Posts Tagged ‘OFLC’

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oflc annual report 2017 The New Zealand media censors at the Office or Film and Literature Classification have just released their annual report. It includes the interesting observation that its ‘banned’ category is the most common category used in the year under review:

The most common classification in the last financial year was objectionable, meaning banned. This is a result of a large increase in material being submitted by enforcement agencies. This has coincided with a decrease in commercial submissions.

Along with films, DVD/Blu-rays and games, the Classification Office classifies a variety of material, including computer files submitted by enforcement agencies like Customs, Police, and the Department of Internal Affairs. In fact computer files make up the great majority of material banned by the Classification Office. Most of these publications were banned for promoting or supporting the sexual exploitation of children and young people.

Apart from that the New Zealand again has a knock at the government for not giving the censors remit over content streamed online:

It is now more important than ever that New Zealanders have the tools and information to allow everyone to take advantage of the freedom and opportunity the digital revolution represents — while being smart about managing the downsides.

Regulation is lagging behind — our system does not recognise the changes in the way New Zealanders now consume media. New Zealanders have increasingly borne the consequences of a confusing and out of date approach. The evidence is mounting about the impacts of consuming violent and graphic media, and technology keeps raising the stakes — virtual reality and immersive media are now making an impact.

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Criminal Girls: Invite Only The New Zealand censor at the Office of Film and Literature Censorship has just banned the PlayStation Vita role playing game, Criminal Girls: Invite Only The censor explained the reasons for the ban on its website:

Firstly, the Classification Office called the game in due to concerns that the sexual content found within the game focuses on young persons and involves elements of sexual violence. However the Motivation sequences themselves do not encourage the player to focus on the girls as young persons, and instead concentrates on presenting their embarrassment, powerlessness and humiliation in a sexualised manner. The dialogue clearly establishes that the girls are either unwilling to participate, or naive about the player character’s intentions. Then, once the Motivation is finished, the girls’ reaction is positive. The lack of consent presented here – and the idea that Even if you have to force her 203 she’ll end up enjoying it – is a narrative that justifies rape and is presented solely for titillation.

This game requires players to engage with the female characters in sexualised situations where consent is not only absent, but where the protestations of the female characters are part of the attraction. There is a strong likelihood of injury to the public good, including to adults from the trivialisation and normalisation of such behaviour, so the game is banned.

The game is PEGI 18 rated in Europe and ESRB M rated in the US.

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Cat Sick Blues DVD Cat Sick Blues is a 2015 Australia horror by Dave Jackson.
Starring Matthew C Vaughan, Shian Denovan and Noah Moon. IMDb

When Ted’s beloved cat dies, the trauma triggers a terrible mental breakdown. His broken brain prompts him to bring his feline friend back – all he needs is nine human lives. Ted dons vicious deadly cat claw gloves and a creepy cat mask, and goes on a murderous rampage. As the butchery escalates, a twisted romance blossoms between Ted and Claire, a young woman who has also recently lost her cat in a horrifying incident.

This Australian censorship board classified the film MA 15+ for strong horror violence and coarse language.

However the New Zealand film censors at the OFLC banned the film as objectionable , with the explanation:

The publication is a low-budget horror film from Australia about a demented serial killer who chooses a rape victim as his next target.

Two excisions were required to remove part of a scene (and related content in a behind-the-scenes component) that causes the DVD to tend to promote and support the use of violence to compel a person to submit to sexual conduct, and the infliction of extreme violence and extreme cruelty under s3(2)(b) and s3(2)(f) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

If the excisions had been made, the DVD would have been classified R18 due to the high extent and degree of gruesome horror, the infliction of serious physical harm and cruelty, and sexual violence.

The distributor declined to make the excisions, so the DVD is classified as objectionable.

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bukkake ruined my carpet The New Zealand Censor writes:

After examining the campervan and applying the legal classification criteria, the Classification Office classified this campervan as Objectionable (banned).

Imagery on the campervan includes a peace symbol; the face of American beat poet, Allen Ginsberg and the text, Don’t hide the madness ; the word Howl , the title of a famous Ginsberg poem; and a representation of Charles Manson and the text, Make new friends. Join a cult .

First impressions of the campervan are likely to be of bright colours and large, eye-catching text and images.

However, large text on the back of the campervan reads Bukkake ruined my carpet! which inescapably confronts following vehicles.

The text on the back of the campervan is an expression of misogyny that degrades and dehumanises women. It is unlikely that many viewers will immediately recognise the term. However, satisfying curiosity as to its meaning requires no more than a quick internet search. Bukkake is an established term describing a highly degrading, dehumanising and demeaning sexual practice that is depicted in pornography.

A classification of R18, which is consistent with other publications and would prevent access by children and young people, has been considered. However, the medium makes it impossible to protect children and young people without preventing the campervan from being publicly available to anyone. The application of any of the available conditions in respect of public display is manifestly impracticable.

