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Hot on the heels of Anna Broinowski's Forbidden Lie$ comes another riveting local documentary which sheds some light on the motivating factors behind mass manipulation in the pursuit of power, greed and identity. In Beyond Our Ken, filmmakers Luke Walker and Melissa Maclean gain unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the inner workings of Kenja, a controversial Australia-wide 'spiritual evolvement' group named after its co-founders, Ken Dyers and Jan Hamilton.
Dyers and Hamilton formed Kenja in 1982 and both are interviewed candidly for this thrilling documentary. For over twenty-five years, Kenja members and supporters have claimed that the group offers a utopia where life's purpose is defined, the human spirit discovered and the universe itself explained. However, to the outside world, Kenja's ideologies appear ambiguous and abstract, with the media branding it a 'secretive cult' and Dyers a 'seedy conman'. Families have blamed the group for the disappearance of their loved ones and Kenja has been accused of practicing a hypnotic mind control.Tragic events revealed in the film's finale ensured hostile and controversial screenings at Melbourne International Film Festival 2008 and Hot Docs 2008, Toronto. However, the film was soon recognised with popular and critical acclaim including an FCCA nomination for Best Documentary 2008.Notions of what constitutes 'the truth' are deconstructed in this confronting examination of cult mentality and the extent to which people are affected by their environment. This is filmmaking that is both honest and enigmatic; a truly compulsive, dynamic piece of viewing that builds to an astonishing climax.
- Bonus interviews with: Ken Dyers, former Kenja attendees and experts on 'cults' and their practices
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