Archive for the ‘BBFC’ Category

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a northern soul posterThe man behind a new film about Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture has hit out at censors after they gave it it 15 rating.A Northern Soul is Hull-born award-winning documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister’s take on 2017. It follows struggling factory worker Steve Arnott’s dream of bringing hip-hop and rap to the city’s estates in a youth project involving a converted bus.

The film was given a 12A rating by licensing councillors in Hull ahead of a recent series of initial screenings at the University of Hull and Vue cinema.

But now the BBFC has decided it should have a 15 rating for strong language.

While the documentary does feature regular use of the F-word, McAllister said swearing was what ordinary people in Hull did and claimed the decision was an attack on working-class people. On Twitter, he said:

It’s a film about a working-class bloke helping kids with rap music find a better life.

McAllister commented: It’s funny the swearing in The King’s Speech is a lot worse, including the C-word, but that gets a 12A. He also compared the decision to the swearing on many of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey’s TV shows.

More screenings will be held on three evenings next week at Vue as well as later in the month. In response to the BBFC decision, Mr McAllister said all next week’s screenings would be free to children under 15 and over 12ish.

[The censorship of strong language in films is one of the silliest aspects of film censorship. Surely young teams will be well versed in strong language, and they will have heard it all before. Surely it will make no difference if they hear the same at the cinema.

But to be fair to the film censors, strong language is one of the things that parents, maybe especially middle class parents, ask for the censors to cut or restrict.

Should the film BBFC consider the actual effect of young teens hearing strong language on screen, or should they follow the wishes of the parents?.

And there certainly is a class aspect to this. The unspoken underlying reality is that middle class parents simply don’t want their kids speaking like working class kids].

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

21st August 2018. See  article from screendaily.com

Hull City Council has decided that it will not adhere to the BBFC decision to award Sean McAllister’s feature documentary A Northern Soul a 15-certificate. Instead, the council will allow the film to be shown in the city at a 12A rating, granting anyone from the age of 12 upwards the option to view the film, while those under 12 can do so if accompanied by an adult.

The council had originally granted the film a 12A certificate for a short theatrical run in the city prior to its official release (which begins on Friday, August 24), but had informed the filmmakers that it would be implementing the 15 rating for further screenings. This decision has now been reversed, and three further screenings at Vue Hull this week will carry the 12A rating.

Following a hearing, the council said that its Licensing Sub-Committee had determined the film would be classified 12A for showings, at any time, at premises within the Licensing Authority’s area. It gave its reason for the decision as being:

Strong language was only used by the subject of the film to express emotion in interviews with the filmmaker, was never directed at an individual, or used in an aggressive manner

The BBFC’s original certification has caused controversy in the UK since the decision was made on August 11, with many viewing the certificate as not appropriate for a feature doc that spotlights everyday working-class Britain. The rating was awarded due to the film’s strong language, owing to it containing more than four uses of the word fuck — the film contains the word or variations on it a total of 10 times.

Director McAllister said that the film contains no violence, no sexual content, and no aggressive swearing, with the only use of profanity being within the confines of everyday language. He noted that the rating now restricts their outreach opportunities. [The decision] prevents school screenings of this film (for kids under 15) which is so necessary in the communities across this divided nation, he commented when the BBFC classified the film.

Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Kingston Upon Hull North, said on Twitter that she was surprised by the BBFC’s decision, adding that she didn’t understand why the film would be a 15 while a title such as The King’s Speech , which contains stronger language, would receive a PG.

A Northern Soul producer, Elhum Shakerifar, commented:

As a documentary producer, I hope that this does bring into question the matter of representation, particularly of working class realities on screen, but also the reality of documentary filmmaking versus fiction. Our characters aren’t scripted, they’re real people that we spend time with to build bridges of confidence, respect and communication with – and we don’t want to take words out of their mouths, just as we don’t put words into them, she said.

Shakerifar added that they are now intending to apply for local certificates with further local councils, and have already begun the process in Beverley, which is seven miles away from Hull and will be hosting screenings of the film in a few weeks’ time.

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a northern soul posterThe man behind a new film about Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture has hit out at censors after they gave it it 15 rating.A Northern Soul is Hull-born award-winning documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister’s take on 2017. It follows struggling factory worker Steve Arnott’s dream of bringing hip-hop and rap to the city’s estates in a youth project involving a converted bus.

The film was given a 12A rating by licensing councillors in Hull ahead of a recent series of initial screenings at the University of Hull and Vue cinema.

But now the BBFC has decided it should have a 15 rating for strong language.

While the documentary does feature regular use of the F-word, McAllister said swearing was what ordinary people in Hull did and claimed the decision was an attack on working-class people. On Twitter, he said:

It’s a film about a working-class bloke helping kids with rap music find a better life.

McAllister commented: It’s funny the swearing in The King’s Speech is a lot worse, including the C-word, but that gets a 12A. He also compared the decision to the swearing on many of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey’s TV shows.

