Posts Tagged ‘Film Censorship’

Read more Middle East Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Red Dawn DVD Patrick Swayze A member of Russia’a culture committee recently recommended a ban on foreign films that demonize Russia.

While the idea of stricter control over the image of Russia and Russians in foreign films has been floated by top officials time and again over the last few years, the first concrete proposal aimed at banning foreign films that demonize Russia was recently made by Batu Khasikov, a member of the culture committee at Russia’s Federation Council, the upper chamber of Parliament. He proposed:

Specific requirements should be introduced for film exhibition in the country, and movies where everything related to Russia is overtly demonized or shown in a primitive and silly way should be banned from theatrical distribution.

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Read more Australia Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

australian government logo A proposal for computer software to be used to classify material, such as movies and video games, has hit the news in Australia. The Federal Government has proposed the development of digital tools to speed up the work of the Classification Board.

Responses to survey questions by producers or developers about the content of movies or games could be used by a computer program to recommend a classification. Members of the Classification Board would be able to change the final result if they did not agree with the software’s decision.

Legal academic Lyria Bennett Moses and her colleagues at the University of NSW’s Cyberspace Law and Policy Community commented that draft changes to classification law did not place enough restrictions on the use of classification tools:

At worst, there would be no human judgment applied to the necessary human judgment matters central to the classification process. A Google bot might do it.

Morality campaigners of Family Voice Australia did not believe the Government intended to use computer programs to make a classification decision. But they feared this could happen in the future, enabling pornographers to exploit the classification system by supplying incorrect information about the content of their films to censorship programs.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan told Parliament recently that a draft Bill would require any classification tools to be approved by the relevant government minister.

The Bill also provides the Classification Board with the opportunity to classify material even after it has been considered by an approved tool, if it considers that the decision is problematic. As a final protection, if there are concerns about the effectiveness of a classification tool, its approval may be suspended or revoked at any time.

The computer game industry supports the use of automated tools to help speed up long delays waiting for material to be classified. Since 1996, the Classification Board has classified an average of 745 computer games a year. But more than 57,000 games were released by Apple’s App Store in 2013. It also very expensive, costing upto $2460 to have a computer game classified.

The Government  is also considering scrapping proposals for 2-D and 3-D versions of the same movie to be classified separately.

Read more Australia Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from if.com.au

australian government logoThe Australian government has introduced legislation to reform the National Classification Scheme, primarily to make it faster and more cost effective to classify content for mobile platforms and online games.Films that are released in 2D and 3D versions won’t have to be classified twice, a measure for which the industry had long lobbied.

Independent distributors had also complained about the costs of having small films classified but their push for cheaper fees fell on deaf ears.

However festivals and cultural organisations will no longer have to submit cumbersome applications to the Classification Board for a formal exemption before they screen material, providing they satisfy criteria in the Classification Act.

The legislation will remove the need for reclassification when minor changes are made to computer games such as software updates or bug fixes, or when a new song is added to a karaoke game.

The reforms are the government’s first response to proposals by the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of the National Classification Scheme.

The Commission delivered further recommendations:

  • Abolish the legally binding age restriction on MA15+ rating so it becomes an advisory guidance.
  • Apply uniform classification categories to content aired across all platforms, including online and mobile.
  • Rename the RC (refused classification) category as Prohibited.
  • Retain the Classification Board for films and computer games but create a single agency to regulate the classification of media content, handle complaints and educate the public about the scheme.
  • Empower the Classification Board to review appeals, replacing the independent Classification Review Board.

But the prospects for widespread changes were ruled out by the state and federal Attorneys-General, who indicated last year that they would merely consider areas for short-term reforms.

Read more Asia Pacific Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from voanews.com

Inseparable Daniel Beibi Kevin Spacey China is wrestling with how to reconcile its extreme censorship system with the need to create films the world will want to watch.

Xie Fei, a professor at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, recently sparked a debate on government control over the film industry when he called for replacing the country’s censorship procedures by a movie rating system with ratings similar to those used in the United States. Xie wrote in an open letter:

In the past few years, there were so many unwritten laws when censoring movies. Unwritten laws such as: ‘ghosts are not allowed in contemporary settings,’ ‘extramarital affairs are not allowed,’ ‘certain political incidents are not allowed,’ etc. The censorship system [in China] is not defined by law, but done according to individuals.

Such rules are killing artistic exploration.

Beijing-based filmmaker Dayyan Eng responded saying that with more foreign films entering the domestic market, local directors struggle to compete. He blames it partly on the censorship system.

It’s [Censorship] restricting what we can make. And I think that everyone has been finding out, especially this year, because the local films have been killed by Hollywood.

If Hollywood is allowed to make whatever they want, and actually most of them, the big budget ones anyway, are being shown in China, we are at a disadvantage because the system that’s in place to regulate or censor this things is not the same for Chinese films and for Hollywood films.

Eng’s latest film, Inseparable , was the first wholly local production to feature a Hollywood star, Kevin Spacey. Eng says the censorship system influenced the way he wrote his movie.

