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Newly-Launched Fairfax Theater Will Take Over Silent Movie Theatre from Cinefamily — Report

On Los Angeles’s Fairfax Avenue, the Silent Movie Theatre will reportedly soon have a new tenant: Fairfax Theater, LLC. Cinefamily — a pulse point in the Southern California film community that showcased arthouse fare — operated the space for 10 years prior to August 2017, when its activities were suspended after sexual harassment allegations prompted resignations from executive director Hadrian Belove (a co-founder) and board member Shadie Elnashai.

According to Cinefamily Accountability — a website founded by longtime Cinefamily patron Jon Zerolnick — the fledgling Fairfax Theater was established in October by Cinefamily co-founder and former treasurer Dan Harkham, who had the foresight then to know that Cinefamily would permanently close, a fact locals learned the following month. Pre-scandal, Cinefamily’s Board of Directors included well-known industry personalities like Amazon Original Movies head of production Ted Hope, and “The Lego Movie” co-writer/director Phil Lord. Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson was a member of its advisory board,
See full article at Indiewire »

Cinefamily Closes For Good, Permanently Tarnished by Sexual Harassment Allegations and Debt

  • Indiewire
Cinefamily’s temporary closure is now permanent. Following the August resignations of executive director Hadrian Belove and board member Shadie Elnashai amid sexual harassment allegations, the nonprofit West Hollywood theater will not reopen, concluding a 10-year run.

A statement posted November 14 on its website states that the decision was the result of a months-long independent investigation. “While no victims emerged to corroborate the allegation of rape widely circulated in an anonymous email, the investigation identified serious concerns, including breaches of acceptable behavior alleged to have happened at Cinefamily offices and events; a climate that discouraged employees and volunteers from reporting distressing workplace incidents and/or made them feel unheard if they did so; and critical lapses in communication from the executive management and the board,” the statement reads. “We feel strongly that we have made the right decision.”

Read More:Before Weinstein: The Times’ Sexual Harassment Timeline Should Include Austin and
See full article at Indiewire »

Cinefamily to Permanently Shut Down Following Sexual Harassment Scandal

Cinefamily to Permanently Shut Down Following Sexual Harassment Scandal
Los Angeles independent film venue Cinefamily will permanently shut down and dissolve the board following allegations of sexual misconduct made against some of Cinefamily’s executives in August that led to two resignations from the company.

Silent Movie Theater, Cinefamily’s longtime home, will be closed and renovated by the landlord, while the board will establish a transition team to handle the organization’s financial and legal affairs, according to a statement from the board of directors.

“The damage caused to the organization by the conduct of some and the crippling debt now facing the Cinefamily are, in the Board’s view, irreparable,” the board of directors wrote in a statement.

As previously reported by Variety, Cinefamily temporarily suspended all activities in August amid the scandal where anonymous emails accused Cinefamily leaders of sexual harassment. Executive director and co-founder Hadrian Belove and board member Shadie Elnashai resigned on Aug. 22.

“While no victims emerged to corroborate the allegation
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Horrible Misogyny in the Film World Is Surfacing, But Are We Really Surprised?

Sörn/ WikiCommons

This week has been quite the shitshow in the film community. A lot of ugliness came to the surface via the Alamo Drafthouse and Cinefamily debacles, but how many women in the industry can really say they are surprised? We all know this type of behavior is rampant and typically goes unchecked.

Back in October, Birth.Movies.Death editor-in-chief Devin Faraci was publicly accused of sexual assault. He resigned from the site, which is owned by Drafthouse. While it seemed like this particular entitled dude in the film world, who supposedly supported women and was seen as a feminist ally, actually faced consequences for his actions — which is rare — we weren’t being told the whole story. It turns out his employment continued. Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League kept him on the payroll. He had been quietly working for Drafthouse as a copywriter — until this fact became public knowledge last week. People flipped out, and rightfully so. Now Faraci has resigned once again.

