The First Day of the Rest of Your Life tells the story of Synanon, the drug rehabilitation program-turned-utopian commune. Shut down in 1993 amidst tax evasion accusations, Synanon was at one time the largest commune in the United States of America. The film will explore the life of Chuck Dederich, Synanon’s leader, as well as examine the draw and appeal of cultish groups.
Filmmaker David Lale has gained unprecedented access to Synanon’s historical documents and films. The film promises to be an in-depth, balanced look at commune life and its influences, both immediate and lasting, on the lives of its members.
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The First Day of the Rest of Your Life just received a grant from California Humanities.