When I first started out doing the story and writing the script and even up to shooting and editing it, in a way I have to censor myself a little bit. For example, there would be certain scenes I want to do, but I would think ‘Maybe it is not going to pass the censorship if I do it this way, if I go too far’ so I tend to pull myself back little bit.

Although Chinese lawmakers recognize that domestic films are facing increasing pressure to compete with foreign films, they did not directly respond to Xie Fei’s suggestions that a US-style rating system was better than China’s censorship rules.

Similar proposals surfaced in 2007, after nude scenes in the Ang Lee film Lust Caution were cut before the film’s release in China. But censors put an end to the idea when a senior official from SARFT said that such a system would not be appropriate for China.

But now, with a growing number of actors, directors and producers sharing their views online, it has become easier for critical voices to contribute to the national discussion. Film producer Robert Cain has consulted Hollywood and Chinese studios on co-productions since 1987. He says that by not establishing a rating system, the Chinese government is patronizing its public:

There is no need to treat everyone in China like a child or an infant that can be hurt by certain topics in movies. Everyone knows that people have sex, everyone knows that crime takes place and it seems very hypocritical to me that the government wants to pretend, at least in films, that these things don’t happen in China.

Read more BBFC News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

See article from bbfc.co.uk

100 years of censorship logoThe British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is marking its 100th year in 2012 by resurrecting its historical Theatrical Black Cards. Beginning in January cinema-goers across the UK will see updated versions of the vintage Black Cards ahead of all 2012 theatrical releases. The six retro designs based on those used in 1913, the 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and the present day will be released as a series with each design appearing for two months at a time.

The first retro card to be show in cinema’s in 2012 will be based on the 1912 theatrical card, first shown in 1913.

Other activities taking place to mark the BBFC Centenary year include a film season at the BFI; an exhibition about the history of the BBFC; and a Centenary book mapping 100 years of film classification and controversy.

David Cooke Director of the BBFC says: The BBFC’s Centenary is a chance for us both to look forward and to celebrate our past. We are constantly striving to develop new services; provide the public with fuller, richer information; and to improve our efficiency. At the same time, we recognise our duty to explain our history, and we do a lot of this, particularly with schools and teachers. The retro Black Cards are a way of celebrating our history. I think they’re pretty stylish too.

Established as the British Board of Film Censors in 1912, the BBFC was designed by the film industry to ensure uniformity in film classification and was a reaction to the 1909 Cinematographers Act whereby all Local Authorities had the power to provide or withhold licenses for cinemas in their area.

Areas of notable interest in the Board’s history include T.P. O’Connor’s 1916 list of 43 grounds for deletion, intended as a guide for Examiners; the shifts in public opinion and changes in the law over the decades; and the classification of various controversial films from Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange to the video nasties of the 1980s.

Today the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent, private, not for profit company which classifies films, videos, DVDs and certain video games, advertisements and trailers under the Video Recordings Act (1984).

…Read the full article

Read more BBFC News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Based on article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

Don’t smoke kids.
Smoking addles the brain and
you may turn into a barmy researcher

The analysis of hundreds of films released in the past decade found that young Britons see more cigarette use in movies than their US counterparts because the UK censors judge more films to be family friendly.

Researchers warn that the more smoking adolescents witness onscreen, the more their chances of taking up the habit increases, with those who see the most tobacco use about three times more likely to start smoking than those who watch the least.

The study, compiled by Dr Christopher Millett of Imperial College London and Professor Stanton Glantz of California University, advocated an overhaul of the ratings system: Awarding an 18 rating to films that contain smoking would create an economic incentive for motion picture producers to simply leave smoking out of films developed for the youth market.

The researchers assessed the number of onscreen smoking or tobacco occurrences in 572 top grossing films in the UK between 2001 and 2006, including 546 screened in the United States, plus 26 high-earning films released only in the UK. They then divided the total box office earnings of each film by the year’s average ticket price to calculate the estimated number of tobacco impressions delivered to audiences for each film.

Among the films assessed, over two thirds featured tobacco. Of these more than nine out of ten were classified as suitable for adolescents (15 or 12A) under the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) system.

The study, which will be published in Tobacco Control, found that in all, 5.07 billion tobacco impressions were delivered to UK cinema-going audiences during the period, of which 4.49 billion were delivered in 15 and 12A rated films. Because 79% of the films rated only for adults in the US (R) were classified as suitable for young people in the UK young Britons were exposed to 28% more smoking impressions in 15 or 12A rated movies than their US peers.

Dr Millett said: The decision to classify a film as appropriate for youths clearly has economic benefits for the film industry. A film classification policy that keeps on-screen smoking out of films rated suitable for youths … would reduce this exposure for people under 18 years of age and probably lead to a substantial reduction in youth smoking.

However, Sue Clark, spokeswoman for the BBFC, said imposing an 18 rating on films which feature scenes of smoking is not going to happen.

She said: Sometimes smoking is included in a film for reasons of historical accuracy.The only time we would consider stepping in is if we felt a film was actively promoting smoking. But I have never seen a film that did that.