The Australian Classification Board has banned the upcoming computer game Syndicate. No doubt it would have qualified for an 18 rating, but as there isn't one then the game was banned.
The Australian censors justified their decision as follows:
In the Board's view this game warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with rule 1(d):
Computer games that: are unsuitable for a minor to see or play will be Refused Classification.
The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.
The game is set in a futuristic dystopia where people have computer chips in their heads that allow them to interact with the "dataverse", It is a first person shooter with realistically rendered graphics. A player controls Kilo, an
agent of one of the "Syndicates" (powerful corporations), as he moves through levels completing objectives such as rescuing Eurocorp employees and extracting chips from people's heads.
In order to complete the missions, a player has to engage in intense combat with swarms of enemy combatants who are clad in light armour. A variety of weapons is available and these often cause decapitation, dismemberment and gibbing during
frenetic gunfights. For example, an intense sequence of violence commences when a player collects a "G290 minigun", which operates much like a Gatling gun. A player moves through a building rapidly firing at enemy combatants. Combatants
take locational damage and can be explicitly dismembered, decapitated or bisected by the force of the gunfire. The depictions are accompanied by copious bloodspray and injuries are shown realistically and with detail, Flesh and bone are often
exposed while arterial sprays of blood continue to spurt from wounds at regular intervals.
Similar injuries can be caused by many other weapons, including shotguns, high-calibre revolvers, sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers, laser guns and grenades.
The game also allows a player to repeatedly damage enemy combatants' corpses. This is shown in realistic depictions. For example, it is possible for a player to decapitate a corpse with a headshot before individually blowing off each of its limbs.
Depending on the weapon used, it is also possible to bisect a corpse, with realistic ragdoll effects noted. The depictions are again accompanied by arterial sprays of blood and detailed injuries that include protruding bone.
Throughout the game, a player consistently encounters unarmed civilians and has the choice of whether to target them or riot. Civilians can be shot, accompanied by copious bloodspray, but it is not possible to decapitate or dismember them, whether
they are alive or dead. Their corpses can still be targeted, resulting in bloodspray only. In single player mode, the game treats civilian deaths neutrally, but it is noted that in cooperative gameplay, points are awarded for civilian casualties.
In the opinion of the Board, the game contains intense sequences of violence which include detailed depictions of decapitation and dismemberment that are high in playing impact. The game also contains the ability to inflict repeated and realistic
post mortem damage which exceeds strong in playing impact.
It is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and is therefore Refused Classification.
The brief life of Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) began in Australia at a midnight screening at the Brisbane Film Festival in early November and ended three weeks later.
The film's distributor, Neil Foley of Monster Films, says: We played to a couple of hundred people in Brisbane over a couple of screenings; 500 or so people in Perth; something similar in Melbourne; and then in Sydney another 150 or 200. He
puts the total audience in those weeks at less than 1500.
A story on Fairfax websites alerted the film's adversaries to its existence in late August. Monster Films was doing itself no good by reminding everyone of the scathing commentary of the BBFC and stamping its trailer with the slogan Banned in
Britain. Unleashed in Australia .
Christian lobbyists following the usual game plan sought an attorney-general willing to demand the film's review.
The NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith was the ideal choice. Smith is well connected with nutter causes. For instance he assured the Herald newspaper that his chief of staff, Damien Tudehope, played no role in the banning of the horror film. Tudehope
just happens to sit on the advisory board of arch nutters. FamilyVoice Australia.
Smith told the Herald he decided to seek its review in October:
because of the decision taken by the British Board of Film Classification to refuse classification of the movie. In addition, the synopsis of the movie depicted scenes of extreme sexual violence.
Human Centipede 2 distributor Foley argues gamely:
What these people are responding to is not the film. They are responding to our hype around the film. It is us telling the world this is the most disgusting film ever made. In actual fact it's just another movie.
The banning of Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) exposes a strange rift among censors. Twice this year a horror movie has been passed by the Classification Board and then banned on appeal by the Review Board.
We can no longer trust in the framework and the guidelines, says Peter Campbell of Accent Films who submitted A Serbian Film . He says cuts were made to the film in collaboration with the Classification Board so it could be screened
in Australia. Even so, it was banned. Campbell says: It's getting out of hand.
