Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director

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...

BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES: A HIP-HOP HEAD WEIGHS IN ON MANHOOD IN HIP-HOP CULTURE

USA, 2005
Beyond Beats and Rhymes is a provocative documentary that skewers hip-hop's dominant sexual politics. Fronted by filmmaker Byron Hurt, this film was originally conceived as a “loving critique” fr… More »

THE AUTO-TUNE EFFECT

USA, 2012
THE AUTO-TUNE EFFECT, by Emmy-winner Stanley Nelson, looks at the history of the world's favourite pitch-modulation audio software. ... Nelson is perhaps best known to Melbourne audiences from his aw… More »

© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

Site by MeccaMedialight. Powered by Textstem CMS.