Countdown to a tragedy

    Jonestown: Paradise Lost recalls final days of the People's Temple cult

    VisionTV to air feature-length docudrama March 13

    Stephan Jones, son of Jim Jones, to attend T.O. screening March 5

    TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - On November 18, 1978, more than 900 members of
the People's Temple cult perished at Jonestown, their compound in the jungles
of northern Guyana. Almost 300 children were among the dead. It was an
unfathomable act of mass murder and suicide, ordered by the cult's messianic
leader, Jim Jones.
    Why? How is it that religious and political fanaticism can drive people
to such terrifying extremes? The question is as relevant today as it was 30
years ago.
    On Tuesday, March 13 at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET, VisionTV presents the
exclusive Canadian television premiere of Jonestown: Paradise Lost: a feature
length docudrama, co-produced by independent production company Cineflix, that
chronicles the tragic final days of the People's Temple. The broadcast repeats
on Saturday, March 17 at 9 p.m. ET.
    Cineflix and VisionTV will also host a special premiere screening of
Jonestown: Paradise Lost in Toronto on Monday, March 5 at the Royal Cinema
(608 College Street). Stephan Jones, son of Jim Jones, will be present and is
available for media interviews during his scheduled visit to Toronto. To
arrange an interview, please refer to the contact information below.
    Informed by eyewitness accounts and material recently made public by the
U.S. government, the film follows the fateful journey of Congressman Leo Ryan,
who traveled to Jonestown on a mission to investigate the People's Temple, and
paid with his life. Rarely-seen archival footage, exhaustively researched
dramatic re-creations and heart-rending interviews take the viewer well beyond
the official record and deep into the reality of the cult's apocalyptic end.
    Said Alberta Nokes, VisionTV's Director & Executive Producer, Independent
Production: "We are honoured that Cineflix chose to bring this project to
VisionTV. Director Tim Wolochatiuk's deft combination of documentary and drama
gives a visceral sense of the events that led to the end of Jonestown. This
film tells a true story that is as gripping as any big-screen thriller, and as
timely as today's headlines."
    Added Greg Lanning, Executive Producer of Jonestown: Paradise Lost: "The
question that haunts us all is how and why this tragedy could have happened.
This drama doc gives a unique insight into the personalities and the dynamic
of those last fateful hours as the killing began."
    Jonestown: Paradise Lost features interviews with survivors and key
witnesses to the events of November 1978:

    -   Stephan Jones, son of Jim Jones.

    -   Vernon Gosney, a People's Temple member who escaped Jonestown just
        before the massacre.

    -   Sherwin Harris, father of victim Liane Harris.

    -   Tim Reiterman, a journalist who narrowly escaped the fatal attack on
        Congressman Ryan's party.

    Actor Rick Roberts (This is Wonderland, An American in Canada) plays Jim
Jones in the dramatic re-creations.

    Jonestown: Paradise Lost was co-produced by Cineflix, NextFilm, Galaxie
and Film Afrika Worldwide in association with VisionTV, A&E History, France 3,
Planete & Planete Choc and BSKYB. The film was Executive Produced by Greg
Lanning, Bernard Vaillot, Glen Salzman, Katherine Buck and Stephen Hunter.
Vlokkie Gordon and David Wicht are co-Producers. Tim Wolochatiuk is the

    VisionTV, an S-VOX company, is Canada's multi-faith and multicultural
broadcaster, dedicated to programming that celebrates diversity and promotes
understanding and tolerance among people of different faiths and cultures.
Visit VisionTV on the Web at:

    Cineflix ( is a dynamic, independent television
production and distribution company dedicated to entertaining audiences with
innovative non-fiction programming. Its growing catalogue of over 300 hours of
factual programming includes history, science, documentary and factual
entertainment shows, viewed by audiences in more than 50 countries. Cineflix
International, its sales and distribution unit headquartered in Dublin and
with a sales office in London, oversees the worldwide distribution of the
Cineflix catalogue and select third party programs.

For further information:

For further information: Aislinn Mosher, Director of Communications,
Cineflix, Phone: (514) 278-3140, Email:; David Todd,
Media Relations Manager, VisionTV, Phone: (416) 368-3194 ext 207, Email:

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