The Church of Satan would like to make it clear that members don’t worship the Devil, nor do they believe Satan is real. What they do believe in, and the rituals they practice, emerge in the documentary Realm of Satan, which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Director Scott Cummings joins the new episode of Deadline’s Doc Talk podcast to discuss the film, which he made in collaboration with the Church of Satan. It is described as a “nonfiction adjacent” film, which exists somewhere between reality and the fantastical. But that’s kind of the mindset of many members of the church, who believe in “indulgence” and carnal pleasures, and participate in incantatory ceremonies.
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In one scene, the leader of the church, High Priest Peter Gilmore, trots around on hooves. And in another moment, the glowing spirit of wheelchair-bound man rises and floats out of frame. But there are mundane moments too, as when a Satanist hangs his laundry out to dry.
Cummings also discusses his 2014 short film Buffalo Juggalos, which delved into a different subculture – one that, above all, enjoys sowing mayhem. That project took off after he got an invitation to a Juggalo event in upstate New York.
“I’d never met a Juggalo,” he tells Doc Talk co-host John Ridley. “I just met them a week before and they said, ‘Oh, you can come to our wedding.’ I was trying to make inroads with them, so I just said, ‘Hey, I’ll be your wedding photographer.’”
Prepare for a trip into unusual filmmaking terrain in the latest episode of the Doc Talk podcast, hosted by Ridley and Documentary Editor Matt Carey. Doc Talk is a production of Deadline and Ridley’s Nō Studios, presented with support from National Geographic Documentary Films.
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