An Open Secret
An Open Secret is an American documentary film directed by Amy J. Berg exposing child sexual abuse in the film industry in California. The film features interviews with victimized performers, who were targeted when they were young boys, as well as industry figures, the predators themselves, and journalists.
|An Open Secret|
|Directed by||Amy J. Berg|
Berg decided to make the documentary after she was approached by Matthew Valentinas in 2011. Valentinas and Gabe Hoffman wanted to make a film about victims of sexual exploitation. Valentinas said, "We chose Amy because we didn't want it to be exploitative or tabloid. We wanted it to be empowering for the victims." Berg's 2006 film Deliver Us From Evil, a documentary on systemic child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, had been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
The documentary follows the stories of five former child actors who were sexually abused by multiple predators. Much of the film focuses on Marc Collins-Rector, subsequently convicted of child sexual abuse, who co-owned and operated Digital Entertainment Network. DEN produced brief online videos during the early days of the Internet, and was noted for wild parties featuring underaged boys at Collins-Rector's house. The parties are described in the film by participants.
The film makes multiple references to director Bryan Singer, who was alleged to be at some of the DEN parties, but does not detail allegations against him. A lawsuit alleging that Singer sexually abused an underage boy was withdrawn during the production of the film. The film details only allegations made by persons willing to appear on camera.
An Open Secret has an approval rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on reviews from 15 critics. It has a score of 66 out of 100 on Metacritic; it has a weighted average score of 66 based on reviews from nine critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". The Hollywood Reporter says that the film offered a "sober look at accusations that lend themselves to sensationalism."
Flavorwire claims that "the film feels less shocking as a cult-of-celebrity document and more just quietly horrifying, as it details the trauma and the abuse of power inflicted on young men with stars in their eyes."
An Open Secret initially had a limited theatrical release, but producers were encouraged about its commercial potential because a pirated version was viewed 900,000 times. However, it received no television deal or video-on-demand distribution. According to Gabe Hoffman who financed the film: "We got zero Hollywood offers to distribute the film. Not even one. Literally no offers for any price whatsoever." On 12 October 2017, Hoffman and Valentinas released the film for nine days on Vimeo "to commemorate serial predator Harvey Weinstein finally being exposed." It went viral, and free viewing was then extended for a longer period due to the interest shown in the film, with over 3 million viewings garnered on various social media platforms in the first two weeks.
- Witheridge, Annette (15 November 2014). "Bombshell documentary about Hollywood pedophile ring preying on child actors that's been linked to X-Men director Bryan Singer premieres in New York". Daily Mail.
- Setoodeh, Ramin (April 18, 2014). "Bryan Singer Allegations Part of Upcoming Sex Abuse Documentary". Variety.
- DeFore, John (November 14, 2014). "'An Open Secret': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Kilday, Gregg (November 12, 2014). "Hollywood Sex Abuse Film Revealed: Explosive Claims, New Figures Named (Exclusive)". Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- Bond, Paul (October 13, 2017). "Hollywood Sex Abuse Film 'An Open Secret' Released Online". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
- "An Open Secret Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
- DeFore, John (November 14, 2014). "'An Open Secret': Film Review Amy Berg turns from molestation in the priesthood to Hollywood sex abuse". Hollywoodreporter. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
- Donnelly, Elisabeth (November 17, 2014). "'An Open Secret' Examines Hollywood Sex Abuse Allegations, Beyond the Tabloid Sensationalism". Flavorwire. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
- Cwik, Greg (November 15, 2014). "DOC NYC Review: Amy Berg's 'An Open Secret' Is a Devastating Exposé of Hollywood's Sexual Abuse Problem". Indiewire. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- Carroll, Rory (1 November 2017). "Child abuse documentary Hollywood 'didn't want you to see' goes viral". The Guardian.
- An Open Secret, Official PG-13 version (uploaded to Vimeo on 2015Oct14)