The Institute

Synopsis: Feature-length documentary that examines a San Francisco-based Alternate Reality Game, where thousands of participants got more than they bargained for. Told from the players' perspectives, the film looks over the precipice at an emergent new art form where the real world and fiction narratives merge to create unforeseen and often unsettling consequences.
Director(s): Spencer McCall
Production: Argot Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

I guess it was about 2 years ago.

I was walking around the city,

and I started seeing these crazy

fliers up on poles everywhere.

The first flier I think I kind

of half-read, and it just seemed

to be marketing for some sort of


I think it was the vital-orbit

was the first one I saw.

Didn't even pull one of the

little fliers yet.

It wasn't until I walked around

more and more and started

seeing some of the other fliers

that I really started wondering

what the heck this thing even


I started grabbing some of the little tags and

calling the numbers and hearing the messages.

Thank you for calling

the Jejune Institute,

San Francisco headquarters.

We would like to invite you to

a Special Orientation session.

We are located at

580 California Street,

suite 1067.

For those dark horses with the

spirit to look up and see, a

recondite family awaits.

I kind of didn't know what to


I at first thought, "Okay,

someone's making these crazy

advertisements for something

that's almost too impossible to

even exist.

And they seem to be urging me to

visit this physical place. "

Once I got to

580 California Street, I was

kind of intimidated a bit by

both the locale and the


I realized this is downtown

financial district.

This is a high-rent district.

This is a place where you have

Bank of America.

I walked in and asked for the

Jejune Institute.

The security guard seemed to

know what the place was.

Asked for my I.D., had me sign

in, gave me a visitor badge, and

at that point directed me to the


I get out and see this very

normal-looking lobby.

And I see the receptionist

there, who didn't really seem at

at all like anybody from the


You know, I wasn't really seeing

the name of this company I was

looking for.

And the receptionist asked me if

she could help me.

I said, "Yeah, I'm here for the

Jejune institute. "

And she handed me a key.

And that seemed to be that.

On one side's a map.

On the other side, there's

instructions guiding me through

the floor I'm on to some


So, I navigated the floor based

on the map and the instructions

and ended up at a room.


Welcome to

the Jejune Institute,

San Francisco induction center.

Please enter the room and close

the door behind you.

Now have a seat in the lounge

chair provided for you.

In a moment, our orientation

program will begin.

5... 4... 3... 2... And 1.

You now sit in a satellite induction

office of the Jejune Institute, located

in the deep forests of

San Francisco.

The room in which you are

currently located rests exactly

six floors beneath our global


The California Center is one of

many such stations spread

around the globe, in locations

such as Oslo, Seville, Algiers,

Bombay, Quebec, and Santiago.

But the origins of

the Jejune Institute are right


It all began in 1962, when a

small group of academics came

together around a common

interest in the advancement of


During the '60s, the society

was a closely knit forum for

experimental research

techniques, utilized to expand

interpersonal trust among

fellow human subjects.

During the 1970s, under the

leadership of luminary metaphysicist

Octavio Coleman, Esquire, the

institute gained a wide

influence and prestige for

which it is now known.

Along with contemporaries

Werner Erhard and Stewart Emery,

Coleman helped

spearhead the still-nascent

movement of personal growth and


The work they did

collaboratively, amid the

breeding grounds of EST,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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