From a media release:
In 1991, two Canadian filmmakers uncovered the gripping story of Katherine Wryfield and Grace Lee’s drug-addled, alien-goddess worshipping, all-female cult, New Eden. Now, decades after their story faded to black, Crave “revisits” the infamous cult and its founders in the eight-part Crave Original Series NEW EDEN, dropping New Year’s Day, it was confirmed today.
Based in Halworth, BC, the New Eden cult, and the infamous 1980s trial that put its founders behind bars, dominated the Canadian news cycle of the day. Originally directed by two LA-based filmmakers named Travis Meeks and Jake Dermay, the docuseries was televised by Broadcast Network Television (BNT) as NEW EDEN: WHEN WOMEN SIN.
The original docuseries premiere was one of the largest in BNT history, but just as the story of New Eden disappeared from Canadians’ collective memories, the BNT docuseries literally faded as well, never to be broadcast again. Decades later, with true-crime fascination at an all-time high, Crave has uncovered the original broadcast tapes from the now-defunct BNT and restored them to their former glory. After months of restorative work, the original series is presented to Canadian viewers once more as it was seen in 1991. A teaser trailer for Crave’s NEW EDEN is available HERE.
NEW EDEN transports viewers back in time to 1991, as cult founders Grace and Katherine prepare for their release after serving eight years in federal prison. Having gone from true-crime sensations, to national jokes, to largely forgotten altogether, they are persuaded to talk on-camera by a pair of unassuming documentarians seeking to tell their story. The series traces Grace and Katherine’s attempt to start a large-scale feminist utopia in the 70s; the sensational 80s murder trial that landed the founders in prison; and finally their decline and seeming rehabilitation behind bars.
Featuring astounding undercover footage captured on the New Eden compound, news footage, and interviews with those closest to the events, NEW EDEN is the shocking tale about an ill-advised plan executed by two overwhelmed women that quickly spirals into a darker narrative of murder, betrayal, and manipulation.
About WHEN WOMEN SIN
Travis Meeks and Jake Dermay met as UCLA film grads in 1987. Inspired by Errol Morris’ boldly unconventional Thin Blue Line in 1989, Meeks and Dermay began searching for a true crime subject worthy of their own self-proclaimed “shock doc” style.
Produced and co-financed by Magnus Meeks, Travis’ father, NEW EDEN: WHEN WOMEN SIN was originally intended to be a film, but got expanded into a docuseries when BNT stepped in as partners in early 1991. Released later that year, the series was as shocking as it was unprecedented. According to Meeks, the piece was about revealing the intricacies of female friendship and crime through the lens of “our inevitable ‘male gaze.’”
While Meeks-Dermay Films continued to collaborate following the original release of the series, none of their later projects achieved the infamy or impact of WHEN WOMEN SIN, and both men have since faded into obscurity. Until now.