Waco: The Longest Siege
1 x 60'
Waco: The Longest Siege uncovers the unexplored stories of the longest stand-off in American history. This unique documentary tells the story of David Koresh’s rise from obscurity to become the prophet and leader of the Branch Davidian sect. It explores Koresh’s extraordinary global recruitment drive, sending out tapes of sermons and making personal visits to evangelical communities around the world. The 25-year old messiah attracts followers from as far afield as Australia, England and Hawaii, many of them returning to join him in the sect’s primitive encampment in Palestine. Texas, to live a spartan life of Bible study in a few acres of woodland.
We hear the stories of the Branch Davidians themselves who fall under the spell of this charismatic Pied Piper. We hear testimony from 5 of these true believers – 3 of them still retaining their holy allegiance to the man whose apocalyptic vision leads to the deaths of family and friends. Clive Doyle walks away from fire which consumed the Davidian compound on Day 51 of the siege while his 18 year old daughter Shari – one of Koresh’s at least 16 wives – dies in the inferno. And Sheila Martin escapes the siege but leaves 4 of her children and her husband Wayne inside – all of them die in the blaze. We also unfold the story of another two former believers – Marc Breault and Liz Baranyai - among Koresh’s closest acolytes, who describe the gradual corruption of the Branch Davidian message, which leads them to defect from the group and become enemies of their former prophet.
This film marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the Waco siege. It tells the frequently overlooked story of the conflict between the Federal Agencies (ATF and FBI) surrounding Mount Carmel near Waco, and the local newspaper and TV News, bravely trying to report the facts of the besieged compound. We have exclusive interviews with the Waco Tribune-Herald’s then editor, Bob Lott, and its chief photographer Rod Aydelotte, whose photographs are the only record of what happened in the first seconds of the initial raid on the compound. His testimony and newly sourced archive of the day, substantiate a fascinating narrative of friction between the media and the government agencies.
This gripping documentary interviews only those who have first hand knowledge of the siege in 1993 and its ending. It uses powerful archive and compelling testimony to give new meaning to a dramatic chapter in American history.