The film An Open Secret succumbed upon freeing in 2015, but is recognizing a renewed interest online amid a cascade of accusations against Hollywoods elite
When the documentary An Open Secret tried to lift the lid on child abuse in Hollywood, it billed itself as” the movie Hollywood doesn’t want you to see “. The marketing tagline did not exaggerate.
The film succumbed upon freeing in 2015. There was no theatrical freeing to speak of , no television bargain , no video-on-demand distribution.
” We got zero Hollywood offers to distribute the movie. Not even one. Literally no offerings for any price whatsoever ,” said Gabe Hoffman, a Florida-based hedge fund manager who financed the film.
It did not seem to matter that it was directed against an Oscar-nominated director, Amy Berg, or that it uncovered damning evidence of the sexual abuse of teenage sons 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 considered it. We released a movie that didn’t[ seem to] exist .”
Now, 2 years later, multiple” open secrets” of predatory behaviour are exploding across Hollywood and the documentary that blew the whistle is getting billions 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 performer who says he was the victim of a paedophile reverberate, 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 viewings of An Open Secret on Tuesday, but extended 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 instant was coming and where reference is 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 underlines how Hollywood long ducked evidence of insult. An Open Secret had the elements to make a splash.
Berg, the administrator, had earned an Oscar nomination for her cinema Deliver Us from Evil, about sexuality abuse in the Catholic church.
Her team acquired evidence of a paedophile ring in Hollywood- managers, agents, publicists and directors- that preyed on young boys and teenagers striving entry to the industry.
Some hosted lavish parties where humen allegedly plied the sons with booze and drugs and traded them for sexuality. Others spent years grooming victims, and winning the confidence of their families, before starting sexual assaults.
A handful were caught and served relatively brief prison convicts before returning to the industry. Brian Peck, an actor and acting tutor who worked for Nickelodeon and the X-Men franchise, was convicted of two counts of lewd acts with a child. He is now working in the industry again.
The documentary features interviews with Evan Henzi, who was 11 years old when his manager, Martin Weiss, started assaulting him. Weiss pleaded no tournament 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 day served.
” I shared my tale in An Open Secret so other victims “whove been” molested for years just like me can heal ,” Henzi, 24, said this week.
” When the movie was liberated, I witnessed a lot of support by people who actually realized the movie. What I did not witness was subsistence from cinema festivals or Hollywood at large to promote the cinema. I do believe, though, that both some of the film-makers of An Open Secret and the Hollywood establishment are responsible for this .”
Internal squabbles disrupted the film’s launching. Hoffman took Berg to arbitration, alleging she did not fulfill her end 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 film speak for itself.
Hoffman downplayed any suggestion that the film-makers had shot themselves in the foot and blamed Hollywood for its distribution travails- for example initially rating the cinema R, before relenting and categorizing it PG-1 3.” Hollywood clearly blocked the film. The higher-ups didn’t like how it portrayed the industry .”
Hoffman likewise claimed festivals in Los Angeles, London and Toronto promised to give the well-reviewedfilm prominent screenings, only to repeal the invitations without proper justification. The Guardian could not immediately verify this account.
Haynes, who wrote the script, said mid-ranking television executives seemed eager purchasing the cinema, 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 film about corruption 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 exists within cinema purgatory, available only in pirated online versions, few people aware that here was evidence of mistreat, collusion and cover-up in the heart of Tinseltown.
Weinstein does not feature in the documentary- he allegedly opted females , not young boys- but these allegations against him unleashed a gale which threw 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 claims and” unequivocally denied” allegations regarding non-consensual sex.
Spacey apologized the coming week after he was accused of making an unwanted sexual improvement toward the Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, who says he was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident in 1986. Spacey, sun of the Netflix show House of Cards and former artistic administrator of London’s Old Vic, said he did not recollect 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 sexuality. He has denied the accusations, “says hes” hired people merely on virtue. Grasham, a veteran agent, is accused of harassing and assaulting multiple young men. His employer, the Agency for the Performing Arts, fired him after the amount claimed 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 allegations have all served to give Open Secret the various kinds of limelight its backers believe it deserved in the first place.
” The the risks and threats 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 the producers.” I hope this continues to push these abuses of power into the spotlight, making 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 mistreat, echoed that.” I do is argued that the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have completely opened up the door to having a grand dialogue about different experiences of sexual assault by people in the entertainment industry, and that will be really beneficial for a lot of people. It is about hour .”
If you have information about sexual misconduct in Hollywood, can be contacted rory.carroll @theguardian. com