Greenwich Entertainment Acquires North American Rights to ‘Aum: The Cult at the End of the World’

Greenwich Entertainment Acquires North American Rights to ‘Aum: The Cult at the End of the World’

©Sundance Institute 

Greenwich Entertainment has just acquired the North American rights to Aum : The Cult at the End of the World, a documentary about the Japanese doomsday cult that engineered a sarin-gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995. The film will be released at select theaters and on home-entertainment platforms beginning this summer, though no details have yet been announced about a release in Japan.

Directed by Ben Braun and Chiaki Yanagimoto, the documentary was financed by Fifth Season and produced by Submarine Deluxe. It had its world premiere at Sundance in 2023.

Responding to the Greenwich deal, the two co-directors said “We are very honored and delighted. The film is set primarily in Japan in the 80s and 90s. But at the same time, [we] believe that the essence of the story resonates across time and national borders.”
Based on a book by David E. Kaplan and Andrew Marshall, Aum: The Cult at the End of the World traces the evolution of the group from a spiritual collective into a terrorist cabal that stockpiled weapons of mass destruction acquired from the former Soviet Union, which had collapsed several years earlier. The attack it depicts resulted in the deaths of 13 people, though the cult had intended to murder thousands more.

In announcing the acquisition, Greenwich’s co-president Edward Arentz was quoted as saying: “Ben and Chiaki’s dramatic and chilling retelling of the story of Aum, perhaps the most terrifying of all the infamous murder cults of the last half century, leaves one shaken anew at the spectacle of the guru leading their followers into mass murder.”

Aum: The Cult at the End of the World, takes an in-depth look at the cult’s founder, Shoko Asahata, who was born with the name of Chizuo Matsumoto. Visually impaired since childhood, Asahata went on to become a yoga instructor before founding the Aum Shinrikyo group. The documentary examines his political activities as well as his astute use of mass media to promote his cause. Also depicted in the film is Fumihiro Josuke (aka “Oh say, Josuke”) who acted as a spokesperson for the cult.

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