A dark side of the movie world has played out onscreen at Cannes in An Open Secret, a documentary about child sexual abuse that calls itself "the movie Hollywood doesn't want you to see." The film, screened outside the festival selection, features interviews with former child actors and models who were abused by agents, managers, and other industry figures. The filmmakers hope it will encourage more victims to speak out. "Once kids see that we stick up for the victims, then that's when I think more people will come forward," Evan Henzi, a former child performer who was abused by his manager, said after a screening yesterday. The film is directed by acclaimed documentarian Amy Berg, who made the Academy Award-nominated Deliver Us from Evil, about child abuse in the Roman Catholic church.
An Open Secret treads a careful legal line, naming only abusers who have been convicted of sex offenses. One of the interviewees is Michael Egan, a former child actor who filed—and then dropped—a lawsuit accusing X-Men director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him. Singer has denied the claims, and the film does not make allegations against him. This is "the tip of the iceberg in Hollywood," says former Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, who is in Cannes to support the movie and has spoken about his own experiences as a victim of sexual abuse. "This also extends into the sporting world, too," he continues. "There is so much money involved that silence can be bought. ...This is about intimidation and having power and control." An Open Secret will have a limited release in 20 US cities starting June 5.