Film Series Statement on The Holy Mountain

The Following Statement comes from the 2015-2016 Wesleyan Film Board:

After releasing this quarter’s calendar, members of the Film Board learned that Alejandro Jodorowosky, the director of The Holy Mountain (to be shown on Thursday, April 20), has openly claimed to have sexually assaulted a cast-member while working on his previous film El Topo. While these accounts are not recent, none of the members of the Film Board were aware of Jodorowsky’s past comments until after the calendar’s release.

First and foremost, we sincerely apologize for programming this film into the calendar; had we known of Jodorowosky’s statements, which can be easily found online, we would not have suggested its screening. Upon learning this information, we looked into possible alternative films to screen that night and discovered that replacing or cancelling the screening of The Holy Mountain would be impossible. The film’s distributor, which is not one of our regular vendors, has a formal booking process for 35mm films, which involves signing booking contracts in advance and pre-paying for the booking. Due to those contractual obligations, we were unable to cancel Holy Mountain. Furthermore, we neither had sufficient time nor funds to book an alternative screening for April 20.

The Film Board aims to bring to campus movies that will provide education and entertainment, but we also have a responsibility to program films by directors whose voices are worth championing. As a part of this duty, we must strive to showcase filmmakers who we can look up to, not those that perpetuate abuse. We can and must do better.

In the future, the Board pledges to prioritize research into the films and directors that we consider for screenings. We must be extremely mindful of the histories of the Jodorowoskys, Polanskis, and Allens of the world, and it is our responsibility to be aware of what we are endorsing, implicitly or explicitly, by screening any particular film. Additionally, several Board members will not be attending the screening of Holy Mountain in order to acknowledge our missteps in this booking. We recognize that this is only a starting point, and we welcome further feedback from the Wesleyan community as to how to handle situations like this in the future.

We again apologize for booking Holy Mountain, and we hope that you enjoy the remaining films on the calendar for this semester.