More screenings will be held on three evenings next week at Vue as well as later in the month. In response to the BBFC decision, Mr McAllister said all next week’s screenings would be free to children under 15 and over 12ish.

[The censorship of strong language in films is one of the silliest aspects of film censorship. Surely young teams will be well versed in strong language, and they will have heard it all before. Surely it will make no difference if they hear the same at the cinema.

But to be fair to the film censors, strong language is one of the things that parents, maybe especially middle class parents, ask for the censors to cut or restrict.

Should the film BBFC consider the actual effect of young teens hearing strong language on screen, or should they follow the wishes of the parents?].

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Show Dogs DVD The Daily Mail is hyping some cinema ‘outrage’ about a new children’s film opening this week, Show Dogs . The Mail writes:

Parents have reacted with fury after British cinemas are still showing scenes from Hollywood film Show Dogs that were banned in America months ago because they were deemed inappropriate for children.

The film features scenes touch in hyper sensitivity of PC extremists about consent and touching relating to dogs bollocks.

In one scene the dog has his genitals inspected and is told to go to a zen place and in a later scene urged to overcome his resistance to being touched so he can become a champion.

Moralist campaigners first raised concerns about the scenes in the United States and Global Road Entertainment, who distribute the scene said it decided to remove two scenes from the film ‘Show Dogs that some have deemed not appropriate for children.’

Of course the British ‘outrage’ is pretty minimal and was spotted mostly in a few angry tweets. One mother from north London, who asked to remain anonymous, told MailOnline:

Expecting that the scenes had been cut I didn’t think twice about taking my four-year-old. So it was quite shocking to discover that the scenes appeared to still be in there – with one of the dog characters being coached to go to their ‘zen place when the judges were going to inspect their genitals.

This was repeated a second time towards the end of the film, when the character of Max the dog has the inspection.

It wasn’t a packed viewing but a few of the parents of the younger children immediately covered their ears and asked them to look away.

Annoyed parents have also been in contact with the BBFC about the contentious scenes. The BBFC responded that the scenes are entirely innocent, non sexual and occur with in the clear context of preparing for and judging in a dog show

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david austin march 2016David Austin as penned what looks like an official BBFC campaigning piece trying to drum up support for the upcoming internet porn censorship regime. Disgracefully the article is hidden behind a paywall and is restricted to Telegraph paying subscribers.Are children protected by endangering their parents or their marriage?

The article is very much a one sided piece, focusing almost entirely on the harms to children. It says nothing about the extraordinary dangers faced by adults when handing over personal identifying data to internet companies. Not a word about the dangers of being blackmailed, scammed or simply outed to employers, communities or wives, where the standard punishment for a trivial transgression of PC rules is the sack or divorce.

Austin speaks of the scale of the internet business and the scope of the expected changes. He writes:

There are around five million pornographic websites across the globe. Most of them have no effective means of stopping children coming across their content. It’s no great surprise, therefore, that Government statistics show that 1.4 million children in the UK visited one of these websites in one month.

The BBFC will be looking for a step change in the behaviour of the adult industry. We have been working with the industry to ensure that many websites carry age-verification when the law comes into force.

Millions of British adults watch pornography online. So age-verification will have a wide reach. But it’s not new. It’s been a requirement for many years for age-restricted goods and services, including some UK hosted pornographic material.

I guess at this last point readers will be saying I never knew that. I’ve never come across age verification ever before. But the point here is these previous rules devastated the British online porn industry and the reason people don’t ever come across it, is that there are barely any British sites left.

Are children being protected by impoverishing their parents?

Not that any proponents of age verification could care less about British people being able to make money. Inevitably the new age verification will further compound the foreign corporate monopoly control on yet another internet industry.

Having lorded over a regime that threatens to devastate lives, careers and livelihoods, Austin ironically notes that it probably won’t work anyway:

The law is not a silver bullet. Determined, tech-savvy teenagers may find ways around the controls, and not all pornography online will be age-restricted. For example, the new law does not require pornography on social media platforms to be placed behind age-verification controls.

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bbfc report for 2017BBFC launches its Annual Report & Accounts 2017

  • 82% more films were classified for cinema in 2017 compared to 2007.
  • Video on demand continues to receive more BBFC age ratings than any other format
  • In 2017 the BBFC gave 378 films a 12A age rating, the most ever at the 12A category

In 2017 the BBFC age rated 1,048 films for cinema release, representing an 82% growth in films classified compared to 2007. With a total of 378 titles, there were more films with a 12A age rating in 2017 than ever before. However 15 remains the most common age rating with 392 theatrical classifications last year. Every film classified by the BBFC comes with detailed BBFCinsight information to help people make informed viewing choices for themselves and their family. BBFCinsight is available on bbfc.co.uk and the BBFC’s free apps for tablet and mobile devices.

Although cinema is as popular as ever, digital content continues to grow, with submissions increasing by 25.3% since 2016, with just under 160,000 minutes of digital content classified in 2017.

