Suffocating the Film Industry…Britain tweeks film censorship law to increase red tape and censorship costs for its local industry

Posted: 19 March, 2014 in BBC, VRA Video Recordings Act
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Read more UK Government Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from moviemail.com

UK Government armsThese are good times for British film fans. The UK is lucky to have some of the best DVD labels in the world ( Arrow , the BFI , Masters of Cinema , Odeon , Second Run , Second Sight , Nucleus…) producing essential releases of that cater for every taste.But this golden age could be coming to an end, courtesy of some well-meaning government legislation. From May, the way home video material is classified is changing: material that is currently exempt from classification will have to be vetted by the BBFC.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) decided that the best way to stem the tide of tabloid claims of pop video filth is to tighten up BBFC ratings. And they came up with some new and expensive regulations.

The main change is that any documentary material that contains clips of things that might be considered unsuitable for children will no longer be exempt from classification. So any DVD extra (an interview, for example) that contains a clip from the main feature will have to be scrutinised again. A single use of the word ‘fuck’ is enough to put the work in 12 rated territory and hence need expensive vetting by the BBFC.

A 90 minute film on DVD/Blu-ray will set you back £ 615 plus VAT, according to the fee calculator on their website. No big deal to the major labels but potentially calamitous for the knife-edge economics of the independent sector. It was Marc Morris, of Nucleus Films who first sounded the alarm about these changes and he offers a case study of the impact they’ll have on industry.

The documentary Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide proved a big hit, but parts of the material, particularly the framing documentary were exempt from classification. Morris estimates it would cost between £ 6,000- £ 7000 more had the documentary been made after the new law comes in.

Alan Byron, MD of Odeon Entertainment notes:

The economics behind collector’s releases will now dictate that extra features are reduced and more vanilla editions will appear.

It goes without saying that all this was pushed through without consulting any of the labels it affects — and there’s been virtually no communication from either the DCMS or BBFC to explain that the changes were even happening

Francesco Simeoni of Arrow Films concurs:

The new legislation has serious implications for niche labels, says . Our audience is very much on an international level and so we must compete with territories that do not have to contend with such costs. Whether we choose to include content for our releases has a whole new set of financial considerations which means we are at a significant disadvantage to our competitors.

…Read the full article

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