St. Louis Film Festival takes stand against Harvey Weinstein, supports sexual abuse victims

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ST. LOUIS - Cinema St. Louis hopes to send a message against sexual assault and harassment with the film it chose to replace one distributed by The Weinstein Company.

In October, it had announced that it would screen "The Upside," which is being touted as an Oscar contender, at the St. Louis International Film Festival. After Cinema St. Louis learned of the allegations against Weinstein, festival organizers felt they couldn't show the film without first condemning Weinstein's actions.

"When that news broke, we were puzzled as to how we should move forward," said Cliff Froehlich, Executive Director of Cinema St. Louis.

Board members agreed to have a panel discussion after the film about sexual harassment and assault. When The Weinstein Company learned of the plan, it pulled the movie from the film festival.

"We decided to instead play a film that actually addresses in a very direct and compelling way the issues surrounding what took place with Harvey Weinstein," Froehlich said.

The film they chose, "The Light of the Moon," is a powerful story following a woman survivor of rape.

Cinema St. Louis has built an entire program around it, teaming up with sexual violence awareness and support groups like YWCA and Safe Connections. Both groups will lead the discussion following the movie.

Susan Kidder, Executive Director with Safe Connections, said the high-profile scandal offers an opportunity to change a horrible situation into a positive.

"By expanding outreach, expanding awareness, raising people's level of conscious, not only in terms of the entertainment industry, all industries," she said.

They hope the move not only sends a strong message to The Weinstein Company, but will empower people to change the culture.

"The Light of the Moon" shows at the Tivoli Theatre on Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by a panel discussion.

All proceeds from the screening will benefit Safe Connections and the YWCA.​

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