Prophet’s Prey (image 1)

A skin-crawling chronicle of one of America’s biggest criminals and the community that allowed him to flourish.

Katie Erbland, The Playlist

Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Prophet’s Prey 2015

Directed by Amy Berg

This unsettling look into indoctrination within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is another essential work from one of the world’s finest documentary filmmakers. Music and narration by Nick Cave.

USA In English
93 minutes Blu-ray
M (sexual abuse themes)

Director

Producers

Amy Berg
,
Sam Brower
,
Katherine LeBlond

Screenplay

Amy Berg. Based on the book by Sam Brower

Photography

Peter Donahue

Editors

Brendan Walsh
,
Scott Stevenson

Music

Warren Ellis
,
Nick Cave

Narrator

Nick Cave

With

Jon Krakauer
,
Sam Brower
,
Thomas Jeffs
,
Ron Rohbock

Festivals

Sundance 2015

Elsewhere

NZIFF audiences last saw acclaimed documentarian Amy Berg present a scathing indictment of the American justice system in the Peter Jackson produced West of Memphis. This year Berg returns, with her attention fixed upon yet another institution of profound injustice and maddening impenetrability: the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Headed by the maniacal pastor Warren Jeffs – a creepily effective indoctrinator, prolific polygamist and self-proclaimed prophet – the FLDS church is currently host to thousands of devoted followers, holds millions of dollars worth of secluded real estate and a deeply unsettling history of underage marriages and sexual abuse (Jeffs himself has approximately 90 wives).

Employing first-hand testimonies from journalists, private investigators and courageous ex-members of the church, Berg gives a troubling portrait of unchecked influence and a genuinely gripping account of the exhaustive manhunt undergone to capture their tyrannical leader. — JF

“The long, twisty process by which the authorities finally caught up with Jeffs is related here with the breathless, blow-by-blow tension of a thriller… but the lasting power of Prey is its grim insight into the mentality of the deceived and its despairing recognition that spiritual and psychological bondage doesn’t end simply by putting a monster behind bars… Berg isn’t content to give us a figure of exceptional evil; she would rather have us contemplate the deluded, unexceptional humanity that allowed a predator this monstrous to flourish.” — Justin Chang, Variety