This problem is bigger than Faraci, though his actions are particularly odious. Todd Brown, a programmer for Drafthouse-owned Fantastic Fest, succinctly summarized the wider context. He resigned from the fest, and in a post on Facebook, explained, “Anyone who has ever suggested that Fantastic Fest and the Drafthouse is just the geek friendly equivalent of the classic Old Boys Club, you have just been proven correct. There it is, the Club utterly ignoring the victim while it creates a protective ring around the perpetrator.”

In the aftermath of this controversy, League acknowledged in a Facebook post that “a culture of sexual harassment and gender inequality persists in our society and specifically within the film industry, and much work remains to fix this problem.” He continued, “by engaging in dialogue about these issues, and by holding people responsible for their actions, we can begin to bridge the gap between where we are now, and where we need to be. Without question, sexual misconduct is impermissible. The question is whether there is any path to redemption, and if so, what that path looks like.”

This is not what that path looks like. And that can’t even be up for debate. Faraci’s employment was kept secret for a reason. League knew how the news would be received.

“Devin has spent the time since this allegation examining the choices he made that led to it,” League wrote. “He has recognized and acknowledged his struggles with substance abuse; after stepping down, he immediately entered recovery and has been sober ever since. This is an important step in the right direction. His departure from Birth.Movies.Death meant losing his job, his livelihood, his career, and his place in the film community, but Devin has started the work to rebuild himself first with the understanding that all else is secondary. Seeing the work that Devin has been doing to acknowledge his faults, to address his addiction, and to better himself, I thought it was important to contribute to his recovery process by helping him with some means to earn a living. Once it became clear that his efforts were sincere, I offered Devin copywriting work at Alamo Drafthouse and have recently expanded that to include writing blurbs for our Fantastic Fest festival guide. He does not hold any leadership position at Alamo Drafthouse or Fantastic Fest and is not involved with Birth.Movies.Death. in any capacity.”

But what about the recovery process of the women who were impacted by Faraci’s words and actions? Twitter user spacecrone, someone who has personal experience with Faraci, has made her feelings clear. Check out this thread. It’s essential reading. Some highlights:

the film industry won't be "good for women" until y'all make some compassionate boundaries about what kinds of behavior is acceptable

— @spacecrone

i get it. i totally get loving your friend and feeling at a loss that he is freaking out so much that his "career is ruined.

— @spacecrone

But Here'S The Thing: He Hurts People

— @spacecrone

and when you put me, and everyone else, in the position to have to care more about devin's wellbeing than our own or the people he's hurt,

— @spacecrone

You Are Contributing To The Atmosphere That Results In Women Not Coming Forward About These Things

— @spacecrone

When League said that “there’s some discomfort with the idea that Devin is once again employed by the Alamo Drafthouse,” all he really did was minimize the damage. Faraci’s employment sends such a disappointing, disturbing message to the film community. You can treat women this way and get away with it.

The second recent example focuses on the Indie La film venue Cinefamily which made news last month when an anonymous email was sent to many members of the organization as well as other members of the film community. As Variety summarized, the message cited “a 2014 harassment case against Cinefamily co-founder and executive director Hadrian Belove that ended in a settlement, as well as accusing Shadie Elnashai, vice president of the board of directors, of ‘raping multiple women.’” Belove and Elnashai resigned shortly after.

Cinefamily released a statement addressing the situation and revealing that they would “temporarily suspend” all activities to “allow for the investigation and necessary restructure of management and the board.”

“Recently, claims were made alleging improper behavior by one of more members of the organization,” the release read. “The Board of Directors of The Cinefamily has no tolerance for any form of behavior that does not conform to the high standards demanded by our members and staff and that of common human decency.”

Now we have more details about exactly what went down.

Yesterday La Weekly published an all-too-familiar account of what happened at Cinefamily — and how little was done about it. In August of 2016, former employee William Morris “was walking from the theater’s back patio to its front door when he claims to have seen Shadie Elnashai, then vice president of Cinefamily’s board, drunkenly wrap his arms around a female employee who was working the concession stand. Morris says he watched Elnashai ‘putting his hands on this person and then putting his hands off, taking a step back, and then laughing and doing it again’ — even after she told him to stop.”

