‘Far Out West: Inside California’s Kerista Commune’ Joins Virgil Films Fall Slate

EXCLUSIVE: Virgil Films has acquired the North American rights to Far Out West: Inside California’s Kerista Commune, a documentary about a decades-long experiment in communal living.

The film will get a virtual release this fall, followed by a rollout across digital platforms.

Virgil’s description the film sums up a tale that fits with the recent attention for the multiple Nxium doc series and Netflix’s Wild Wild Country. “In the early 1970s,” it reads, “25 young, free spirits found each other in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and formed the Kerista Commune. For two decades, they lived as one family, loving freely, raising children together, and making millions selling Apple computers. But if the alternative society they built was fantastically alluring, it was also fragile, and a quarter century after they voted to dissolve their commune, the former members are still debating what their experiment can teach us about human nature, and whether their utopia was actually a cult in disguise.”

The film’s directors, Travis Chandler and Dan Greenstone, used hundreds of hours of archival footage as well as present-day interviews with key participants.

The deal was struck by Virgil president Joe Amodei and Chandler and Greenstone.

“In an age where stories of conspiracy cults continue to populate the airwaves, Far Out West is a perfect addition to the mix,” Amodei said. “These programs continue to amaze and befuddle us at the same time. That’s what makes each story unique to itself.”

Founded in 2003, Virgil acquires and distributes feature films and original TV series, with a particular specialty in documentaries. Its library includes titles like the Oscar-nominated documentary Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me and popular nutrition documentary Forks Over Knives.

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