Slamdance screening of doc about Children of God ends in melee

Members of the group profiled in ‘Children of God’ protested the HBO documentary during its screening Tuesday.

PARK CITY, Utah — An alleged cult, the police and HBO all mingled in a wild night Tuesday in Park City.

At a Slamdance screening of Noah Thomson’s docu “Children of God,” two members of “the Family,” the alleged cult profiled in the docu, were ushered out of a Q&A after they began protesting the film and one was found to be wearing a microphone.

The confrontation then spilled out onto Main Street. Filmmakers discovered a camera crew, whom they suspected of helping to tape audio from the screening.

The police were called, and the protesters took off down Main Street.

Police eventually caught up with the group and confiscated a tape of recorded audio from the Q&A. It’s unknown whether there is another tape with audio of the film itself, but insiders believe there is.

“Children” looks at a group of missionaries in Mexico who have been accused of pedophilia and child abuse. The group’s leader, Richard Rodriguez, committed suicide during filming of the docu.

Veteran doc producers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey produced the film, which HBO will air in the summer.

While the net has not threatened legal action, insiders say HBO will not be shy about pursuing the protesters if they try to disseminate pirated material or interfere with pic’s release.

Group, comprising avowed pacifists, has said the members were misrepresented in the film. Thomson, a former member, recognized the protesters as current members.

Scene outside Slamdance venue the Treasure Mountain Inn was described as a mix of serious and light-hearted as irate producer Bailey threatened, half-jokingly, to “make a citizen’s arrest.”

• Original title: Slamdance screening ends in melee; Fracas follows cult film ‘Children of God’

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday January 25, 2007.
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