Monday, September 03, 2007

viff07: join us

Join Us
USA, 93m
International Premiere
Official site

Thursday, Sep 27th 10:30am
Empire Granville 7 Theatre 5

Tuesday, Oct 9th 8:45pm
Empire Granville 7 Theatre 5

Wednesday, Oct 10th 1:30pm
Empire Granville 7 Theatre 5

Directed By: Ondi Timoner
PRODS: Ondi Timoner, Vasco Lucas Nunes, Jared Tobman
SCR/CAM: Ondi Timoner
ED: Tim Rush, Ondi Timoner
MUS: Richie Kulchar
It's not that much of a jump from rock stars to cult leaders as Ondi Timoner's (Dig!) new film demonstrates. Timoner follows four families who are attempting to rebuild their lives after the unholy devastation wrought by one Pastor Raimund Melz, and his Mountain Rock Church. Pastor Raimund, a born-again German who survived the concentration camps, founded his Church on a program of ironclad obedience and near constant attention to the wages of sin. Total financial dependence, along with the literal application of "spare the rod spoil the child," helped to further cement his church's congregation. According to the pastor's wife Deborah there is a correct way to hit your kids: brutally. Some of the children in the church were beaten so badly their clothes had to be peeled off them after they scabbed onto their bodies.

With unprecedented and intimate access, Timoner uncovers how seemingly reasonable people can be convinced that beating a child as young as three months is a Christian act. As the families attempt to mount a legal case against Melz, they encounter an entirely new source of problems. According to one of the counsellors interviewed in the film, there are approximately 10-15 million cult members in the US, most of them belonging to small tax-exempt churches, which operate freely outside federal jurisdiction. Join Us! features candid interviews with Pastor Raimund himself and his wife, but even more remarkably, the film dares to suggest that many born-again churches operate on similar strategies of control, submission and legalized theft.

No comments: