Lion producer Angie Fielder on the shock of sexual harassment revelations

Lion producer Angie Fielder chose precisely the right moment to speak out about sexual harassment and assault in the film industry.

The inspiring drama had just won best film at the seventh Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards - completing a sweep of 12 awards from 12 nominations.

The elephant in the room was Lion's connection to disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, who had helped get the film made then championed it to six Oscar nominations this year. News of his predatory behaviour triggered the wave of revelations that have swept up other well-known film and television identities.

Four days before the awards, Geoffrey Rush stood down as president of the Academy after an allegation of "inappropriate conduct" which he denied while working for Sydney Theatre Company.

"As a film that was partly financed by the Weinstein Company, it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the incredible bravery of the women and men who have come forward to break the silence about sexual harassment and assault in our industry," Fielder said on stage.

"It's really encouraging to see the industry taking a stand so let's keep talking about it. That's how we make real change."

Fielder's speech - the most direct comment on the sexual harassment tsunami during the awards - drew resounding applause.

After the ceremony, the rising young producer, who also had the intense hostage drama Berlin Syndrome up for best film at the awards, said her personal experience with Weinstein had been "nothing but professional" on Lion.

"In the wake of the allegations against him and allegations against other men in positions of power in the industry, it's been very shocking for me to realise that almost every woman that I know has at some point in her life or career had to deal with sexual assault or harassment," Fielder said.

"That was quite a revelation for me."

She produced Lion with Emile Sherman, who has previously said it had been distressing to learn about Weinstein's behaviour.

"We knew he was relentless in all his activities and relentless on behalf of movies, campaigning for them, and relentless in his working style," Sherman said. "But to learn how it was applied to young women was very distressing."

Fielder was hopeful there would be change in the industry.

"I feel very grateful to the people who have come out with their stories and it does feel like it's actually making a difference this time," she said.

"Men are being stood down from their positions of power and, as Emile said, our industry does seem to be setting the tone. And we have to because we're in the public eye."

While conceding she was not fully informed on the allegations against Rush, Fielder said it was "the nature of the beast" that there was going to be trial by media.

"I think it's really important that we listen to everybody involved," she said. "It's a really complicated issue but the fact we're actually having the discussion is a huge leap forward."

This story Lion producer Angie Fielder on the shock of sexual harassment revelations first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.