'Wild Wild Country' Produced by Juliana Lembi ’17 Premieres on Netflix to Much Acclaim
BY Fernando Iriarte , April 12, 2018
Wild Wild Country, produced by Alumna Juliana Lembi ’17, premiered on Netflix recently to much acclaim. It has been praised as one of the best documentaries of the year and has been celebrated in some of the top film Festival in the world.
Wild Wild Country follows the story of Rajneeshpuram, a utopic and religious commune established in rural Oregon in the 1980s by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The documentary is told in six episodes which narrate in detail the conflict with the law and how this commune became a deeply polemic way of living.
The film originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, one of the most important in the world and one that consistently features work from Columbia alumni. Previous alumni who’ve shown work at the festival include Kimberly Pierce '96 and James Ponsoldt '05.
Since it first screened, the reviews of Wild Wild Country have been overwhelmingly positive. Currently, it holds an impressive 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Nick Allen of Roger Ebert said: “By handling this story so intelligently and by opening its heart to a very complicated idea of good and evil, Wild Wild Country has a profound, mesmerizing power itself.”
Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter also praised the series: “Screened at the Sundance Film Festival in one exhausting, gripping gulp, it's a slice of partially forgotten history in which real life just keeps getting more and more outlandish and implausible.”
Proma Khosla of Mashable wrote: “For something that seems far removed from today's society, the series is deeply immersive and appropriately paced. It's nothing if not a wild ride – and a perfect binge.”
Wild Wild Country is the second project Juliana Lembi has produced for Netflix. In 2014, she worked as a lead producer on The Battered Bastards of Baseball, a documentary about the first independent baseball team in America at the time: the legendary Portland Mavericks. The Battered Bastards of Baseball also holds a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wild Wild Country is screening on Netflix now.