Scientology angry over German film BERLIN
March 13, 2010
Germany's state broadcaster is locked in a row with the Church of Scientology, which wants to block an upcoming feature film that depicts the controversial organisation as totalitarian and unethical.
Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt, or Until Nothing Remains, dramatises the account of a German family torn apart by its associations with Scientology. A young married couple joins the organisation but as the wife gets sucked ever more deeply into the group, her husband, who has donated much of his money to it, decides to leave. In the process he loses contact with his young daughter, who, like his wife, is being educated by Scientology instructors.
Scientology leaders have accused Germany's primary public TV network, ARD, of creating a piece of propaganda that sets out to undermine the group, and have demanded to see it before it is broadcast.
The 90-minute film reflects an unease in Germany about the organisation, which boasts several thousand members across the country.
The drama, due to air at the end of the month, is based on the real-life story of Heiner von Roenns, who left Scientology and suffered the subsequent break-up of his family.
Scientology officials have said the film is false and intolerant. At a preview screening in Hamburg, members distributed flyers in which the filmmakers were accused of seeking to ''create a mood of intolerance and discrimination against a religious community''.
A spokesman for Scientology in Germany said the organisation was planning its own film, to ''spread our own side of the story''.