Berlin Film School Fires Director for ‘Mooning’ Film Student

The German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB), one of Germany’s most prestigious film schools, has sacked its British director, Ben Gibson, following an incident during the Berlin Film Festival in which he exposed his backside to a female student during a heated argument.

The academy’s board of trustees on Friday voted to dismiss Gibson, a veteran film producer, with immediate effect. The DFFB’s administrative manager, Sandra Braun, will head the academy until further notice.

Gibson, whose credits include the 1998 Daniel Craig starrer “Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon,” by John Maybury, and Lech Majewski’s 2004 “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” reportedly dropped his pants in anger during an argument with the student at the DFFB facilities, located in the Sony Center at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, on Feb. 21. The incident occurred during preparations for a party hosted by film equipment company ARRI on the second day of the Berlin Film Festival.

In an email to DFFB students cited by Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Gibson wrote that he had allowed himself to be provoked and then “exposed” himself.

He described his behavior as a “serious mistake” and apologized for the incident, the paper reported, citing his email.

Before taking on the DFFB gig in 2016, Gibson worked at the Australian National Film School from 2014 to 2016 and served as director of the London Film School from 2001 to 2014.

He also produced such works as Terrence Davies’ 1992 gay classic “The Long Day Closes,” Derek Jarman’s 1993’s “Wittgenstein,” Carine Adler’s 1997 “Under the Skin” and Jasmin Dizdar’s 1999 “Beautiful People.”

The DFFB’s board of trustees, whose members include Chairman Christian Gaebler, head of Berlin’s Senate Chancellery, Vice Chairman Eberhard Junkersdorf of Bioskop Film and Kirsten Niehuus, head of regional funder Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, is to meet soon to consider its next course of action.

The board’s members also include Claudia Tronnier of ZDF’s Das kleine Fernsehspiel film division, producer Regina Ziegler of Ziegler Film, Detailfilm’s Fabian Gasmia, regional pubcaster RBB’s Martina Zöllner and Iris Brockmann of the Berlin Senate Department of Finance.

Popular on Variety