After it garnered a huge reaction at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, Louis Theroux's documentary on the inner workings of the Church of Scientology looks set for a wide release.
Speaking in a recent Q&A, Theroux confirmed that the film has a distributor and that it'll be in cinemas soon. "For me it's a big departure, because it's the first theatrical released documentary I've ever made. It was conceived and shot as a cinematic movie, it's 100 minutes, and it investigates and attempts to get under the skin of what for me is the Holy Grail of stories: America's homegrown religion created by a science fiction writer, and structured like a corporation. With Tom Cruise."
Theroux also confirmed that the distributor, Altitude, was also responsible for the stunning Amy Winehouse documentary that scooped the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature last year. The controversy surrounding Theroux's documentary has been huge, with the Church of Scientology putting both Theroux and the filmmaking team under constant surveillance.
Not only that, Theroux admitted that they've received numerous legal threats from the Church throughout production.
We've contacted a number of Irish distributors to see what the story is with the Irish release date, as it's likely it'll be on the same date as the UK one. However, there might a few legal challenges to the film's release in Ireland. Alex Gibney's documentary on the Church of Scientology, Going Clear, was delayed from broadcasting over legal attempts and claims of libel.
Not only that, Ireland's blasphemy laws could potentially be enacted to stop the film reaching Irish cinemas. The Defamation Act of 2009 makes the "publication or utterance of blasphemous matter" against any religion an offence and carries a fine of €25,000. However, the Act does allow for a defence of work that has "genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value", which this documentary clear has.