London Film Festival World Premiere: My Scientology Movie


The BBC regular's first non-TV feature documentary is having its world premiere at the festival.

He’s a well-known face in the U.K. after hosting quirky BBC documentaries for almost two decades, but Louis Theroux’s U.S. profile could be on the rise following his first feature doc, about the Church of Scientology.

Speaking at an event at the BFI London Film Festival, where the BBC Films- and BBC Worldwide-backed My Scientology Movie, directed by John Dower and produced by Simon Chinn (Searching for Sugar Man, Man on Wire), is having its world premiere on Wednesday, Theroux described the trouble with making a documentary about an organization that had no intention of letting him anywhere near its members.

“They said, ‘We’re not interested in cooperating in your film about our amazing church, which is saving millions of lives on planets all around the solar system,' " he quipped. "That’s a joke -- they don’t believe that and they disagree that I said that."

But the filmmaker said he felt he had a “valid case” to explore the subject via former church members.

“The people who are upset about Scientology and have left Scientology, they have a valid subjectivity," he said. "They’re inviting us in, and part of us understanding them is understanding what Scientology is. So that’s how I got my head around the ‘not being invited’ thing.”

A short clip from My Scientology Movie showed Theroux in an awkward confrontation with a church representative on a road in the U.S., presumably near a Scientology location. In the snippet, Theroux is also being filmed by one of the church members, seemingly backing up claims he made earlier in the year in which he said he’d been told the church was making a documentary about him.

Cat's Squirrel

Gold Meritorious Patron
Good article. Louis's idea of getting actors to play the rule of Scientologists seems to have worked really well.
Last edited:

Cat's Squirrel

Gold Meritorious Patron
The impression I get from reading Tony Ortega's review of the film is that although the concept and execution are clearly excellent (the actor who played David Miscavige in the film seems to have done a particularly great job), the film stops short of dealing with the darkest aspects of Scn such as fair gaming and disconnection. Also, Theroux examines Rathbun's own role in some of the abuses which have taken place and raises the question of whether or not this compromises his own credibility, which Marty clearly isn't happy about.

Nonetheless, the film clearly got a "thumbs up" from Ortega.

Maybe it's best seen as a complement to "Going Clear", and not a replacement for seeing it. Full marks to the CofS btw for turning up and harassing Louis when he was actually engaged in making a movie about them - if you didn't know them better, you could be forgiven for thinking they would have at least have had the sense to realise that doing that might prove to be counterproductive.
Last edited: