German film festival Film Fest Hamburg has canceled its plan to award the Douglas Circus Prize to Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, after allegations of indecent acts and child exploitation against him and his film “Sparta”.

However, the festival has decided to continue with its plan to showcase “Sparta,” explained a statement released Tuesday by festival director Albert Weiderspel and program director Catherine Colstead.

The statement read: “The accusations against the production about working conditions while directing the film came after our work [festival program] It was already in print.

We have included the movie in the program because of its outstanding quality. It’s a very sensitive film on a particularly difficult and taboo topic. The charges against Ulrich Seidl are directed against the circumstances during the filming and not explicitly against his film.

“So we decided to leave the movie on the show.”

“In connection with the Douglas Circus Award, we have decided not to award the award as the current allegations against the production will overshadow the award ceremony,” the statement added.

The Toronto Film Festival decided, on Friday, to withdraw the film from its program due to the allegations published on September 2 in the German news magazine “Der Spiegel”.

Investigation Seidl allegedly did not convey the film’s subject of child sexual abuse to his young actors, who are between 9 and 16 years old and not from professional backgrounds. It is also alleged that the actors encountered alcoholism, nudity, and violence during production without adequate preparation or support.

Der Spiegel said its reporters spent more than six months investigating the production of “Sparta” in Germany, Austria and Romania, and spoke to dozens of crew members, including some actors.

Seidl’s lawyer told Der Spiegel newspaper that there was no sexual context or child pornography in the film. They also denied that “any child is photographed naked, in a sexual position or in context.”

in A statement addressing the allegations published on its official websiteBased on a true story, Seidl wrote, it follows an Austrian man in his forties who moves to a remote part of the country to start a new life, and with a group of young boys from the area, he transforms a ruined school into a fortress. However, in the process, the man is forced to “confront a long-repressed reality, a fact that neither the boys nor the outside world suspects. From the inside he secretly struggles against his own sexual impulses toward children,” Seidl writes.

Commenting on the allegations, the director wrote: “My films are not the products of my manipulation of my actors, or of the film’s misrepresentation of them, let alone their abuse. On the contrary: without the trust we build over weeks and months together, the long filming periods my films require would be impossible. I I have great respect for all the actors and will never make a decision that could in any way jeopardize their physical and psychological safety.”

The film will also be shown in competition at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

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