The documentary “An Open Secret” makes it debut tonight in Los Angeles. The documentary is about a difficult subject — the sexual abuse of child actors by adults in the entertainment industry — and its getting critical acclaim but a tough box office across North America.
The Los Angeles Times brought the issue to light in 2012 and it resulted in new laws passed by the California Legislature that requires extensive background checks on professionals who work with and cast child actors in productions and those who manage their careers. For disclosure, the story is the work of my wife, Dawn, who was interviewed for the documentary and will moderate a panel on the film tonight (and yes, I’m immensely proud of her work on this meaningful story and the laws it helped pass).
Apparently, the LA premiere is attracting a ton of conserverati, like Ann Coulter, who no doubt will blast the liberal culture of Hollywood as the principal villain of child sex abuse, while ignoring the same abuse on child victims from the far more conservative Catholic Church. Child sex abuse isn’t a conservative or liberal issue — its a crime and one that needs to be stopped through harsh penalties while providing greater treatment for the victims.
Tonight’s premiere is sold out.
The ad line for An Open Secret, the new documentary about the sexual abuse of child actors, is “The Movie Hollywood Doesn’t Want You to See.” After talking to the film’s producers, it’s easy to see why. Executive producer Gabe Hoffman wouldn’t name names, but said, “We went to everybody and anybody at all the biggest companies and got turndowns everywhere.”
Exec producer Matthew Valentinas told Deadline: “There was major interest in this film at Cannes last year. They’d say, ‘We love it. Don’t show it to anyone else.’ The chief creatives would love it, but then someone on the business side would step in, and all of a sudden there was no longer interest.” In many cases, he said, the decision to reject the film came from the very highest levels of some of the biggest companies.
Both men said they believe Hollywood has snubbed the film because it paints the industry in a very bad light. The movie, Hoffman said, makes it clear “that Hollywood is not adequately policing itself.”
“Hollywood needs to get convicted pedophiles out of the industry,” Valentinas said. “Hollywood is a small, insular town, and while 99% of the people haven’t done anything like this, a majority may know somebody who has.” And in a town built on relationships, he said, speaking out “is not worth jeopardizing business relationships. That’s why it’s called An Open Secret.”
Here’s the details on tonight’s sold out show with some liner reviews:
“This important documentary confronts tough issues with bravery and information.”—New York Daily News
“You may miss a few moments of “An Open Secret,” either while looking away during its unsettling stories or closing your eyes in frustration. This potent documentary elicits those kinds of reactions.”—The New York Times
“…a devastating exposé of Hollywood’s sexual abuse problem.” – Indiewire (among 2015’s 20 best documentaries)
LOS ANGELES RED CARPET PREMIERE OF AMY BERG’S EMPOWERING SEXUAL ABUSE DOC AN OPEN SECRET
Wednesday, July 15th
WHO: Film subjects and advocates, including Evan Henzi; BizParentz Founders Anne Henry and Paula Dorn; Producers Matthew Valentinas and Gabe Hoffman. Other participants/talent to be announced.
WHAT: The Los Angeles red carpet premiere of AN OPEN SECRET. Directed by Oscar®-nominated director Amy Berg (WEST OF MEMPHIS; DELIVER US FROM EVIL), AN OPEN SECRET looks at the lives of children betrayed and abandoned by a system that essentially funnels them towards sexual predators without any oversight or regard for their safety. It documents not only these young peoples’ experiences, but also how some have emerged stronger for their speaking out. It begs the questions of why children working in entertainment aren’t afforded the same protections they are afforded at school, and argues for more effective treatment and stronger penalties for child sex offenders. The film has opened to critical acclaim in Seattle, Denver and New York, and is traveling to more cities through the summer. The film will begin its Los Angeles run at the Laemmle Music Hall on Friday, July 17, 2015. http://www.laemmle.com/films/39565
WHEN: Wednesday, July 15th 6:00pm Media Check-In; 6:30pm Red Carpet Arrivals
7:00pm Screening followed by a Q&A and cocktail/hors d’oeuvres reception hosted by The Federal Bar
WHERE: Writers Guild Theater, Beverly Hills, CA
MORE: Director Amy Berg was nominated for an Academy Award® for her documentary DELIVER US FROM EVIL. She also directed WEST OF MEMPHIS, EVERY LITTLE SECRET and the upcoming PROPHET’S PREY.