C13Originals Launches Documentary Podcast Series “The Sunshine Place”
C13Originals, the Peabody Award-nominated documentary division of leading premium podcast studio Cadence13, an Audacy company, today announced that it has partnered with Team Downey and Wink Pictures for The Sunshine Place, an investigative documentary podcast series examining Synanon, a former California-based experimental drug rehab facility and community that morphed into a dangerous and violent cult, led by its messianic founder Charles E. Diedrich.
The Sunshine Place will be Executive Produced by Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, and Emily Barclay Ford for Team Downey, together with Josh McLaughlin for Wink Pictures, and Chris Corcoran, Chief Content Officer and Founding Partner, Cadence13. The story is written, directed and produced by Perry Crowell, Zak Levitt, Ian Mandt, and Bill Schultz of Peabody-nominated C13Originals, a Cadence13 studio. McLaughlin is a producer of the hit podcast series O.C. Swingers. The Sunshine Place marks Team Downey’s first foray into podcasting.
The Sunshine Place will tell the story of Synanon as it’s never been told before: from the inside out, and by the people who lived it, charting its rise and exploring its decade-long reign over ‘60s and ‘70s counterculture through the recollections of members, survivors, and dedicated chroniclers. The series will be narrated by Sari Crawford, daughter of Bill Crawford, a former Synanon leader.
The Sunshine Place is an eight-part series launching with its first two episodes on August 10, 2022, everywhere podcasts are available. New episodes will drop every Wednesday thereafter throughout the season. Listen to the trailer and follow the series here: The Sunshine Place.
Synanon was called “the miracle on the beach” in Santa Monica, CA during the 1960s. It started as an experimental drug rehab facility that made a radical claim: It could cure your addiction to heroin. The man responsible for this miracle? Charles E. Dederich, aka “Chuck.” Before long, Diedrich would make an even bolder claim: Synanon could cure any of your problems. All you had to do was move in. What started in a house on the beach in Santa Monica soon spread to San Francisco and Oakland, then to compounds across the state of California, and then the country, with thousands of people and millions of dollars in assets. But Diedrich would be the same man to destroy it all, along with the lives of many of his followers and, by the late 1970s, Synanon was being called a violent cult.
“While we were familiar with Synanon, it wasn’t until we heard the deeply personal stories that we could truly appreciate its epic rise and fall,” said Susan Downey and Robert Downey, Jr., Team Downey. “We felt this was a strangely relevant and twisted cautionary tale that had to be told about the incredible lengths people will go to seek out answers and the more dangerous ones others will provide.”
“This is a story we were immediately drawn to, and wanted to tell,” said Chris Corcoran, Chief Content Officer and Founding Partner, Cadence13. “‘It’s an honor to be able to tell incredible stories like this with such a great team in Susan, Robert, Emily, and Josh in collaboration with our brilliant C13Orginals creative team.”
C13Originals, Cadence13's documentary studio, launched in 2019 with the #1 hit Root of Evil and Gangster Capitalism, the Peabody-nominated franchise that began with the college admissions scandal. The studio focuses on culturally relevant and richly-woven narratives about the human experience, and the moments and issues that have shaped–and continue to shape–our society. C13Originals partners with talented, accomplished storytellers who fuse in-depth reporting, critical analysis and unrivaled access with exclusive, first-person accounts to bring listeners audio stories that excite and enrage, enrich and engage. C13Originals is also home to Fallen Angel; Fate of Fact; Gone South; Hope, Through History; It Was Said; It Was Said: Sports; Long May They Run; Once Upon a Time…at Bennington College; Once Upon a Time…in the Valley; One Click; Origins with James Andrew Miller; No Place Like Home; Reflections of History; Relative Unknown; and Whirlwind.
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