Films Banned! 2007 Melbourne Underground Film Festival
The Underground Film Journal received the below message from Melbourne Underground Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft about seven films that have been banned by the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification. The 2007 MUFF started today. The message includes a letter to MUFF’s main OFLC contact. I’m just going to reprint the entire thing. Everything below are Richard’s words unedited:
The Following films have been banned from the OFLC:
Schulmädchen-Report: Was Eltern nicht für möglich halten (aka The Schoolgirl Report)
The Farmer’s Daughter
Ashley & Kisha: Finding the Right Fit
60 Second Relief
We will replacing them with other films from the MUFF program.
This Sunday 70k will be replaced with a second screening of Streetsweeper… a good MUFF Neu that we can play. Whore and 60 Second Relief are withdrawn and nothing will fill their place. The Other films will be replaced. More details on Monday.
Will the media even cover this? Do people care about censorship in this country?
Letter to OFLC
Here is a copy of a letter sent to our OFLC contact Amy Wooding. Any response we will share with our MUFF audience:
I thought I’d write to you about this year’s decision.
So the films I cannot play at MUFF 8 are the following:
70k, Schulmädchen-Report: Was Eltern nicht für möglich halten (aka The Schoolgirl Report), Sex Wish, The Farmer’s Daughter, Ashley & Kisha: Finding the Right Fit, Whore and 60 Second Relief
Is this correct?
I will comply and withdraw them from screenings and replace them with films you have granted permission for me to play (like Moonlight and Magic, Left Ear,etc).
A few small questions, you might be able to answer or maybe the OFLC director can answer them (If you have his email I’ll cc this to him):
Why is pornography of the most gross and offensive nature (like shitting and pissing films) available for sale in most Adult bookshops in Victoria?
Also: Are not X rated films only supposed to be available in Canberra but for sale in 90% of Adult shops in Vic and NSW and in other states?
Why is MUFF referred to the justice department for wishing to screen a couple of classy or forgotten pieces of erotica with artistic merit to an audience over 18 (who are keen to see them) and nothing done about the illegal X rated sale of videos and DVD’s in sex shops that is rampant?
Is there not a hint of corruption or hypocrisy and definitely absurdity here?
Why are X rated films banned at all! It begs the question given the ready availability of it in on the Internet? Available on any PC, anywhere.
A MUFF screening is a minor problem compared to the flaunting of your rules every day of every year by the Adult Sex Industry.
Why are films like Shortbus and 9 Songs passed though they clearly contravene some of your guidelines?
Why is MIFF allowed to play a film like Exterminating Angles in a section that focussed on perversity and erotica though that too contravenes your guideline? And we cannot do it?
We will comply with your absurd ruling out of fear of prosecution to our small festival but register our complaint also that this is neither fair or just. We believe strongly it represents a violation of the basic human rights of Australian citizens to freedom of speech, assembly and expression.
Enabling a festival like MUFF or MIFF to play whatever they choose from the classy end of the sex industry will lift both festivals standing in the Internationalcommunity and not reveal a backward 1950’s attitude to sex and censorship in Australia. Your own guidelines date from over 50 years ago. Surely a review is in order?
I am cc-ing this email to the MIFF Festival Director Richard Moore for his interest. His comments and feelings on the matter I would be interested to hear.
Any answers to these questions or our complaint will be greatly appreciated from the OFLC.
This letter is not written in disrespect but in a wish for better clarification of the important issues it contains.
PS. Why is 70k banned it has no sex or violence at all does it?