'No plans' for Irish cinema release of Louis Theroux's Scientology documentary

It remains unclear why exactly the documentary is not being released in cinemas here

'No plans' for Irish cinema release of Louis Theroux's Scientology documentary

Louis Theroux. Image: Jonathan Short / AP/Press Association Images

It has been confirmed that there are 'no plans' for a theatrical release of Louis Theroux's My Scientology Movie in Ireland.

However, it remains unclear why exactly the documentary is not being released in cinemas here.

The documentary follows Theroux after his request to enter Church of Scientology headquarters is turned down. He also "uses actors to recreate incidents people claim to have experienced as members".

An entertainment.ie report on Sunday evening suggested that Ireland's blasphemy laws may have been behind the decision to not release the documentary.

The law allows for fines of up to €25,000 for anybody who "publishes or utters blasphemous matter".

It is unlikely, however, that these laws would apply to the film as the Defamation Act 2009 - which contains the blasphemy legislation - allows for defences in cases of "genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value".

Given the small nature of the Irish market, it is relatively common for documentaries and smaller productions to not receive Irish theatrical releases - even when they receive one in the UK.

The film's UK distributor Altitude Films - whose most recent release Little Men is currently screening in Irish cinemas - has indicated there are no plans for an Irish release of My Scientology Movie

A spokesperson for the Irish Film Institute told Newstalk.com: "Should it become available, we would look at programming it, but for now the film is not scheduled for release."

The Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) said it has not been asked to classify the film for release here.

My Scientology Movie will be released in UK cinemas from Friday October 7th.