AFI FEST 2020 REVIEW! The documentary team of Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering has been producing well-crafted, award-winning, and groundbreaking investigative documentaries for many years. Their films connect audiences to new voices and show an inherent understanding of the human condition and experience. Their previous collaboration, The Invisible War, exposed the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military and directly led to five congressional hearings and the passing of 35 reforms through Congress.
Then they helmed The Hunting Ground, which looked at sexual assault on college campuses, ignited a national discussion, and led to policy changes at hundreds of colleges and universities. It even earned an Oscar nomination for Lady Gaga’s song, “Til It Happens to You.” The Bleeding Edge, the duo’s last documentary, examines the medical-device industry’s corruption and has also led to change in the form of industry regulation and patient safety. It also garnered the team a prestigious George Polk Award for excellence in journalism. The social impact for change Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering continue to support has no boundaries, and this is especially true of their latest project. On the Record supports women of color who continue to rise in their roles as leaders and need to be recognized and respected.
“…follows music executive Drew Dixon as she and two very dynamic women make the courageous decision to go on the record about their sexual assault experiences…at the hands of…Russell Simmons.”
On the Record has already been the subject of controversy and news due to the withdrawal of Oprah Winfrey as one of its executive producers and its AppleTV distribution deal. Winfrey, more or less, expressed the film was not finished. Regardless of the controversy, the investigative prowess of these filmmakers continues to be at the fundamental existence on the importance of documentary film—past, present, and future.
On the Record, which was named just a few days before its premiere, follows music executive Drew Dixon as she and two very dynamic women make the courageous decision to go on the record about their sexual assault experiences. Their horrific trauma all came at the hands of Def Jam founder, fashion entrepreneur, and music and entertainment mogul Russell Simmons. Simmons’s fall from grace and his empire came close on the heels of Harvey Weinstein’s plummet, along with many others.
As a talented music executive on the rise, Drew Dixon loved her job and what she could do for artists. She was a friend of Biggie Smalls and produced hit records with 2Pac, Method Man, and Mary J. Blige. As she describes her experience, as do others in the film, it becomes very apparent that Simmons had a specific type. The way in which Dixon describes her first day of work and how Def Jam’s Lyor Cohen spoke to her in graphic and demeaning terms about how Simmons operates and how she fit the bill. Dixon realized she had no way out as she had already been targeted.
"…connect audiences to new voices and show an inherent understanding of the human condition and experience."