“Corsage” will continue to be Austria’s official submission in the International Feature Film Oscar category, despite the charges against one of its cast members, Austrian actor Florian Teichtmeister, who was charged with possession of child pornography. Meanwhile, the film’s producers and its director-writer have released a statement on what they knew and when.
Film & Music Austria (FAMA), the professional body in charge of all Oscar-related matters in the country, has decided to stick with the film. In a statement, the organization’s chairman, Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, says FAMA “condemns the pedo-criminal actions of the actor Florian Teichtmeister,” but adds: “Teichtmeister is not ‘Corsage,’ and this individual must be strictly separated from the outstanding artistic achievements of the director, Marie Kreutzer, and the team.”
More from Variety
He concludes: “With this in mind, Film & Music Austria, in consultation with the director and producers of the film, has decided that ‘Corsage’ shall remain nominated as the Austrian submission to the 95th Academy Awards.”
Others in the Austrian film and TV industry have moved quickly to distance themselves from Teichtmeister. Austria’s state broadcaster ORF, which co-financed “Corsage,” has announced it will not broadcast any series or film in which Teichtmeister appears, and the Cineplexx movie theater chain has canceled forthcoming screenings of “Corsage” in Austria. Vienna’s Burgtheater, Austria’s national theater, has terminated the actor’s contract with immediate effect.
Teichtmeister’s lawyer Michael Rami said the actor intended to plead guilty to the charges, which relate to the possession of 58,000 pornographic images of children. Teichtmeister is due to appear in court on Feb. 8. He faces up to two years in prison.
Film AG, the Vienna-based film production company behind “Corsage,” has released a statement from the film’s producers, Alexander Glehr and Johanna Scherz, and its director-writer, Marie Kreutzer.
It states: “Since shooting ended in July 2021, Florian Teichtmeister has had no employment relationship with us. Nevertheless, we would have expected him to have informed us the moment the police investigation into the allegations commenced. The opposite was the case: after rumors surfaced following the wrap on filming in autumn 2021, Florian Teichtmeister, in response to explicit enquiry about these rumors, convincingly assured us (and others) of their falsity.”
The statement says they learned of the charges via media reports on Friday.
It adds: “We have, in the meanwhile, informed our co-producers, national and international distribution partners, financiers and sponsors, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in as much detail as possible about the publicly available facts on Florian Teichtmeister, and will continue to do so.
“We do not wish that the serious misconduct of one actor destroys the incredible performance of the entire cast and crew of the film. But no matter what happens now with the film: the love and recognition ‘Corsage’ has received cannot be taken away.”
In the statement, Kreutzer says: “I am sad and angry that a feminist film that more than 300 people from all over Europe worked on for years may be tarnished and damaged by the horrific actions of one person. But I am even sadder and angrier at the extent to which videos and photos of sexual violence against children are produced, distributed and consumed. We cannot see into the depths of our fellow humans. This case brutally brings to light how powerless we are in face of such a horrific topic and how urgently stronger political, law enforcement, but also psychotherapeutic measures are required.”
The film’s U.S. distributor, IFC Films, said in a statement obtained by Variety: “We have just been made aware of the charges against Florian Teichtmeister, and are deeply shocked and appalled,” adding “we will not let the actions by one supporting actor minimize or invalidate the incredible work and achievements of the entire cast and crew of ‘Corsage.’”
Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously reported that Teichtmeister had been arrested. He has not.
Best of Variety