A fresh cut of Human Centipede 2 has now been examined by the Classification Board. Gone, we are told, are the penis wrapped in barbed wire, close-ups of the rape and the newborn baby squashed to death under the accelerator pedal. Foley
will learn the board's verdict next week.
Human Centipede 2 will be allowed back on screens this week after the distributors cut 30 seconds from it.
The amended version will screen at the National Film and Sound Archive's ARC Cinema on Friday night, as originally scheduled.
The Australian distributor, Monster Pictures, had to submit a cut version for reclassification - to the same body that had originally allowed it.
Monster Pictures manager Neil Foley said while he was delighted with the decision, it highlighted the problems of the film classification system in Australia. He said the distributors had been faced with an absurd situation whereby they
were told they had to recut the film, but were not given specifics of the complaints made against it. He said the film had received its original classification in the spirit of what extreme horror movies are about and who they're aimed at:
The Australian Government Classification Board are doing this every day of the week and they're very versed in film in general, as far as the time and place. They understand the context of the genre, they understand the genre and they see
something like Human Centipede and they know where it fits in. They can see that there's probably nothing in this film that makes it obscene.
Monster Pictures said in a press release that the film has been modified by thirty seconds, these modifications were done with the utmost care so as to not damage the integrity of the film - we are absolutely confident that this is the case.
Monster Pictures feels that this decision highlights the absurdity of Classification Review Board's decision to ban the film in the first place.
Melbourne's Cinema Nova will begin screening the modified version of the film beginning Boxing Day 2011.
The DVD and Blu-Ray of the film will be released late February 2012.
The Australian government takes swearing very seriously, even going so far as to propose a fine for anyone heard saying a rude word in the street.
And of course Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy is one of Australia's arch censors, with his long running plan to block anything even slightly risque on the internet
So of course he deserves everything he gets when he is caught swearing on daytime TV. Speaking on live TV at National Press Club in Canberra about foreign investors putting their money into Australia, he said:
I love the debate about sovereign risk, he said. If a tax goes up, God, that is sovereign risk. But if a tax goes down, fucking fantastic.
In fact his fun with rhetoric appeared just before a kids' show . He quickly dropped in an excuse me , but the damage was done and there were many a red face in Australia's ruling Labor party.
Former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor, a staunch supporter of R18+ for games in Australia has been replaced by
Australia's adoption of computer gaming for adults is very much still in play and open to new directions.
Last month, O'Connor released the final guidelines on R18+ for games, and said that he planned to introduce the R18+ legislation in the February 2012 parliament session.
So no doubt Australian gamers will be keen to find out of Clare will continue O'Connor's good work.
But gaming is not the only censorship issue debated at this level of government. O'Connor had put his name to the request for censorship reviews that led to the banning of A Serbian Film and Human Centipede 2 .
On Tuesday morning Monster Pictures received a phone call from a spokesperson from the Classification Review Board alerting us to the fact that THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE had been refused classification in Australia. This came less than
twenty-four hours after a two and a half hour Classification Review Board hearing in Sydney. The hearing was convened by Victoria Rubensohn, and was attended by Ann Stark and Melissa De Zwark representing the Classification Review Board, and Tony
Romeo, Neil Foley, Jack Sargeant and Laura Crawford representing Monster Pictures Australia, the Australian distributors of the film.
Monster Pictures would like to express our disappointment at this decision.
We presented a great deal of evidence, including the submissions of two highly regarded film experts (Jack Sargeant and Laura Crawford) to support our notion that this film was produced with significant artistic credentials, and with its
contentious elements justified within the context of story and genre.
Unfortunately this was rejected by the Classification Review Board, whose subjective opinion it is that the film lacks artistic merit, and must be refused classification on the grounds that it contains gratuitous, exploitative or offensive
depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact and cruelty which has a high impact .
Monster Pictures rejects this notion outright.
Monster Pictures also rejects the notion that three middle-class women -- two lawyers and a family therapist -- who supposedly broadly represent the Australian community , have the ability or credentials to read or understand a film such as
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE.
Indeed much of our discussion around this black and white film, with its casting, sound and production design steeped in the traditions of underground, horror and avant-garde cinema, was on whether or not the film was highly stylised or realistic
. In the opinion of the Convenor of the Review Board, this cinematic depiction is presented to the viewer as realistic , which therefore escalates the violence in the film from high impact, to very high impact, therefore making it
eligible for a Refusal of Classification.
