Sundance works to make film festival safer amid Hollywood sex scandal

Feature films across all categories that will be screened at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
Feature films across all categories that will be screened at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sundance Film Festival organisers say they are working with law enforcement to make the annual independent film showcase in January a safer place in the wake of sexual harassment accusations sweeping Hollywood.

"Sundance is really the first grand community gathering after all this has hit. So we're looking for ways to form a community around it...and making it very safe - not only a safe place to do your work but a safe place to talk about these issues," festival director John Cooper told Reuters.

"We've always worked closely with local law enforcement and also the security in hotels. We're upping the game on code of conduct. We've always had a code of conduct for our staff and volunteers (and) we're presenting that broadly to the whole community," he added.

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, formerly a major force in independent films and at Sundance, has been accused by more than 80 women of sexual harassment or assault over the past three decades.

Some of the accusations against him involve incidents said to have taken place at the 10-day Sundance festival in Park City, Utah.

He has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. Several actors, film-makers and agents have stepped down in the past two months following sexual misconduct allegations levelled against them.

Cooper said Weinstein, who was fired as chief executive of his award-winning Weinstein Company in October, has not applied for credentials to Sundance this year.

Sundance Film Festival, organised by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, unveiled its 2018 line-up of movies and documentaries on Wednesday, many featuring female leads.

They include Eighth Grade, a coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old girl, The Kindergarten Teacher starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as a teacher helping a young prodigy, and The Tale starring Laura Dern as a woman examining her sexual history.

Other films profile actress and activist Jane Fonda, United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and Yazidi ISIS survivor Nadia Murad.