Skip to main content

JONESTOWN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PEOPLE'S TEMPLE

USA, 2006 (MIFF 2006, Documentaries)

Director: Stanley Nelson

JONESTOWN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PEOPLE'S TEMPLE

On November 18, 1978, over 900 members of preacher Jim Jones' Peoples Temple died by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid in the largest mass suicide/murder in history.

On the surface, Jim Jones and his all-embracing, multiracial congregation espoused the values of a progressive, liberal society - the ultimate product of enlightenment values forged in the 60s. But in the summer of 1977, an article in New West magazine exposed a different picture - of physical, sexual and drug abuse, financial corruption and members being held against their will.

Using never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with two of the five survivors who escaped rather than kill themselves - including an interview with Jones' son - the film traces the passage of Jones and his followers from Indiana to California and, finally, to the remote jungles of Guyana, South America. This vivid documentary captures a misbegotten quest to build an ideal society and also a glimpse into the deepest recesses of human behaviour.

“Constitutes a revealing look at a poorly understood chapter in American history.” - Variety

D/P Stanley Nelson S Noland Walker, Marcia Smith WS Stanley Nelson TD video/2006/86mins

Stanley Nelson was born in USA in 1955. His films include The Murder of Emmett Till (2003) and Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice (2005).

See also...

WRESTLING WITH ANGELS - PLAYWRIGHT TONY KUSHNER

If nothing else, this is an essay in charisma.” - Hollywood Reporter Tony Kushner is a Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwright. Wrestling With Angels tells of his relentlessly creative spirit ... More »

CATS OF MIRIKITANI, THE

“The title may suggest a wildlife documentary, but The Cats of Mirikitani is entirely, vibrantly human.” - New York Times Eighty year-old Jimmy Mirikitani survived the trauma of World War II ... More »

DARKON

Darkon was the winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary, SXSW. ... Each weekend, on the sweeping soccer fields of Baltimore, they gather. An epic war is taking place and at stake are the ... More »

STRANGE CULTURE

Having his wife die of a heart attack was only the start of a very bad night for Steve Kurtz. His 911 call to report the death triggered events that would drag him into a Kafkaesque nightmare. After ... More »

AL FRANKEN: GOD SPOKE

“Manages to tap into the same undercurrents of discontent and frustration that fuelled the breakthrough success of Fahrenheit 9/11.” - Variety Filmmakers Chris Hegedus and Nick Doob, who were ... More »

WAR TAPES, THE

Rejecting an offer to be embedded as a filmmaker in Iraq, Deborah Scranton instead equipped US soldiers with cameras and let them shoot their Iraq tour of duty. The result is The War Tapes. Edited ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director