The film An Open Secret succumbed upon freeing in 2015, but is learning a renewed interest online amid a cascade of allegations against Hollywoods elite
When the documentary An Open Secret tried to lift the lid on child abuse in Hollywood, it billed itself as” the cinema Hollywood doesn’t want you to see “. The marketing tagline did not exaggerate.
The film succumbed upon release in 2015. There was no theatrical liberate to speak of , no television bargain , no video-on-demand distribution.
” We get zero Hollywood offers to distribute the cinema. Not even one. Literally no offerings for any price whatsoever ,” said Gabe Hoffman, a Florida-based hedge fund administrator who financed the film.
It did not seem to matter that it was directed by an Oscar-nominated director, Amy Berg, or that it uncovered damning evidence of the sexual abuse of teenage boys by figures in the film industry.
” There was nowhere to see it ,” said Lorien Haynes, the film’s writer.” I don’t think it impacted at all. Nobody appreciated it. We released a cinema that didn’t[ appears to] exist .”
Now, 2 years later, multiple” open secrets” of predatory behaviours are exploding across Hollywood and the documentary that blew the whistle is getting millions of onlookers- but still no distribution deal.
Hoffman liberated the film for free on the video-sharing website Vimeo this month after reports about Harvey Weinstein‘s alleged sexual assault set off a chain-reaction, with James Toback, Tyler Grasham and Kevin Spacey among those accused of harassment and worse.
Corey Feldman, a former child actor who says he was the main victims of a paedophile resound, has raised more than $170,000 through crowdfunding for a purported $10 m biopic about the abuse.
Hoffman said he had intended to end the free online views of An Open Secret on Tuesday, but widened the window until Sunday because of public interest, with more than 3 million viewings on various social media platforms since 12 October.
” We knew a Harvey Weinstein minute was coming and when it would, that we’d freeing it for free ,” said Hoffman. He hoped the documentary would yet make its style on to television.” We’d love to be on Amazon and Netflix. We’re always ready to talk .”
The documentary’s initial fading into the void and belated re-emergence underscores how Hollywood long ducked evidence of mistreat. An Open Secret had the elements to make a splash.
Berg, the director, had earned an Oscar nomination for her movie Deliver Us from Evil, about sexuality abuse in the Catholic church.
Her team acquired evidence of a paedophile ring in Hollywood- directors, agents, publicists and administrators- that preyed on young boys and teenagers striving entry to the industry.
Some hosted lavish parties where humen allegedly plied the boys with alcohol and drugs and traded them for sex. Others spent years grooming victims, and winning the confidence of their families, before starting sexual assaults.
A handful were caught and served relatively brief jail convicts before returning to the industry. Brian Peck, relevant actors and acting coach-and-four who worked for Nickelodeon and the X-Men franchise, was convicted of two countings of lewd acts with small children. He is now working in the industry again.
The documentary features interviews with Evan Henzi, who was 11 years old when his director, Martin Weiss, started assaulting him. Weiss pleaded no contest in 2012 to two countings of child molestation, and was sentenced to a year in jail and five years’ probation. He was freed immediately due to time served.
” I shared my tale in An Open Secret so other victims “whove been” molested for years just like me can mend ,” Henzi, 24, said this week.
” When the cinema was liberated, I witnessed a lot of support by people who actually ensure the movie. What I did not witness was assistance from movie festivals or Hollywood at large to promote the movie. I do believe, though, that both some of the film-makers of An Open Secret and the Hollywood establishment are responsible for this .”
Internal disagreements disrupted the film’s launching. Hoffman took Berg to arbitration, alleging she did not fulfill her terminate of the deal. She denied that. There were other rows behind the scenes over the script, crediting and edits.
Berg declined to be interviewed, saying she would let the cinema speak for itself.
Hoffman downplayed any suggestion that the film-makers had hit themselves in the foot and blamed Hollywood for its distribution travails- for instance initially rating the cinema R, before relenting and categorizing it PG-1 3.” Hollywood clearly blocked the movie. The higher-ups didn’t like how it portrayed the industry .”
Hoffman also claimed celebrations in Los Angeles, London and Toronto promised to give the well-reviewedfilm prominent screenings, merely to cancel the invitations without proper explain. The Guardian could not immediately verify this account.
Haynes, who wrote the script, said mid-ranking television executives seemed eager purchasing the movie, simply to be overruled.” At the upper part of the food chain is where we got the’ no ‘. It did feel that people were scared to run it. It is complete anathema to liberate a movie about dishonesty in Hollywood in Hollywood .”
She accepted another factor: a harrowing cinema about child abuse was a tough sell.” You’re expecting a lot of an audience to sit through that .”
For two years An Open Secret existed in cinema purgatory, available only in pirated online versions, few people aware that here was evidence of insult, collusion and cover-up in the heart of Tinseltown.
Weinstein does not feature in the documentary- he allegedly favor ladies , not young boys- but these allegations against him unleashed a gale which set An Open Secret in the headlines as a ” must watch “~ ATAGEND documentary that explains Hollywood’s complicity.
Weinstein has apologized for his past behavior, but denies many of the harassment land claims and” unequivocally denied” allegations of non-consensual sex.
Spacey apologized the coming week after he was accused of making an unwanted sexual advance toward the Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, who says he was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident in 1986. Spacey, starring of the Netflix show House of Cards and former artistic administrator of London’s Old Vic, said he did not remember the “encounter” but if he had done what Rapp described in an article published by BuzzFeed, it” would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior “.
Meanwhile, Toback, a veteran administrator, faces allegations from more than 30 women of sexual harassment and trying to trade roles for sex. He has denied these allegations, “says hes” hired people simply on merit. Grasham, a veteran agent, is accused of harassing and assaulting multiple young men. His employer, the Agency for the Performing Arts, burnt him after the claims ran public. One alleged victim has filed a complaint with the Los Angeles police department. Grasham has not addressed the claims in any public statement yet and could not be reached for comment.
The cascade of accusations have all served to give Open Secret the kind of limelight its benefactors believe it deserved in the first place.
” The dangers and menaces that follow speaking out are very real. I’ve seen them first-hand. But I believe we’ve turned a corner ,” said Katelyn Howes, one of individual producers.” I hope this continues to push these any infringement of power into the spotlight, inducing it safer for so many people , especially children, who aren’t in the position to talk about their experiences yet .”
Henzi, the former child performer who shared his story of insult, echoed that.” I do believe that the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have completely opened up the door to having a grand conversation about different experiences of sex crime by people in the entertainment industry, and that will be really beneficial for a lot of people. It is about day .”
If you have information about sex misconduct in Hollywood, please contact rory.carroll @theguardian. com