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Wolstencroft’s Diversion Notice Upheld!

Richard Wolstencroft

Harassed director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Richard Wolstencroft, has Tweeted and posted on his Facebook wall that his Diversion Notice was “held and accepted” by Magistrate Luisa Bazzani on Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia. Wolstencroft had been charged for screening an “obscene” movie in defiance of the government’s Office of Film and Literature Classification board.

Down Under, a Diversion Notice can be offered to first time offenders so that felony charges do not appear on the defendant’s record and that the only real penalty is a modest fine. In Wolstencroft’s case, he has been ordered to make a donation to charity.

Wolstencroft’s harassment dates back to the 11th annual Melbourne Underground Film Festival, which was held at the end of August 2010. On the 29th of that month, MUFF held a secret screening of Bruce LaBruce‘s homoerotic horror movie L.A. Zombie, which had been labeled as unclassified by theĀ  OFLC. In Australia, unclassified films are illegal to screen publicly.

While that screening went off without a hitch, detectives searched Wolstencroft’s home for copies of the film three months later in November. Although the festival director had destroyed his copy of the film after the screening, he was subsequently charged with disobeying the OFLC, of which that case is now settled.

Inspired by his recent troubles, Wolstencroft has decided to expand his annual film festival into a series of screenings of controversial work held throughout the year. These events have been dubbed “Mystery MUFF” since the announcement of the films selected to screen at them won’t be given until relatively close to the actual screening date.

The film playing at the first Mystery MUFF, which will be held Sunday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Red Bennies performance and screening space, will be — appropriately enough — a documentary about Bruce LaBruce directed by Angelique Bosio entitled The Advocate of Fagdom.

Watch the Advocate of Fagdom movie trailer:


Underground Film Feedback (4 comments)

  • Rups says:

    It’s a sorry state of affairs. I participated in a review of the classification legislation and got a reply from the board that they are pretty much just going to censor in the same way. In NSW the OFLC has actually given police the power to classify themselves meaning that even classified material if deemed inappropriate by the police can be banned.

  • Mark Savage says:

    What the fuck?!

    What is this distinctly Australian belief that adults need to be protected from themselves?

    It prospers in Australia because most of the population are too fucking lazy and clueless to do anything about having their freedoms raped by the jack-booted authorities

    In a so-called “free” society, there should be no obligation for anyone to have a film they’re screening “classified”. If the film is not suitable for children, then keep the children out, but leave the fucking adults alone

    This attitude is from the same infected brain pool that wants to ban gay marriage and bomb countries full of brown people

    I will never understand people who devote large chunks of their lives to telling other people (strangers!) how they should live. Unless a film is being broadcast on the exterior wall of a public place, it is nobody’s business what people are watching. Whether it is violent or religious, filled with hate, filled with love, filled with indifference, pornographic, scatalogical, or biological, it is nobody’s concern what an individual watches or reads in a society that has the nerve to call itself free

    And there’s the rub, unfortunately. Australia, the UK, the US (countries that spout the “freedom” line incessantly) are far from free in any meangingful, idealisatic sense

    The only freedom extended is the one extended to the richest corporations, which are free to poison the people with the shit they call “food”, “clothing”, “electronics”, and “energy”.

  • DIONYSOS ANDRONIS says:

    BRAVO TO WOLSTENCROFT FOR THAT NEW SERIES OF SCREENINGS. HE IS REALLY HEROIC AND STRONG ! AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT I PREFER THE FIRST FEATURE FILM BY BRUCE LaBRUCE “NO SKIN OFF MY ASS” BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT THE PASSION BETWEEN A NEONAZI AND A HOMOSEXUAL “COIFFEUR” (sorry but I forgot the english word).

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