To Monster Pictures and its representatives this would suggest not only a total and ludicrous misunderstanding of cinematic conventions but also a blatant refusal to accept the evidence that was presented during the hearing. It is our belief that
the review hearing was little more than an expensive waste of time, and that the Classification Review Board had already made up their mind about the film prior to our submission.
Monster Pictures would also like to draw attention to the fact that two ultra conservative Christian groups, Collective Shout and Family Voice Australia, are both claiming victory for the banning on their websites. We reject the notion that fringe
groups -- that are amongst many other things, anti-homosexual, anti-Islamic and anti-choice -- can have this level of influence over what the adult public of this country can or cannot view in a cinema or in the privacy of their own homes.
To Monster Pictures this represents a growing and alarming trend of fundamentalism pervading the public arena.
To us this is a far broader issue than just THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE.
It is our opinion that every free-thinking adult in this country, whether they intend to view the film or not, should be alarmed by the increasing influence of the Christian right in such matters.
Monster Pictures believe that the original R 18 + Classification of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE received in May 2011 was absolutely correct, and was arrived upon by a board who read the content and context of the film in a fair, unbiased
and informed manner.
We believe the current ratings system to be a system that works well to identify the contentious points within a film, and to alert people to the nature of the viewing material.
Monster Pictures would also like to express our disapproval of the fact that the original assessment and subsequent rating provided by the Classification Board in May 2011 could not be used as evidence in our hearing to support our notion
that the film contained no material that was unlawful or obscene in any way. We are outraged by the notion that two bodies working within the same system could apply the very same legislation to the very same material yet arrive at diametrically
opposed conclusions -- to us this would suggest a fundamental and very worrying bias by the Review Board, a bias that we believe to be highly influenced by political agenda.
In the end the fate of our investment comes down to the subjective opinions of three women -- two lawyers and a family therapist -- ignoring the opinions of film professionals and a Government appointed Classification Board, to reinterpret the
material and to arrive at the conclusion that the film should be refused classification. In our opinion this is absolutely wrong.
Monster Pictures premiered the uncut version of the film at this year's Brisbane International Film Festival. In addition we have just completed a national tour of the film, accompanied by Q&A sessions with the films lead actor Laurence R.
The film has screened to sell out audiences in almost every capital city in the country, and has been unanimously well received. To the best of our knowledge the film has received no complaints as a result of these screenings -- to the contrary we
have been inundated with emails of support from people around the country outraged at this decision.
To Monster Pictures this only serves to highlight how out of touch the Classification Review Board is with the current standards of the Australian cinema going public, and how wrong they are in their interpretation of the material.
Monster Pictures is fundamentally opposed to any form of censorship of legally produced adult material.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE was produced in the UK with full respect to the laws of that country. These laws are also in line with those of this country. There was no one harmed in any way in the production of this film. We reject any
notion that any harm can be done to adults who view this material. We believe that the film's director Tom Six has produced one of the most significant genre films in recent history -- one that deserves to be seen in its original form by
interested and consenting adults in this country.
Monster Pictures intends to resubmit a modified version of the film to the Classification Board. Once rated, we intend to continue our theatrical exhibition, which will lead to a DVD release early in the New Year. We also undertake to explore
every option available to have this film released in full in this country.
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has been been banned by the Australian Classification Review Board (ACRB).
The review was the result of an appeal against the previously uncut R18+ certificate awarded by the Classification Board. The appeal was requested by Australia's Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor, reportedly on the advice of the New South Wales
Attorney General Greg Smith.
The film has already opened at select cinemas a fortnight ago, including Melbourne's Cinema Nova, which advertised the film with a prophetic see it before it's banned motto.
From the ACRB's official press statement:
A three member panel of the Classification Review Board has by unanimous decision determined that the film The Human Centipede II (full sequence) is classified RC (Refused Classification).
In the Review Board's opinion, The Human Centipede II (full sequence) could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as the level of depictions of violence in the film has an impact which is very high.
In addition, the film must be refused classification because it contains gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact and cruelty which has a high impact.
Films classified RC cannot be sold, hired, or advertised in Australia.
The Review Board's reasons for this decision will appear on the Classification website when finalised.
