UPDATED 9:30AM: Austria’s Viennale has also confirmed that it will stop working with curator Gustavo Beck after serious allegations about his conduct were published in Brazilian media. “As I have informed Gustavo Beck, the Viennale will not invite him to professional collaboration under these circumstances,” festival director Eva Sangiorgi wrote on Facebook.
PREVIOUSLY, 4:30AM: The International Film Festival Rotterdam and Portugal’s IndieLisboa Film Festival have both severed ties with contributing programmer Gustavo Beck after sexual abuse allegations surfaced in his native Brazil.
In a lengthy investigative article published by The Intercept Brazil, 18 women accused the curator of various instances of misconduct, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, abuse of power, and rape. In response, Beck has “unconditionally” denied all of the allegations. You can read the original article, translated into English, here.
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The Intercept journalists Nayara Felizardo and Schirlei Alves gathered accounts from the accusers after an initial public Facebook post was published back in May by Cat de Almeida, who said that she was assaulted by Beck after a party at the Bafici film festival in 2017, which she was attending as a producer.
A second allegation came from Denise Fait, who said she was working as a production assistant at the Brazilian film festival Olhar de Cinema in 2015 when she encountered Beck. An initial consensual sexual encounter, which Fait said took place when she was heavily inebriated, became “unnecessarily savage”, according to her recount.
Numerous further allegations, given to The Intercept on the condition of anonymity, recount serious instances of harassment and violence. The reporters spoke to a public prosecutor in Sao Paulo, Brazil, who confirmed that seven of the cases could constitute rape or attempted rape.
Beck has been a contributing programmer for various film festivals and has also worked as a filmmaker, producing pics including Leonardo Mouramateus’s Antonio One Two Three, which debuted at Rotterdam in 2017, and co-directing the documentary Chantal Akerman, From Here, about the renowned Belgium filmmaker.
Deadline contacted festivals linked to Beck, with Rotterdam and IndieLisboa both confirming they would no longer be working with the programmer. A spokesperson for IndieLisboa said the event had finished any collaborations with Beck on June 22 after seeing an early copy of the article.
Rotterdam, where Beck worked on a freelance basis between 2016 and 2020, said it had first heard of the accusations in May and had since taken steps to cut ties with the programmer.
“While details of the events have been disputed and legal action is still pending, it became clear that continuing our collaboration with Beck would harm our core values as a cultural organisation and a platform for openness, respect and love for cinema,” the org said in a statement.
A Rotterdam spokesperson also noted that the article contains further allegations of conflict of interest, with Beck allegedly having used his influence at festivals to program films he was personally involved in into favorable slots. The festival said it was responding to this by conducting an internal investigation and creating a ‘Fair Practice’ policy to be announced in 2021 that wold address various concerns.
Beck had also contributed articles to streaming service MUBI’s publication Notebook. Contacted by Deadline, MUBI said, “[Beck’s] last submission was published in September 2019 and there are currently no plans for future contributions”.
In response to the allegations, Beck gave the following statement to The Intercept: “I unconditionally deny all the accusations and the only two situations that are described on the record, I can say that it frightens and saddens me how people can freely re-evaluate their subjectivities, imposing these criminal accusations years later.”
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