Friday, February 11, 2011


Harvey Weinstein at TIFF 2010
Montreal-born Director Barry Avrich took on the daunting task of making a Documentary about one of the most-feared men in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein.  Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project is a revealing look at the Underdog Movie Mogul's rise to Fame from his humble beginnings in New York. We learn that Weinstein got his beginnings as a Concert Promoter in Buffalo, before creating Indie Flick Mecca Miramax along with his much shyer older Brother Bob

The Documentary details his aggressive Oscar campaigning tactics to Miramax's highly-publicized fallout with Parent Company Disney.  Briefly it touches upon the Brothers' resurgence once again with The Weinstein Co., which now is leading the Oscars race for Best Picture with The King's Speech.  We see their legacy as visionaries with impeccable taste, revolutionizing the sending of DVD-Screeners to Academy Voters because they know well that every vote counts when it comes to the Oscars.

The Film combines archived footage and interviews with an array of Industry Insiders, namely now-deceased Director George Hickenlooper, TIFF's Piers Handling, Variety Editor Tim Gray, the legendary Martin Scorcese and many more. All offer their insights on Harvey Weinstein - with some recounting volatile encounters with him in his relentless drive for control and perfection. Former President of Production for Miramax, Meryl Poster, feels that reports of Drama might be exaggerated.  There is talk actually of Poster returning possibly to work for The Weinstein Co.

Although I found Unauthorized: The Weinstein Project a fascinating watch based on its controversial subject, I felt it still could have delved a little deeper into Weinstein's psyche in helping us understand that voracious appetite of his for success.  At points I felt much of the Film became a bit of an assault on him, possibly a response to his unwillingness to co-operate with Avrich on the Project.  Nonetheless, I do not doubt that many of the horrible things spoken of him in the Film are in fact, true.  

My dear friend Shinan Govani, Society Columnist for The National Post, co-hosted tonight's Screening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox along with Edward Greenspan, a Lawyer.  Greenspan had revealed to the Audience some famous words of Harvey Weinstein: "You're never gonna fucking work for me again".  These of course are the words he muttered after having learned of Avrich's intentions to make this Documentary.  They apparently had worked together for over a decade prior.

At the end of the day, there has to be some driving force that makes Harvey Weinstein so irresistible to many and I am not certain I walked away from this Film with a full understanding of that Magnetism.  I mean, surely Madonna, Heidi and Gwyneth can't be that wrong - they look like they adore him to pieces in the footage seen here. Nonetheless, I was entertained and maybe even finding myself with a bit of a crush on Harvey Weinstein now.  Daddy Issues?

Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project premieres on HBO Canada Monday, February 21, 2011 at 9 PM EST.

Look below for some more Photos from tonight's Premiere:
Barry Avrich
Edward Greenspan
Shinan Govani

(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)

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