Back to selection

Clip Premiere: Cara Jones’s DOC NYC-Premiering “Moonie” Doc, Blessed Child

Receiving its world premiere tomorrow at DOC NYC is filmmaker Cara Jones’s Blessed Child, a documentary about her own childhood spent in Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church.

From the press release:

More than a decade after leaving the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church (the “Moonies”), through a trove of never before seen footage from within the church and extraordinary home videos of her family’s upbringing alongside Reverend Moon and his disciples, filmmaker Cara Jones attempts to finally break free from the religious cult which dominated her childhood. Blessed Child is one daughter’s attempt to unpack the legacy of the decisions her parents made while challenging assumptions – hers and ours – about cults and family.

At Women in Hollywood, Jones describes the seven-year journey to make the film:

When Rev. Moon passed away in 2012, I was at the Burning Man festival trying mushrooms for the first time.

As I got the news of his death on my drive out, I was haunted by two thoughts. 1) Rev. Moon was dead, and my life was still stuck because of my history in his church. 2) If I didn’t start telling this story now, I probably never would.

The next day I bought a plane ticket to attend Rev. Moon’s funeral and began this filmmaking journey.

I grew up with a lot of black and whites. There was blessed or fallen, true or false, good or bad. The seven-year journey of making Blessed Child has, for me, been about resisting the temptation to tell this story that way.

The process has instead been about discovering nuance and complex truths in a story that, in the media and my own head, has often been sensationalized and simplified. In these polarized times, I wanted to explore a narrative that left room for empathy and gray.

In the clip above, Jones talks about her arranged marriage — in a sports stadium, no less, and in a ceremony led by Moon himself.

Festival Screenings:
Monday, November 4 at 9:30am, IFC Center (Press Screening)
Saturday, November 9 at 7:40pm, Cinepolis Chelsea (World Premiere)
Wednesday, November 13 at 10:15am, Cinepolis Chelsea (Encore Screening)

© 2019 Filmmaker Magazine
All Rights Reserved
A Publication of IPF