On November 18, 1978, more than nine hundred members of the Peoples Temple, under the guidance of cult leader Rev. Jim Jones, killed themselves or were murdered in the jungles of Guyana. Five years before the mass suicide-murder though, Jones was a pillar of the San Francisco community, hobnobbing with government officials and other big-shots while leading his adoring congregation in religious, social, and political activism. Inspired and moved by this strange and tragic story, the band Cults and director Isaiah Seret created the music video above in 2011 and premiered it on Boing Boing. Here is Seret's statement about the project:
To tell the story of Cults' hauntingly beautiful track, "Go Outside", I was inspired to bring the band inside the world of Jim Jones' famous religious cult, Peoples Temple, and the eventual tragedy in
Jonestown. Fortunately, when exploring the feasibility of this video I became acquainted with Fielding M. McGehee III, an expert on Peoples Temple history and the primary researcher for the Jonestown Archive. It is thanks to him and his encouragement that I was able to take on this project and through his support gained access to over two and half hours of home videos showing Peoples Temple in Jonestown. For this music video we didn't want to put a spin on the footage or the peoples lives—instead we wanted to re-tell and humanize their story. In order to achieve this we used a combination of stock footage, visual effects and other tricks to embed the band into the historical footage. This was achieved through my collaboration with my visual effects supervisor Bill Gillman and my cinematographer Matthew Lloyd. Lastly, I am moved to say when we completed the video we were able to preview it for some of the survivors of the Jonestown Massacre, who expressed their appreciation of our focus on the lives of the People's Temple members as opposed to exploiting the graphic images of the final tragedy.
To learn more about the Peoples Temple and the event leading up to November November 18, 1978, visit: Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple (SDSU)