LOS ANGELES — Academy Award nominees Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering have begun work on an untitled documentary about sexual assault in Hollywood.
The expose will examine abuse and cover-ups within the entertainment industry and focus on the behavior of "predatory perpetrators," such as Harvey Weinstein. The project will also explore the culture that enables and protects them, provide a safe place for survivors to share their stories, and profile the many emerging voices for change.
An Oct. 5 New York Times report detailed Weinstein's settlements in at least eight harassment cases, leading to multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and launching criminal investigations. Weinstein's reps have denied that the sexual activity was non-consensual.
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Dick received Academy Award nominations for 2005's "Twist of Faith" and 2012's "The Invisible War." Ziering was nominated for an Oscar for producing "The Invisible War," which deals with sexual assault in the military. Dick and Ziering then teamed on the 2014 campus rape documentary "The Hunting Ground."
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"Documentaries, more than any other medium, bring an intensely moving investigative lens to controversial subject matter," Dick said. "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."
Ziering said the origins of the new project date back several years while she was touring the country with "The Invisible War," which led to "The Hunting Ground."
"And 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," she said. "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."
Ziering said that's all changed in recent weeks following the Weinstein fallout.
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"It's like an invisible dam collapsed," she added. "People at long last are speaking out in large numbers, and we feel this industry, and the country, is finally ready for an unflinching film about the reality of sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood."
The film is being financed by Impact Partners, which financed "The Hunting Ground," "The Invisible War," "The Cove," "Hell and Back Again," "Dina," "Icarus," "Step," and "The Queen of Versailles."
"It is an incredible honor to be working with Kirby and Amy again," said Dan Cogan and Geralyn Dreyfous of Impact Partners. "They are the gold standard in investigative documentary filmmaking. From 'The Invisible War' to 'The Hunting Ground,' their work has changed laws and culture, but they are just getting warmed up. This is going to be their most intimate, revelatory, and impactful film yet."