Scientologists try to ban critical German feature film

The 90-minute film Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt (Until Nothing Remains) tells the story of a family torn about by its dealings with Scientology. In the dramatisation of the true story of Heiner von Rönns, a young man who decided to leave the organisation and subsequently lost all contact with his daughter.

Scientology leaders have claimed the film is a piece of propaganda by Germany's state broadcaster and have demanded to see it before it is aired, the Guardian reports.

Scientology officials have said the film is incorrect and are investigating legal means to prevent the programme from being broadcast Jürg Stettler, a spokesman for Scientology in Germany said: "The truth is precisely the opposite of that which the ARD is showing." Mr Stettler said the organisation was planning its own film to "spread our own side of the story".

Volker Herres, ARD's programme director, has dismissed the accusations, saying the aim of the drama is to reveal the truth about the organisation.

"We're not dealing here with a religion, rather with an organisation that has completely different motives," he told the paper. "Scientology is about power, business, and building up a network. Its lessons are pure science fiction, it's no religion, no church, no sect."

The row mirrors growing concern in Germany over the influence of Scientology. The group has several thousand members in the country, but its critics complain that it is anti-constitutional.