Interesting. Can you give some references? What was the executive producer's name?Quote
robyn symon did take landmark classes. the film was also executive produced by werner's former lawyer. It is pro landmark, I've seen it.
Transformation: The Life & Legacy of Werner Erhard
Rating: (1.5 out of 4)
Directed by: Robyn Symon
Starring: Werner Erhard, Don Lattin, Jane Self, Michael Jenson, Randy McNamara, Warren Bennis
Review: "Transformation: The Life & Legacy of Werner Erhard" (AFF) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael D Friedman
Wednesday, 07 June 2006
I Just Don't Get It
What is "est?"
According to who you ask, it's an acronym for Erhard Seminar Training or merely Latin for "it is." Not exactly a religion, but more of a way of thinking, est was thought to be a cult by many, and was even targeted by the Church of Scientology for "stolen technology" in the early 1990s.
An 'est' seminar during the 70s. (courtesy AFF)
However, I don't think you'll find an answer to the question in Transformation: The Life & Legacy of Werner Erhard. Instead, you'll get vague bits and pieces, but never the whole picture. With video tape footage of est seminars from the ‘70s and ‘80s, there are brief glances into the world of Werner Erhard, the founder of est. At these seminars, Erhard would often yell at the attendees, telling them that they didn't know "their ass from a hole in the ground."
He comes off like the Bobby Knight of self-help conferences, but apparently he helped a lot of people and became something of a pop icon during the height of the est craze. Before a scathing report by 60 Minutes that claimed Erhard abused his children (after first abandoning his family and taking on a new name - he was born John Rosenberg), Erhard sold the est seminars to his compatriots and fled the country. He's since not returned, instead going from country to country living in anonymity, but occasionally giving a seminar or two.
Erhard claims that the 60 Minutes report was fabricated in part by L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology. It may or may not be true. His daughter recanted her testimony and nothing was ever proved.
The problem with Transformation, however, is that it reads like a love letter to Erhard, rather than a true examination of the man. To someone like me, who was too young to really remember the est movement, this is a fascinating story. But in the documentary, we only see one side. Erhard's interviews are backed up by supporters, former co-workers and reconciled family members. It's as if est could do no wrong.
I'm not judging whether est is "hooey" or a cult, as it has apparently truly helped some people. The seminar footage leaves me very skeptical, but I'll reserve judgment. I don't really get a feeling of what est means to its followers, other than to live in reality and to make yourself a better person. It seems to be a mish-mash of several different beliefs and philosophies. It's pick and choose, ala carte enlightenment.
In the documentary, people claim that Erhard's teachings gave tons of ideas to the world - ideas that are now used in business, our everyday lives, and even advertising. To me it just seems like standard life lessons we've learned before.
Transformation scratches the surface of what could be an interesting documentary. I just wish it wasn't so eager to try to prove Erhard right.
Michael D Friedman is the online producer and an editor for CinemATL. In his spare time, he is a screenwriter and filmmaker. He is a founder and co-president of the Atlanta Screenwriters Group.
I just found this. Since I'm new here, pardon if this has been posted elsewhere:
A documentary on Werner opened April 2006, and showed in Atlanta two days ago. Looks like Werner, at 70, helped out! Can't wait to see it.