David Austin, BBFC Chief Executive, said: Our aim is to support children and families to make viewing decisions that are right for them whenever, whatever and however they are watching, be it cinema, Blu-ray or DVD, or Video on Demand (VOD). Going forward we will continue to carry out research to ensure that our standards are in line with what people across the UK believe and expect. In February 2018 the Government designated the BBFC with new responsibilities as the age-verification regulator for online commercial pornography, under Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017. This is due to our acknowledged expertise in assessing and classifying content, including pornographic content, and our longstanding experience of online regulation. The new legislation is an important step in making the internet safer for children.

In addition to providing the latest age rating information on our websites, twitter account and free app, the BBFC continues to publish resources for children, teachers and older learners including a regular podcast, a children’s website (www.cbbfc.co.uk), case studies and classroom posters.

In 2017 the BBFC’s education team held 137 teaching sessions speaking to over 8,000 people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Sessions focussed on BBFC age ratings, our history and our current work including in the online space. The BBFC education and outreach work aims to help children and young people choose well when selecting viewing material online, at home and in the cinema.

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BBFC logo Nobody seems to have heard much about the progress of the BBFC consultation about the process to censor internet porn in the UK.The sketchy timetable laid out so far suggests that the result of the consultation should be published prior to the Parliamentary recess scheduled for 26th July. Presumably this would provide MPs with some light reading over their summer hols ready for them to approve as soon as the hols are over.

Maybe this publication may have to be hurried along though, as pesky MPs are messing up Theresa May’s plans for a non-Brexit, and she would like to send them packing a week early before they can cause trouble.

The BBFC published meeting minutes this week that mentions the consultation:

The public consultation on the draft Guidance on Age Verification Arrangements and the draft Guidance on Ancillary Service Providers closed on 23 April. The BBFC received 620 responses, 40 from organisations and 580 from individuals. Many of the individual responses were encouraged by a campaign organised by the Open Rights Group.

Our proposed response to the consultation will be circulated to the Board before being sent to DCMS on 21 May.

So assuming that the response was sent to the government on the appointed day then someone has been sitting on the results for quite a long time now.

Meanwhile its good to see that people are still thinking about the monstrosity that is coming our way. Ethical porn producer Erica Lust has been speaking to News Internationalist. She comments on the way the new law will compound MindGeek’s monopolitistc dominance of the online porn market:

The age verification laws are going to disproportionately affect smaller low-traffic sites and independent sex workers who cannot cover the costs of installing age verification tools.

It will also impact smaller sites by giving MindGeek even more dominance in the adult industry. This is because the BBFC draft guidance does not enforce sites to offer more than one age verification product. So, all of MindGeeks sites (again, 90% of the mainstream porn sites) will only offer their own product; Age ID. The BBFC have also stated that users do not have to verify their age on each visit if access is restricted by password or a personal ID number. So users visiting a MindGeek site will only have to verify their age once using AgeID and then will be able to login to any complying site without having to verify again. Therefore, viewers will be less likely to visit competitor sites not using the AgeID technology, and simultaneously competitor sites will feel pressured to use AgeID to protect themselves from losing viewers.

…Read the full  article from newint.org

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Wind River DVD At a conference organised by the NSPCC, BBFC director David Austin gave the keynote speech and spoke of early results from the organisation’s five-yearly public consultation.In previous consultations, the BBFC commissioned an in-depth survey of a panel of members of the public, and presumably have repeated the exercise this time. Austin reported increased concern about such sexually violent scenes, meaning certification guidelines may become stricter.

The BBFC asked the panel to review its decisions on 15-rated films featuring sexual violence including Don’t Breathe , starring Jane Levy, Wind River and The Innocents, a French drama about brutalised nuns during the second world war. They were asked if these titles might have been more appropriately restricted to 18.

In a statement to the Guardian, the BBFC said that a number of the films might have been more appropriately restricted to 18. In the case of The Innocents — which was given a PG13 certificate in the US — the initial conclusion was that a 15 certificate was correct. The BBFC statement says:

It is premature to say what adjustments might finally be made to [our] guidelines but it is certainly fair to say that the [research] suggests heightened public concerns about the issue of sexual violence and some desire for a further tightening of our already strict standards at 15.

A BBFC spokesman told the Telegraph:

A general trend we found was that people seemed to find the fact the scenes occurred within recognisable ‘real world’ settings an aggravating factor, because it made them feel as if this was something that could happen to them.

The BBFC is now partway through the second stage of its consultation, which surveys around 10,000 members of the public, asking them if the BBFC is doing a good job and whether its age rating decisions are generally about right. This larger survey does not address detailed issues such as whether sexual violence should be restricted to an 18 rating.

The press is reporting that the BBFC will automatically award 18 ratings to films with depictions of sexual violence but this is surely bollox, the BBFC will perhaps make a few tweaks to its guidelines but will still take final decisions based on the content of the film.