Ex-Scientology splinter group member to speak at Belfast film screening

John Harvey will attend the Queen's Film Theatre screening on Sunday
John Harvey will attend the Queen's Film Theatre screening on Sunday

A former member of a religious sect will be among those attending a screening of a documentary about the movement this weekend.

‘Sympathy for the Devil’ charts the goings-on within the Process Church of the Final Judgment, and ex-adherent John Harvey will attend a showing of the movie at the Queen’s Film Theatre at 6.30pm on Sunday and take part in a question-and-answer session afterwards.

It is part of the Belfast Film Festival, which started on Thursday night and runs until April 23, featuring 133 films from 30 countries.

The Process Church was formed as a splinter group from the Church of Scientology, a highly-controversial US-based organisation.

Mr Harvey was a member for about one year, from 1967, in London.

According to promotional material from the film festival organisers, the Process Church “has long been associated with a list of lurid conspiracy theories”.

It states: “The cult has been accused of being the inspiration for Charles Manson’s ‘crimes of the century’, influencing the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, and being the root of the notorious Son of Sam serial killings.”

However, it goes on to add that director Neil Edwards found “no concrete evidence to back up those murderous accusations and theories” – though he found the group “shocking” and the stories of its members “extraordinary”.

It adds: “Only now have former members of the inner circle agreed to reveal the truth and open up about their beliefs, rituals, and the closely guarded secret of the real power behind it all.”

To buy tickets go to www.belfastfilmfestival.org or ring (028) 9024 6609.