Ros Phillips, national research officer for FamilyVoice Australia, said:
We congratulate the Classification Review Board for its unanimous decision to classify the torture porn film The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) as Refused Classification,
Earlier this year we were shocked to learn that the uncut version of this horrific film had been passed by Australia's Classification Board as R18+ - but had been banned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Phillips said.
On behalf of Australian families, we thank the Board for its unanimous agreement. Pornography based on human torture has no place on Australian screens.
FamilyVoice provided the Classification Review Board with a substantial submission, explaining in detail why Australia's classification guidelines require scenes in Human Centipede 2 to be Refused Classification.
FamilyVoice describes itself as: A Christian Voice for family, faith and freedom. They obviously have got themselves about the concept of 'freedom'. Perhaps A Christian Voice for family, faith and censorship, would be a more honest
The Australian Government Classification Review Board has just published a detailed report on why it banned A Serbian Film . It is a very strongly worded explanation with numerous reasons cited, each of which would be enough to get the film
Australian Government Classification Review Board
Review Date: Monday 19 September 2011
MEMBERS: Ms Ann Stark Ms Helena Blundell Dr Melissa de Zwart
APPLICANT Minister for Justice, the Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
INTERESTED PARTIES Accent Film Entertainment Melinda Tankard Reist (Collective Shout)
To review the Classification Board's decision to classify the film, A Serbian Film , R 18+ (Restricted) with consumer advice high impact sexual violence, sex scenes and violence .
Reasons for the decision
Pursuant to the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, this film is refused classification.
The rationale given by the distributer for the very high levels of sexual and sexualised violence within the film was that it was an allegory of victims of war. The narrative of the film itself did not support this claim. Although the publicity
accompanying the film makes this claim, there was only one instance within the film when any direct connection was made between the rape of women and children comprehensively depicted and the rape of the country viz at 52 minutes Vukmir, in answer
to Milos expressed intense discomfort at having to make such a film in a kindergarten spends approximately two minutes describing the whole country as a victim. Other than this speech, there is no direct linkage of the extensive, gratuitous and
exploitative depictions of sexual violence and child sexual abuse described in section 6 and the political rationale provided in the film's description.
In the opinion of the Review Board this does not provide sufficient rationale to justify the contents of the film in context. In the Review Board's opinion there are numerous examples already detailed of instances where sexual violence and themes
of incest and depictions of child abuse have been used gratuitously .
In the Review Board's opinion, A Serbian Film could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as the level of depictions of sexual violence, themes of incest and depictions of child sexual abuse in the film has an impact which is very
high and not justified by context.
The Review Board determined that the film, A Serbian Film, is refused classification.
Reporters Without Borders is concerned about proposals made at the first session of the Inquiry into Media and Media Regulation on 8 November to give the Press Council the power to penalise newspapers by imposing fines of up to 30,000 Australian
dollars and to submit the press to tighter controls, such as the introduction of licences.
The press freedom organization said:
If such measures were adopted, they would undermine Australia's international credibility as a country with relatively high respect for freedom of the press where news organizations can carry out their work without hindrance.
There are already numerous laws controlling journalists, the media and digital communications in Australia. We find the plan to introduce licences and exorbitant fines for the press extremely shocking.
Measures such as these characterize those countries that are at the bottom of the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. We do not expect to find them in a democracy ranked 18th out of 178 countries in 2010.
We suggest the inquiry commission turn its attention to the improvement of existing self-regulations systems, rather than recommending new controls which could be misused for political ends.
You're under arrest for uttering the word
'fuck' in a Victorian hospitality venue.
You have the right to say fuck all.
Proposed legislative changes by Victoria's Baillieu Government have been labelled as short sighted and a serious threat to the viability of the hospitality industry by prominent nightclub owner Peter Iwaniuk.
Instead of focusing on the streets where the real problems are, the Baillieu Government and Victoria Police are making the same mistake as the Brumby Government - by blindly pursuing a vendetta against the hospitality industry.
The Nightclub Owners Forum successfully campaigned against the Brumby Government at the last State election and, unfortunately, it now appears we will have to run a similar campaign against the Baillieu Government.
On top of exorbitant fee increases and other harsh regulations, the Baillieu Government has recently announced it is introducing a demerit points system against licensed venues and amending the Liquor Control Act 1998 so that even using profane,
indecent or obscene language inside a venue can be deemed to be disturbing the amenity and grounds for prosecution of a licensee.
