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The opening-night movie of the family-friendly Park City International Film Festival will screen as scheduled, even though the movie's Australian director is facing more than 50 charges of child sexual assault.
Filmmaker Darran Scott, 52, is accused of assaulting 15 boys, ages 11 to 15 at the time, between 1990 and 2015, when he coached two junior football clubs in the suburbs of Melbourne, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday.
Scott is the director and writer of "The Spirit of the Game," which will have its world premiere Wednesday on the opening night of the Park City International Film Festival. It is one of 19 feature-length films screening at Park City's Eccles Theatre during the inaugural festival, which spotlights family-friendly movies.
"The Spirit of the Game" tells the true story of the "Mormon Yankees," basketball-playing LDS missionaries who helped prepare Australia's basketball team for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. Scott has been a prominent member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Herald reported.
The movie stars American actor Kevin Sorbo, best known for his starring role on "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys." Sorbo and his wife, Sam Sorbo, are "celebrity ambassadors" for the Park City event.
Because of the charges, the Sydney paper reported, Scott's passport has been suspended, meaning he will be unable to attend Wednesday's premiere in Park City.
In a statement, organizers of the Park City festival explained the decision to premiere the film.
"'The Spirit of the Game,' like any film, is a collaborative effort of many people," the statement began. "While the allegations about Mr. Scott are disheartening, the film is fantastic and inspiring; we are grateful to have this film open our festival. We are excited to unite a worldwide premiere of a true story with a celebration of the 'Mormon Yankee' legacy brought to the big screen. The festival has located many of the original basketball players from the 1956 team and they will be recognized prior to the screening."
A festival spokeswoman said one of the film's producers told them Scott's case has been put on hold until August 2017. The Australian magistrate has also issued a suppression order, which means media are barred from reporting on the case before or unless there is a trial. (Such orders are legal in Australia, and are often applied to sexual assault cases.)