The world premiere tonight at the Sundance Film Festival of the Harvey Weinstein documentary Untouchable didn’t mention the Park City gathering itself where the now disgraced producer held court for years but some drama of its own.
Initially delayed by “technical difficulties,” as one Sundance staff told the line of hundreds waiting to get in, the MARC Theatre screening itself was actually interrupted three times on Friday to the obvious irritation of attendees. On each occasion and with no explanation given, the house lights came up in full for nearly 20 seconds as the Ursula Macfarlane directed film played to groans from the packed venue.
Filled with paparazzi footage of self-described NYC “sheriff” Weinstein threatening and cajoling with cameramen over the years, the film doesn’t unveil anything new. The fairly comprehensive effort does feature heartbreaking on-camera interviews with alleged victims such as Boardwalk Empire alum Paz de la Huerta. As well, a stream of ex-Miramax execs, Roman Farrow, and the New York Times team that first exposed the much-accused producer appear.
Neither Weinstein, who today had his new legal criminal case team formally court approved nor his brother and long-time business partner Bob Weinstein is interviewed in Untouchable. But there are numerous detailed and damning audio recordings of the former that are featured, including him trying to lure the NYPD wired up model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez into his hotel room in 2015.
“We would have loved Harvey to be in the film and answer the allegations and tell us about himself,” Macfarlane said after the screening to applause. Producer Poppy Dixon and Macfarlane met with Bob Weinstein but he eventually declined to be in the docu, the director revealed to the audience.
That packed MARC audience included black-ish creator Kenya Barris, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, Norman Lear, and producer Cassian Elwes, who worked with the Weinsteins on films such as Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Also, in the crowd and in the film, itself was Rosanna Arquette and ex-The Weinstein Company staffer Lauren O’Conner, whose scorching memo of Weinstein’s history of harassment and assault of women ended up in the first NYT expose.
“A lot of women didn’t do the film because they are afraid of retaliation,” Arquette told attendees after the screening as she stood in the front of the MARC with Macfarlane Dixon, O’Conner and Untouchable’s producers.
In the first of five screenings during this year’s Sundance, the movie from Lightbox and the BBC aims to examine the rise, misconduct and seemingly fitting fall of the Oscar winner. Untouchable also tries to use Weinstein as an example of a much larger threat of the culture of sexual harassment and assault in our society. “There is a Harvey Weinstein in every industry,” it was asserted in the post-screening Q&A
Accused by more than 60 women of sexual assault or sexual harassment, Weinstein is under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as the rape case by the Manhattan D.A.’s office that is currently set to go to trial in May.
Additional allegations against Weinstein have been reviewed by the LAPD, which sent an initial trio of cases to the L.A. County D.A. on February 8. Another case was handed over to that same office in in August. As UK police continue their investigation, the Beverly Hills Police passed two cases of sexual assault that they say occurred in their jurisdiction to Lacey’s office on January 2.