In classifying the campervan as objectionable, the Classification Office has also taken into account that those who rent the vans may be unwittingly criminalised if the owner considered that restricting their rental to persons 18 years and over meets the conditions of an R18 classification. While the Office does not necessarily agree that the owner could contract out of their liability in this way, the classification of the campervan as objectionable removes all doubt as to its unsuitability for its intended purpose.

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OFLC New Zealand logo New Zealand’s Internal Affairs Minister, Peter Dunne, has issued a statement announcing seven new changes to the Film and Literature Board of Review.One notable change is to replace current president Don Mathieson as of January 2016.

Mathieson made headlines in 2015, after Ted Dawe’s novel Into The River was banned .The ban was later lifted by the board, however the decision was not welcomed by Mathieson .

In October 2015, Mathieson delivered a dissenting minority report but the remainder of the board voted to allow the book to be sold without restriction, saying a previous ban on under-14s was no longer justified.

Earlier in the week, Mathieson said he did not expect to be reappointed after two three-year terms, both as president, and did not put his name forward to continue in the job.

He refused to comment on the controversy around Into the River, however he said he was not particularly glad or sorry to be leaving the board, which he joined as a public service.

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See article from tvnz.co.nz

Maniac Blu ray Elijah Wood A serial killer horror film starring Elijah Wood has been banned from cinema and DVD release in New Zealand.

The Office of Film and Literature censorship (OFLC) has classified Maniac as restricted to festival-only screenings and banning it from further release.

It is the first film to receive the special Festival-only classification since The Bridge in 2007 and means that the film cannot be released on DVD at a later date.

The remake of Maniac has been classified as supposedly ‘objectionable’ for the unwashed masses, but is OK for ‘clever’ people for the purpose of study in a tertiary media or film studies course or screened as part of a film festival.

The full restricted classification note is: R18 graphic violence, sex scenes, content that may disturb.

The film has been programmed for the NZIFF Incredibly Strange section by Ant Timpson, with screenings scheduled for Auckland and Wellington. Timpson said:

The OFLC decision says that the film may be ‘injurious to the public good’ if it goes out on a wider release. It’s saying that the POV nature of the film mixed with the psychopathic behaviour of actor Elijah Wood is more than disturbing, that it’s potentially dangerous in the hands of the wrong person (that is, a non-festival goer).

New Zealand is the only western country to have banned Maniac

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See article [pdf] from censorship.govt.nz

Andrew JackNew Zealand’s chief censor says that number of DVDs and games being released in New Zealand has significantly declined. He is wondering if censorship fees are making it unprofitable for small market distribution.

In a document entitled Statement of intent for the Office of Film and Literature Classification, he says:

The market has become increasingly price sensitive, with a greater demand for the Office to exercise its limited discretionary power in applying the fees regulations. These powers are set in regulation, which establish what and how criteria are to be applied when considering waiving fees. As the profit margin for product diminishes, the risk increases that distributors will no longer import material for the New Zealand marketplace, potentially creating a situation of economic censorship. This suggests a fee structure more sensitive to the commercial value of publications submitted for classification would impact positively on submission volumes and voluntary compliance.

The current fee structure is unfair, inequitable and inconsistent with the state sector fee setting principles established by the Auditor- General and State Services Commission. Again this suggests that a fair, equitable and principled fee structure may positively impact on submission volumes.

But the censor is not solely concerned with New Zealanders missing out on films, he has other concerns too:

Staff numbers have been reduced in response to falling submission levels, and to process improvements introduced by the CDA. As a result of reduced staff numbers, the Office no longer needs the floor space currently leased.

Priority work is therefore required to determine what drives the volume of commercial submissions. Based on this work, changes to the Office’s cost/revenue model can then be developed to ensure the Office’s funding model is fair and principled, and a range of strategies can be developed to better manage submission volumes.

In recognition of the financial position of the Office, the PSA and the Office agreed a collective agreement in 2010 with no general increase in salaries between September 2009 and September 2011. Following discussions with the PSA and staff during September 2011, agreement was reached that there would again be no general increase in salaries. As a result, salaries for management positions have not increased since January 2009 and staff positions have not increased since September 2009. This is not a sustainable strategy if the Office is to retain quality, experienced staff.

The number of commercial items classified had dropped from 2276 in 2009/10 to the maximum estimate of 1822 in the 2011/12 year. The minimum estimate is just 1329. Note that films at the lower age ratings with Australian or UK censorship certificates do not need a review by the New Zealand censor, so the actual amount of releases is much higher than these figures indicate.

Jack has proposed changing the flat $1124 fee his office charged to classify material so that it was cheaper for products which were less likely to make a profit.

Perhaps an issue that the BBFC should consider too, given Third Window’s withdrawal from UK cinema distribution last week citing similar concerns about BBFC censorship fees.