One can imagine our secret police squad, Victoria Police's RAZON Task Force, for example, covertly filming and recording patrons inside public bars where swearing is commonplace, or charging licensees when entertainers are caught swearing.
Comedians, in particular, are renowned for using profane language.
We already have ample evidence that the RAZON Task Force and other police enforcement units will use any technicality at their disposal to persecute and prosecute responsible licensees - now they can add swearing and demerit points to their
The Australian trade group representing computer games producers has welcomed the proposed R18+ certificate for computer games.
However the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) says it is concerned about references in the document to the high impact of games on players.
The document contains a segment on interactivity and computer games which says:
Due to the interactive nature of computer games and the active repetitive involvement of the participant, as a general rule, computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and
therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors.
It goes on to say that interactivity may increase the impact of some content.
For example, impact may be higher where interactivity enables action such as inflicting realistically depicted injuries, death or post-mortem damage, attacking civilians or engaging in sexual activity.
iGEA chief executive, Ron Curry, said in a statement that he had concerns about the acknowledgment in the guidelines that interactivity had a greater impact on players:
The Federal Attorney-General's office published a literature review in December 2010 that found no evidence to support these claims. There will be continued debate about whether the interactivity of video games has a greater impact than other
forms of media, and we will continue to refer to the lack of the evidence.
However, Curry accepted that compromises were made to sweeten the pill for opponents, and added that the new guidelines appeared to exercise a high level of caution and balanced the range of views towards classifying video games.
asked Brendan O’Connor, the minister in charge of censorship about the timetable for the introduction of the new guidelines.
David Emery, the Manager of Applications at the Classification Branch, has recently estimated that it would be at least two years until he received an application for an R18+ rated video game in Australia. O'Connor maintained that we wouldn't have
to wait that long, but did concede that there were obstacles that have to be navigated. He said:
We need to make sure that the legislation is enacted in all of the jurisdictions so we can have this R18+ rating in effect next year. The commonwealth has begun drafting the necessary amendments and is on track to introduce it to parliament early
Meanwhile Australia's New South Wales Attorney General Greg Smith has appeared on Australia's Channel 7 News calling for the ban of Grand Theft Auto IV. The news story also targets Saints Row The Third , claiming it glorifies
blowing up petrol stations.
Elsewhere, Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby claims that Norwegian murderer Anders Behring Breivik's citing of Call of Duty as practice indicates that video games incite violence.
Published Final Agreed Draft Guidelines
The Guidelines use the following hierarchy of impact:
very mild - G
mild - PG
moderate - M
strong - MA 15+
high - R 18+
very high - RC
Assessing the impact of material requires considering not only the treatment of individual classifiable elements but also their cumulative effect. It also requires considering the purpose and tone of a sequence. Impact may be higher where a scene
or game-play sequence:
contains greater detail, including the use of close-ups and slow motion
uses accentuation techniques, such as lighting, perspective and resolution
uses special effects, such as lighting and sound, resolution, colour, size of image, characterisation and tone Dr 6
is repeated frequently
is realistic, rather than stylised
is highly interactive
links incentives or rewards to high impact elements.
Impact may be lessened where reference to a classifiable element is verbal rather than visual. For example, a verbal reference to sexual violence is generally of less impact than a visual depiction. Also, some visual impacts have less impact than
others: for example, an incidental depiction may have less impact than a direct one. Some depictions in computer games may have less impact due to the stylised nature of computer generated images.
Interactivity and computer games
Interactivity is an important consideration that the Board must take into account when classifying computer games. This is because there are differences in what some sections of the community condone in relation to passive viewing or the effects
passive viewing may have on the viewer (as may occur in a film) compared to actively controlling outcomes by making choices to take or not take action. Due to the interactive nature of computer games and the active repetitive involvement of the
participant, as a general rule computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors.
Interactivity may increase the impact of some content: for example, impact may be higher where interactivity enables action such as inflicting realistically depicted injuries or death or post-mortem damage, attacking civilians or engaging in
sexual activity. Greater degrees of interactivity (such as first-person gameplay compared to third-person gameplay) may also increase the impact of some content.
