He is called Source. Rewriting Source is a high crime in Scientology. Yet we'll show how the current management struggles with updating his materials, whether to be more politically correct or in order to re-sell the materials to the group's shrinking membership.
We'll look at how Scientology attacks psychiatry through their front group, the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights, whose stated goal is to eradicate psychiatry completely, with the use of tax exempt religious donations. We'll look at how Scientology uses other front groups such as Narconon, Criminon and Applied Scholastics to recruit new members. Whether through drug rehab, business seminars or stress tests given to passerbys on the street, there are many ways to meet Scientology but they all are meant to move you onto the Bridge.
The group's motto is "Think for Yourself" but the deeper one gets into the group, we'll see the more one's reality is stripped away and replaced by Hubbard's reality. The more indoctrinated you become, the more you find yourself thinking what Hubbard wants you to think. We'll dissect what many call Hubbard's mind control factory.
This film will explore Scientology's beliefs and actions and the nature of religious freedom in America. It will weave in public encounters I've had over the past decade with Scientologists. From L.A. to Clearwater, I've captured some amazing footage showing the way Scientologists are trained to react. Hubbard wrote that anyone who attacks Scientology is a criminal which is why so often they demand to know, "What are your crimes, Mark?"
The film will ask if can you speak out against fraud and abuse in a group and still respect their religious beliefs -- even when those extraordinary beliefs spring from a man who lied about virtually every well documented aspect of his life?
And can a group shrouded in mystery maintain it's power in the age of the internet, a device the futuristic founder of Scientology never imagined?
The overall budget for the film will be $60,000 but in this first stage of fundraising, we seek $10,000. That money will go toward equipment purchases and the legal costs of setting up a corporation and insuring the production against potential legal threats.....see link for more....
edit: see also...
: Total for stage 1 of fundraising....
Stage 1 of the funding for £10,000 of the $60,000 was reached, and passed.
As I type, the total is now $13,813
edit#2: Stage 2 for the remaining $50,000 of the total target begins 2nd October 2010