In an editorial entitled ‘Brazilian Curator of International Film Festivals Accused of Sexual Abuse by 16 Women’ published by The Intercept Brasil on Friday 24 August 2020, investigative journalists Nayara Felizardo and Schirlei Alves report on several allegations of sexual misconduct and conflicts of interest that involve producer-curator Gustavo Beck.
We would like to take this opportunity to emphasise the importance of investigative journalism in reporting sexual misconduct in the film industry ever since #MeToo. Our sector can only be indebted to this work, and with industry-wide collaboration we can and will aim towards the necessary changes for a safer, healthier and more transparent environment.
Gustavo Beck worked for IFFR as a freelance scout and guest programmer between 2016 and 2020. In May 2020, when accusations of sexual misconduct were first brought to our attention directly, IFFR took a series of steps eventually resulting in a break from any further collaboration with Beck. While details of the events were being disputed, it ultimately became clear that continuing our collaboration with Beck would not support our core values as a cultural organisation and a platform for openness, respect and love for cinema.
However, IFFR is also singled out as the allegations against Gustavo Beck extend beyond sexual misconduct to several instances of conflict of interest. We have therefore been confronted with our own participation in a deeply rooted problem within our industry. IFFR takes responsibility for this and sees it as an opportunity to reflect. We became aware that, in the small world of cinema, avoiding potential conflicts of interest needs even closer and more continuous attention and deliberation. We understand there is much to be done and are committed to being better. To date, we have taken the following steps:
- We have updated our Code of Conduct with a sharper focus towards sexual misconduct in June 2018.
- We partnered with mores.online, an anonymous online reporting platform for the Dutch creative industry in June 2018.
- Our team participates in training sessions around unconscious bias, which immediately contributes to our hiring practices.
- Earlier this year, and in preparation for our 2021 edition of the festival, a new programme structure was implemented and on 8 July 2020, our full programming team was announced. The new structure allows for a more dynamic and transparent film-selection process.
- We are creating a Fair Practice policy to be announced early 2021. This will address gender and diversity balances, operational transparency and issues of conflict of interest.
- We are starting an internal investigation to review and correct the circumstances that would have allowed any conflicts of interest and we commit to take appropriate action based on its findings.
IFFR is committed to addressing any misconduct immediately and closely monitoring selection procedures and staff appointments in order to remain the cinematic safe haven we wish to be for everyone, professionals and visitors alike.
Photo in header: Flags at the Erasmusbridge (mirrored) © melanie samat