MA 15+ - MATURE ACCOMPANIED
THEMES The treatment of strong themes should be justified by context.
VIOLENCE Violence should be justified by context. Strong and realistic violence should not be frequent or unduly repetitive. Sexual violence may be implied, if non-interactive and justified by context.
SEX Sexual activity may be implied. Sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards.
LANGUAGE Strong coarse language may be used. Aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent, and not exploitative or offensive.
DRUG USE Drug use should be justified by context. Drug use related to incentives or rewards is not permitted. Interactive illicit or proscribed drug use is not permitted.
NUDITY Nudity should be justified by context. Nudity must not be related to incentives or rewards.
R 18+ - RESTRICTED
THEMES There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.
VIOLENCE Violence is permitted. High impact violence that is, in context, frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult will not be permitted. Sexual violence may be implied, if non-interactive and justified by context.
SEX Sexual activity may be realistically simulated. The general rule is simulation, yes – the real thing, no .
LANGUAGE There are virtually no restrictions on language.
DRUG USE Drug use is permitted. Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.
NUDITY Nudity is permitted.
RC ƒ- REFUSED CLASSIFICATION (Banned)
Computer games will be refused classification if they include or contain any of the following:
CRIME OR VIOLENCE
Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.
The promotion or provision of instruction in paedophile activity.
Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years. Depictions of:
(i) violence with a very high degree of impact which are excessively frequent, prolonged, detailed or repetitive;
(ii) cruelty or realistic violence which are very detailed and which have a very high impact;
(iii) sexual violence.
Implied sexual violence related to incentives and rewards.
Depictions of practices such as bestiality.
Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
(i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent;
(ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.
Detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs.
Material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use.
Computer games will also be Refused Classification if they contain:
(i) illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards;
(ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic.
Macquarie University hosted a public debate on the politics of play as part of the university's GAME festival, organised by the Interactive Media Institute. The debate considered issues surrounding the creation of an R18+ classification for
video games in Australia and how interactive entertainment is treated compared to other forms of media such as films, as well as the impact of games on society.
One of the things that came out of the debate was the news that it seems that the already agreed introduction of an R18+ certificate for computer games looks unlikely to be introduced prior to the wider classification review.
The final report of the classification review is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2012. Even if the recommended changes to the classification scheme are adopted, it still is probably going to take another couple of years before
you're actually going to get an R18 you can apply for like a conventional classification that you have today, said David Emery from the Classification Branch, which is a public body supporting the operations of the Classification Board.
Emery said the legacy system of classification that Australia has been saddled with is a product of the R18 issue not being alive when the current classification scheme was created: Games are for kids, kids shouldn't have R
material, and that's how it was; we've ended up with a legacy system... the fact of the matter is that it took a long time for a head of steam to get up from the gaming community to call for R18. It's really only been the last 18 months it's come
onto the government's radar in a significant form.
The Australian Customs Service has set a new benchmark for the importation of adult films into Australia by confiscating two of the latest release US titles featuring vertically challenged people.
Midget Mania, Volumes 7 and 8 were confiscated by Customs agents in Brisbane last month and despite protestations from the importers, the films have not been returned after 28 days. Customs are not required to give any reasons for their
seizure of goods however it is widely understood that they are now treating the dwarf genre as an offensive fetish and are therefore RC (Refused Classification).
Eros Association CEO, Fiona Patten, said the new ruling was discriminatory to short-statured people and quite possibly offended the Federal Discrimination Act. One of the main hallmarks of adult films has been the fact that everyone and anyone
can get a go. Black or white, fat or thin, short or tall -- unlike Hollywood, everyone is celebrated for their own unique talents and styles , she said. It appears that Customs are trying to insinuate that when a large male adult actor has
sex with a female dwarf or midget, that there is an element of coercion involved because of the size difference. If they have other reasons, they should let industry know instead of shrouding these decisions in secrecy .
She said that Customs had become the new arbiters and enforcers of the Classification Act and were now stopping all imported adult films from overseas that they considered could possibly be Refused Classification if submitted. This denied
Australian distributors the chance to edit a film to meet Australian standards. When applied to magazines it denied distributors the right to post-print modify in order to get a classification. This is often the same material that is quite
legal to possess in Australia and legal to be delivered by Telstra onto your computer.
