“Thank you for telling this story!” an audience member cried out just before the first — and possibly final — screening of Amy Berg’s Hollywood sex abuse documentary “An Open Secret.”
The film premiered Nov. 14 as part of the DOC NYC festival, playing to a supportive crowd that looked like it filled Manhattan’s 475-seat SVA Theater to around three-quarters full. The controversial film faces significant hurdles in securing a release, a fact that Berg, who attended the screening along with some of the film’s subjects, acknowledged up front.
“We get one screening,” the director (pictured above with Evan Henzi, one of the film’s subjects) told the audience after the credits rolled. “Maybe we’ll get distribution. It’s not very likely.”
The film centers on the rise and demise of Den, an early digital network that’s alleged to have been the center of a Hollywood sex-abuse ring.
The movie features extensive interviews with Michael Eagan, who, subsequent to participating in the film, drew headlines for his allegations against Hollywood elites including Bryan Singer. (He subsequently dropped the lawsuit.)
Also figuring into the film is a discomfiting interview with Michael Harrah, a founding member of SAG’s Young Performers Committee, as well as the tale of young performer Henzi’s experiences with child-actor manager Martin Weiss. Todd Bridges, the “Diff’rent Strokes” star who has said he suffered sexual abuse as a young actor, is interviewed, while Corey Feldman, who has spoken out against sex abuse in the past, appears in footage from prior TV interviews but doesn’t directly participate in the movie.
Also in the movie’s DOC NYC audience was John Connolly, the journalist who investigated Den as early as 2002 before, as he relates in the movie, his story got mysteriously spiked by higher-ups. “The reason this movie is having trouble getting distribution is because of Hollywood,” he said.
Henzi also attended the premiere Friday night. “I hope this film doesn’t just get buried,” he said.