An Open Secret, a documentary about the sexual abuse of teenage boys at the hands of Hollywood big-wigs, generated plenty of publicity a few years ago, but no suitable offers for digital distribution.
Now, with new sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein and others in the movie and TV industry coming practically daily, the producer of An Open Secret has posted his film online for the first time, free for the next nine days.
“It’s so funny to keep seeing headlines about how Harvey’s abuse was ‘an open secret’ in Hollywood, and that’s the name of our film,” said producer Gabe Hoffman.
He says he has put An Open Secret on Vimeo for free viewing “to commemorate serial predator Harvey Weinstein finally being exposed.”
The movie got a limited theatrical release a few years ago, and Hoffman is still seeking more distribution.
He knows there’s a market for the film because pirates keep throwing the movie online illegally.
On one occasion, by the time he was able to have the movie removed from a pirated site it had been viewed 900,000 times.
Much of the movie focuses on the now-defunct Digital Entertainment Network, which sprung up around the turn of the century when Hollywood was still trying to figure out the internet.
The company, known as DEN, generated lots of buzz and attracted some high-profile investors, including congressman-turned movie producer Michael Huffington; film and music mogul David Geffen; and Bryan Singer, the director of two X-Men movies.
DEN was a producer of five-minute videos for web consumption, but it’s best remembered today for hosting wild parties with drugs, alcohol and underage boys at the former residence of founder, Marc Collins-Rector, now a registered sex offender.
Singer, who was alleged to be at some of the parties, was sued — along with former Disney executive David Neuman, TV executive Garth Ancier and producer Gary Goddard — by Michael Egan III, who alleged they abused him.
Egan, a frequent attendee at the DEN parties, later dropped the lawsuit against the four Hollywood men and was admonished by a judge for lying in court. Egan’s attorneys later wrote apology letters to Neuman and Ancier acknowledging the allegations against them were false and paid them a settlement of at least $1 million.
Some in Hollywood used the episode to tarnish the validity of An Open Secret, but Hoffman said that everything Egan says in the movie, directed by Amy Berg and recut before put on Vimeo, is also said by others.