“I think it’s hard to let go of aligning with your hero,” admits Kirby Dick, the co-director of the docuseries “Allen vs. Farrow.” The HBO project takes a revealing look at the allegations that legendary director Woody Allen sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow, as well as the media firestorm that surrounded Allen, Dylan, as well as Dylan’s mother Mia Farrow. The series, co-directed by Amy Ziering, also explores the case’s impact on family law and the responsibility the media plays in protecting powerful people from prosecution. Check out our exclusive video interview with Dick and Ziering above.
The debate over Allen’s guilt has long divided those in the entertainment industry. However, Dick argues that the search for the truth outweighed any concern about potential upset within the industry. “When you tell a story, when you give the full perspective on that, you can expect some sort of backlash,” he argues. “So we were prepared for that, but we made the decision that it was most important for us to get out the truth and we would just stand by the truth.” Ziering adds that the response has been mostly gratifying. “That finally Mia and Dylan were getting the public support that had been absent for so long and that the series succeeded in doing that– and changing hearts and minds– was incredible,” she exclaims.
For both directors, however, the case and the film are about more than just accusations of incest against a famous director. “It’s about much, much bigger things,” Ziering argues. “It’s about how we as the public absorb information and about the the media’s complicity at times and covering up crimes for various reasons,” she says. “It’s about celebrity impunity.”
Both Ziering and Dick hope that the film elicits changes in the legal and mental health systems so that survivors of abuse can have their voices heard and be protected from their abusers. Ziering notes how Allen’s defense strategy set a kind of precedent in subsequent child abuse cases. “That became the playbook for defendants time and time again in family courts,” she explains. “It ended up sending children back to their abusers.” However, Dick argues that the film has already helped in effecting change. “The series is being used in state legislatures and to support the passage of bills that create a fair environment for incest survivors to be heard and protect them more,” he says.
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