And that wasn’t the first time Morris witnessed Elnashai behaving this way. He saw him “touch a young female employee in a way that seemed inappropriate” 10 months prior, in October 2015. He observed “Elnashai drunkenly wrap his arms around an employee, Melanie Ghaffari, during a Cinefamily Halloween party that was open to the public.” “He put his hands on this person’s waist and then they pushed him away,” Morris recalled. “Then he came up again and slid his hands a little bit further up and then [they] pushed him away.”

“Morris is not the only employee to claim that women were treated inappropriately at Cinefamily, but he is one of the few who complained to management in writing,” La Weekly writes. “On Sept. 5, 2016, less than a month after he witnessed the second incident, Morris sent a complaint to Cinefamily’s executive managing director, Trevor Jones, alleging that employees had been inappropriately touched and describing the work environment as a ‘thriving rape culture.’”

Cinefamily’s founder, Belove, likely had more than a little to do with fostering this environment. “According to former volunteer coordinator Jenny Ryan, Belove told her she ‘needed to be hiring cute young girls that he would want to fuck’ and that he ‘would grumble if I hired someone that he found unattractive,’” La Weekly writes. “Former director of operations Nedjelko Spaich says Belove instructed him to fire employees who were not attractive enough. Longtime volunteer Karina Chacham claims to have witnessed Belove receiving oral sex from a Cinefamily volunteer. Former director of development Tina Poppy sued Belove and Cinefamily in 2014 for gender discrimination, sexual harassment, assault, and battery, among other complaints. And two former employees — Hayley Pogue and Mario Muñoz — claim they too were physically assaulted by Belove.”

The Faraci and Cinefamily situations are particularly visible blights on the film community, but they are not the only ones. Sometimes misogyny is super explicit and visible, but oftentimes bro culture is insidious. And some of the men who perpetuate it pretend to be progressive and get away with treating women unacceptably. If you needed a brutal, disheartening reminder of this fact, this week served to do just that. The upside is that there are men like William Morris standing up for women and the clear public outcry is making it impossible for Cinefamily and Alamo Drafthouse to sweep these scandals under the rug. There are many people talking and watching that we won’t be silenced.

Horrible Misogyny in the Film World Is Surfacing, But Are We Really Surprised? was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Cinefamily Suspends All Activities Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Cinefamily Suspends All Activities Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Los Angeles independent film venue Cinefamily will “temporarily suspend” all activities, following allegations of sexual harassment that led to two high profile exits from the organization.

The suspension is intended to “allow for the investigation and necessary restructure of management and the board,” according to an announcement, which was written in a letter and posted to social media and the Cinefamily website.

Related

Brie Larson Speaks Out on ‘Upsetting’ Cinefamily Sexual Harassment Allegations

“Recently, claims were made alleging improper behavior by one of more members of the organization,” the release reads. “The Board of Directors of The Cinefamily has no tolerance for any form of behavior that does not conform to the high standards demanded by our members and staff and that of common human decency.”

The news comes after an anonymous email was sent to many Cinefamily members on Monday, citing a 2014 harassment case against Cinefamily co-founder and executive director Hadrian Belove that ended in a
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cinefamily Suspends All Activities Following Sexual Harassment Allegations

Following the resignations of executive director Hadrian Belove and board member and Shadie Elnashai, Cinefamily has closed, temporarily suspending “all Cinefamily activities in order to allow for the investigation and necessary restructure of management and the board.”

The Cinefamily board asked for the resignations last week after an anonymous email circulated claiming that Belove “has been accused of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse by former employees and volunteers” and accused Elnashai of “raping multiple women, all verbally threatened and scared into silence after the assaults.”

Read More:Hadrian Belove Resigns From Cinefamily After Anonymous Email Alleges Sexual Harassment

The Cinefamily announcement, which is posted prominently on its site and social media, also said it has “engaged an independent third party, Giles Miller at Lynx Insights & Investigations, to conduct a thorough investigation into any alleged impropriety.”

