Harvey Weinstein is 'definitely not the only one', says female Australian filmmaker

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Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of the Weinstein Company, kicks off the Film Finance Circle conference with an informal discussion at the inaugural Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, October 15, 2007. Reuters/Steve Crisp

There are "heavy hitters" in the Australian film industry who use their power to access girls. This is according to filmmaker Sophie Mathisen.

Mathisen told News Breakfast that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is a bigger structure, but he is not the only one. "We have some fairly heavy-hitters in the industry that definitely see people like myself and definitely my peers who really want access to a system, and they think they can leverage that for whatever they want,” she said.

Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment and rape by women. Legal experts said he could face five to 25 years in prison on sexual assault, The Guardian reports.

Previously, Mathisen has slammed male dominance in the film industry. She had arrived at the AACTA Awards in sausage costumes and chanted "end the sausage party.”

Australian actor Pia Miranda also shared her experience in the industry, saying there were differences between the Australian film industry and Hollywood. "The industry is quite small, so people tend to get weeded out quite quickly if they're behaving badly or something untoward is going on. I mean, that's my experience," she said, according to ABC News.

Miranda said she thinks there is so much more money and power in America, adding that someone like Weinstein has much of these. On the other hand, she believes there is more of a community feel here, which she thinks “holds us in good stead.”

Miranda's experience is something that Mathisen accepts, but the latter pointed out bigger issues at play, which include representation of women. Mathisen pointed out the question of gate-keeping. She recalled her first feature drama, when she worked with a 50 percent female crew. The men, she said, were so surprised seeing her crew and herself in positions of power on set.

In the Australian feature film business over the past five financial years, women made up 34 percent of producers, 15 percent of directors and 22 percent of writers, according to a recent Screen Australia data.

Screen Australia takes action to address gender representation by allocating $5 million to its Gender Matters program. It is an initiative that seeks to have half of all production funding go to projects with creative teams that are at least 50 percent female. It also declared a 17-person Gender Matters Taskforce to guide this process.

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