A feature length documentary about The Watchtower magazine and the people who make it, sell it and buy it.
The Watchtower is the most widely circulated magazine in the world. Each month 42,000,000 anonymously written copies are translated into over 438 languages and distributed (mostly by hand) by a 7.5 million person unpaid sales force known as the Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is a network of a tax-exempt religious corporations that runs no charities, builds no hospitals nor schools, pays almost no wages, provides no pensions and owns a global real estate, investments and publishing empire.
In 2001 Newsday reported that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York generated annual revenue of 957 million USD, ranking it 40 of the 50 wealthiest New York corporations. More recently the Society has been selling off its substantial Brooklyn Heights properties with an estimated total value of one billion USD.
Where does all of the money go?
This feature length documentary will take a tenacious and factual look at a group that was persecuted by Hitler, hailed as civil rights pioneers and accused of child sexual abuse cover-ups, anti-scientific teachings, controversial medical beliefs and authoritarian cult practices.
What is the controversial history of this group, its founder and subsequent leaders? What do we really know about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society today? To whom and where does all of its fabulous wealth go?
Along the way we'll meet the people whose lives have been touched in one way or another by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and learn why this deeply personal story deserves the light of day.
Let's make a Watchtower!
We're raising funds to produce an investigative documentary film about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract society.
Funds will pay for the cost of research, filming, production, legal and business services and marketing.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has touched the lives of many people over the years. Some call it a cult (in the negative sense) owing to the Society's strict control over all aspect of a person's life, and also to the practice of shunning former members. Not many see the Society for what it is; a vast multi-national corporation enjoying tax-free and religious status. This film aims to understand this corporation and specifically, its wealth. As I intend to show in the film, the beneficiaries of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society have not just amassed great private wealth but have harmed hundreds if not thousands of people and continue to do so with more or less impunity. Like many wealthy and powerful corporations, invisible men stand unaccountably behind the doors of power, very much afraid of prying eyes and bad publicity. The producer also wishes to hold the Watchtower magazine and its sister publications accountable for aesthetic offensives to humanity by producing some of the worst artwork of the past 130 years.
The producer intends to hire a directory/cinematographer and enlist the help of friends and colleagues. Anyone who wishes to help in some way is a friend, and I'm telling this story on behalf of many people. This project is actively seeking the help of all interested parties. We are building a case, and so will rely upon solid research, evidence and scholarship. We are also telling a story, and so will rely upon the stories of people who wish to help, as well of the producer's own personal experience as a former member. In addition to the research activity, we will concurrently engage in a broad, precise and cost-effective marketing effort. We intend to shoot on location if possible where applicable, and ultimately produce a feature length documentary. The producer has spent years working in Bay Area start-ups and will apply the same lean principles and experience in executing this project. The team intends to provide timely updates through the website and other mediums and will fully engage with our supporters throughout the life of the project.
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