When Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering released The Hunting Ground, a conversation was started that could no longer be hidden. Sexual assault runs rampant on college campuses around the country and it’s often written off as drunk antics in party situations. In fact, many women are blamed when they come forth about their assault because they should have ‘dressed differently’ or ‘had less to drink’.
The fact of the matter is, sexual assault happens – and is covered up – on campuses everywhere and it does more damage than many might understand. However, college campuses and parties aren’t the only places sexual assault happens.
When young adults head to the city of lights to follow their dreams, they’re frequently put into situations with established people in the business. Sadly, these established people have all but demanded sexual relations in return for getting someone a gig, an audition, or put in the right direction for a bright future.
On Monday, Amy and Kirby announced that they’d be working on a documentary that shines a light on sexual abuse in Hollywood. Not just the abuse, but the predatory behavior and entitlement of people like Harvey Weinstein and how a certain culture almost protects them from repercussions.
Documentaries, more than any other medium, bring an intensely moving investigative lens to controversial subject matter. What our film will capture, especially at this pivotal turning point in Hollywood history, is the underlying current of abuse and manipulation at the hands of power. Our film will also underscore the courage it takes to come forward and be a catalyst for change.
While planning for the film began five years ago, the recent accusations against Harvey Weinstein only stood to further prove how necessary this document is. While The Hunting Ground wasn’t based on sexual assault in Hollywood, it did get the conversation started. In fact, The Hunting Ground was released by the Weinstein Company and while many wanted to come forward and share their stories of sexual assault happening in the business, many were scared.
Every time we screened that film in Hollywood, actors and executives would come up to us and say that they had had similar experiences right here. So, we began working on this project and immediately found ourselves grappling with the same forces that had kept this story silenced for so long. Everyone was frightened about what would happen to their careers and worried about whether they would be sued. Distributors were unwilling to fund or release the film, and few people were willing to talk on the record. Then the Weinstein stories broke, and it’s like an invisible dam collapsed.
The film is currently untitled and no release date has been set, but with the 54 women who have accuses Weinstein of sexual harassment, and other men and women in the business coming forward with their own stories of assault, we anticipate it will be an incredibly important documentary.
‘…but I knew him’