FilmRise has pitchforked U.S. rights to the feature documentary Holy Hell, which premiered at Sundance in January. The film, which will hit theaters May 20, takes an inside look at a secretive, spiritual cult formed in 1980s West Hollywood. Director Will Allen joined the group just after graduating from film school, and as he became more deeply involved, he began filming his experiences as the group’s unofficial videographer. It wasn’t until after Allen left the cult that he understood the film he’d been making for more than 20 years.
“This story is very personal but also universal, because it could have happened to anyone,” Allen said. “And seeing how broadly it resonated at Sundance makes me excited to share it with the rest of the world.”
Allen worked with producers Alexandra Johnes and ex-cult member Tracey Harnish. Holy Hell is executive produced by Michael C. Donaldson, Cheryl Sanders, Julian Goldstein and Jared Leto, who describes the film as “relentless, haunting and unforgettable.”
“Following its headline-making run at Sundance, we are elated to be bringing this gripping film to audiences come spring,” said Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise. “Ultimately this is a remarkable film about the human condition, and I am confident that audiences will be engrossed by this captivating story, told by those who lived it.”
The deal was negotiated by FilmRise’s Fisher and VP Acquisitions Max Einhorn with Donaldson Califf’s Dean Cheley and Michael Donaldson repping the filmmakers along with Andrew Herwitz, President of the Film Sales Company.