The letter, which is signed by “The Board of The Cinefamily,“ added: “We want to
See full article at Indiewire »

Brie Larson Speaks Out on ‘Upsetting’ Cinefamily Sexual Harassment Allegations

Brie Larson Speaks Out on ‘Upsetting’ Cinefamily Sexual Harassment Allegations
After two top employees of Los Angeles independent film venue the Cinefamily resigned on Tuesday, actress Brie Larson posted a response to allegations of sexual harassment that led to their departure.

Larson co-founded the Women of Cinefamily support group with Tina Poppy and Alia Penner. Poppy previously left the organization, and both Larson and Penner intend to step aside from their involvement with the group in the future, according to Indiewire.

Cinefamily co-founder and executive director Hadrian Belove and Shadie Elnashai, vice president of the board of directors, stepped down “in light of recent events,” a Cinefamily statement read.

pic.twitter.com/VMfrvF3th0

— The Cinefamily (@cinefamily) August 23, 2017

The recent events referred to an anonymous email that was sent to many Cinefamily members on Monday, citing a 2014 harassment case against Belove that ended in a settlement, as well as implicating Elnashai.

Larson spoke out on Twitter, saying “The allegations at Cinefamily are upsetting to me personally, both
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Brie Larson, Women of Cinefamily Co-Founder, Calls for ‘Further Action’ on Sexual Harassment Charges

Brie Larson, Women of Cinefamily Co-Founder, Calls for ‘Further Action’ on Sexual Harassment Charges
In the wake of sexual harassment allegations against staffers at Los Angeles independent theater Cinefamily, actress Brie Larson has commented on the dramatic events at the institution where she co-founded the Women of Cinefamily collective.

Larson and Tina Poppy co-founded the Women of Cinefamily group in 2014. After Poppy left Cinefamily, Alia Penner took the role of co-founder. A source close to both Larson and Penner said that they were planning to step back from involvement with the organization for the foreseeable future.

“The allegations at Cinefamily are upsetting to me personally, both as an advocate for sexual assault survivors and a member of the community,” Larson said, in a statement posted to her Twitter feed. “Firstly, I would like to thank the brave survivors who spoke up — I believe you. The responsibility of handling allegations of this nature should never fall on the assaulted. Cinefamily prides itself on being a
See full article at Indiewire »

As Joss Whedon and Others Are Confronted By Their Treatment Of Women, Fandom Is Evolving to Listen

  • Indiewire
As Joss Whedon and Others Are Confronted By Their Treatment Of Women, Fandom Is Evolving to Listen
As stories of sexual abuse and assault by well-known men grow more commonplace, a refrain has emerged, one that might sound like a plea: Listen to women. Believe women. Even when they speak out against someone that might be considered a genius or hero, don’t ignore their stories.

This week, “listen to women” became a roar. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon’s ex-wife Kai Cole wrote frankly from her perspective about Whedon being a “fake feminist” and the years he allegedly spent cheating on her. Tig Notaro, in promoting the new season of her Amazon series “One Mississippi,” spoke out regarding sexual harrassment allegations made against Louis C.K.,who also serves as the show’s executive producer.

And after an anonymous letter went to hundreds of people in the indie film industry, accusing those who run Los Angeles-based nonprofit film society Cinefamily of enabling an atmosphere of
See full article at Indiewire »

Hadrian Belove Resigns From Cinefamily After Anonymous Email Alleges Sexual Harassment

  • Indiewire
Hadrian Belove has resigned as executive director of Cinefamily, the independent Los Angeles-based theater he co-founded in 2007, after an anonymous email circulated this week detailing sexual harassment allegations against him and the Cinefamily board.

The anonymous email, which went to hundreds of members of the independent film community and the media, said Belove “has been accused of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse by former employees and volunteers. It is a deep seated behavior pattern that many in the community are already aware of.”

The email included excerpts from a 2014 lawsuit filed against Belove and Cinefamily by a former employee that cited sexual harassment as well as work-rule violations. That case was settled out of court.

In addition to Belove, the Cinefamily board accepted the resignation of board vice president Shadie Elnashai, whom the email accused of “raping multiple women, all verbally threatened and scared into silence after the assaults.”

Cinefamily
See full article at Indiewire »

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