One of the many documentaries to world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was the six-part Netflix series Wild Wild Country, which was helmed by directors by Chapman and Maclain Way (The Battered Bastards of Baseball). While most of you reading this won’t know the name Bhagwan Rajneesh, if you were alive and watching the news in the early 1980s, he was a massive story around the country. That’s because Rajneesh and his followers spent $125 million back in 1981 to build Rajneeshpuram in in the Oregon desert, a 64,000-acre “utopia”, complete with a hospital, schools, restaurants, a shopping mall, and their own airport. What happened there and in the surrounding area is so unbelievable that you won’t believe it’s all true.
Shortly before the world premiere I sat down with Chapman Way and Maclain Way to talk about the series. They revealed how the project happened, what it was like working with Netflix, if they ever thought about releasing the doc as a two hour movie, how they were given 300 hours of footage from the Oregon historical society, the challenges of editing it all down, what they learned from early screenings, what they did to get new interviews with the key people involved, and so much more.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the synopsis from Sundance.
Finally, a huge thank you to everyone at Kia and The Future Party for helping to make these interviews happen at the Kia Supper Suite and offering up transportation in the all new Kia Stinger high performance Sportback for our guests. We’d also like to thank Altec Lansing, Kunde Wines, Blue Moon Brewing, and Topo Chico for their support.
Chapman & Maclain Way:
- How the entire series premieres at Sundance.
- They talk about what the documentary is about.
- What happened after The Battered Bastards of Baseball and how did they hook up with Netflix for this new project?
- How the Oregon historical society helped make this doc happen.
- Did they ever discuss making the doc as a two hour movie or a shorter length?
- Did they do any friends and family screenings for early feedback?
- Did the early screenings result in any changes?
- What did they learn while researching and did they wish they had some footage of whatever they learned?
- What is it like being handed 300 hours of content and how do they take notes?
How this was the biggest story in Oregon in the 80s.
- Did they come close to making a different project instead of this one?
- How the show premieres March 16th on Netflix.
- How they spent a lot of time interviewing key people.
- How the series is an examination about how this all came about?
- When did they finish editing?
- Have they thought about what they want to do next?
Here’s more on the series:
Synopsis: When the world’s most controversial guru builds a utopian city in the Oregon desert, a massive conflict with local ranchers ensues; producing the first bioterror attack in US history, the largest case of illegal wiretapping ever recorded, and the world’s biggest collection of Rolls-Royce automobiles. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way. Mark Duplass (Duplass Brothers Productions) serves as Executive Producer.
Featuring: Ma Anand Sheela, Jane Stork, Swami Prem Niren, John Silvertooth