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The Assistant director Kitty Green on Sunday called for men to no longer dominate the media and film industry narrative around the #MeToo movement.
“We really need to center women in these narratives. The focus doesn’t need to be on the bad men anymore. Let’s talk about women and the issues we’re facing,” Green told a Berlin Film Festival press conference while promoting the European premiere of her Harvey Weinstein-inspired film.
As the media focuses on Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and other alleged sexual predators in the #MeToo era, Green’s The Assistant focuses on the experience of women in toxic workplaces. The Bleecker Street release deliberately follows Jane, played by Julia Garner, a recent college graduate who lands her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul.
As Jane follows her daily routine, she becomes increasingly aware of the abuse that takes place in every aspect of her workday. Green said as she did her research for The Assistant and spoke to around 100 women, many of whom worked in the film industry, she noticed the stories of sexual assault survivors sharing their experiences of toxic workplace environments was rarely seen or heard in media accounts.
“I was looking at all of the #MeToo coverage and it seemed to focus on the predators, on the men, and I was little upset on not focusing on how we can get more women into positions of power. I was looking to do something that examined more cultural, systemic problems,” she explained.
After debuting at Telluride last year and playing other festivals, The Assistant hit theaters Jan. 31, and arrives in Berlin just as the Harvey Weinstein trial in New York City heads toward a verdict amid jury deliberations. “I really just hope the survivors get the legal justice they deserve. We’ll see what happens,” Green said.
And despite releasing a movie of the moment, Green said financing The Assistant was difficult as it doesn’t flatter the film industry with its understated portrayal of toxic workplaces. “They always say Hollywood likes films about itself. This one wasn’t the one,” she said.
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