Customs were now routinely red-lining all shipments of adult material and spending many hours watching porn on the docks and looking at adult magazines under magnifying glasses. Ms Patten said that this represented a complete waste of
taxpayer's money and that Customs officers were there to stop drugs, weapons and exotic organisms at our borders and not to try and set the moral tone of the nation. We call on the Minister to put in place a moratorium on seizures of adult
material (unless child pornography is suspected) while the Australian Law Reform Commission review of the Classification Act is being completed , she said. The convergence of media has meant that Customs are now prosecuting people for
importing material via a boat or a plane, that is perfectly legal to import on a telephone line .
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) will make its Australian debut
at the Brisbane International Film Festival on Saturday 5th November.
It has been labelled a mad orgy of depravity and gore, a movie so disturbing and sickening it was banned in Britain [for a while].
But this week the film scuttles into Brisbane cinemas, untouched by censors and courting inevitable moral 'outrage'.
Queensland was once infamous for its movie censorship, with the state banning an average of five films a year until former premier Wayne Goss disbanded the review board in 1990. But now the state's Arts Minister Rachel Nolan is wisely refusing to
intervene, saying it's up to federal classifiers to approve films: This is the new Queensland and the Government and I, as Arts Minister, are not going to be some kind of moral censor.
However the Classification Review Board is set to examine the film's R18+ rating after a request from the NSW Attorney-General. A total of eight complaints have been made to the film censors. But the review will not be conducted until
November 28, allowing the film to premiere at the festival.
Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia is preparing a submission to the review board and is calling for the film to be banned in Australia.
Films like this are really promoting a very demeaning image of women and children, claimed national research officer Roslyn Phillips, urging Brisbane organisers to ditch the movie from its program.
Meanwhile University of Queensland psychology researcher Brock Bastian provided a puerile and generalised sound bite for the newspaper article. He claimed violent media, including films, could affect the behaviour of their viewers: It's not the
most healthy or best way to be spending your time and it may transfer into your interpersonal interactions in subtle ways . [perhaps having the occasional urge to molest a centipede].
The Brisbane International Film Festival runs from November 3 to 13. Tickets and more information are available via the BIFF website
An Iranian actress has been sentenced to a year in jail and 90 lashes for her role in a film about the country's artistic repression.
Marzieh Vafamehr was arrested appearing in My Tehran for Sale , which came under harsh criticism in conservative circles.
The film, produced in collaboration with Australia, tells the story of a young actress in Tehran whose theatre work is banned by the authorities. She is then forced to lead a secret life in order to express herself artistically.
The Fars news agency said the movie had been banned in Iran and was being distributed in the country illegally. The makers had also not been given permission to film in Tehran
Marzieh Vafamehr's lawyer has appealed the sentence.
My Tehran for Sale , an Australian film critical of Iran, will screen on New Zealand's Maori Television following reports its lead actress has been sentenced to jail and 90 lashes.
Directed by Iranian-Australian Granaz Moussavi and produced by Adelaide-based Cyan Films, My Tehran for Sale , tells the story of a young actress in contemporary Tehran whose stage work was banned by authorities She meets an
Australian-Iranian actor at an underground rage who offers her a chance for a new life free from oppression.
The film was never intended for release in Iran, but has been distributed illegally and condemned by the country's conservative commentators.
My Tehran for Sale screens on Maori Television on Saturday 5th November at 9.30pm.
Iranian actress Marzieh Vafemehr has been spared 90 lashes and further imprisonment for her role in the South Australian film My Tehran for Sale , Amnesty International has stated.
We are extremely pleased to hear that Marzieh has been released without being subjected to the cruel and degrading punishment of flogging, but the crackdown on filmmakers continues in Iran, the Herald Sun quoted Amnesty International's
Campaigns Manager, Hannah Harborow, as saying.
Marzieh seems to have been released after an appeal court reduced her imprisonment to three months and overturned the flogging sentence on Monday night, Harborow added.
A Melbourne milk bar owner who sold sexually explicit material among grocery shelves in his Blackburn South store has been fined
Xin Chen pleaded guilty to selling prohibited pornographic films and magazines. He was charged with selling unclassified films and publications, displaying category 1 (softcore) magazines without sealed wrapping and exposing category 2 (hardcore)
magazines that were not in a restricted area.
Police raided the store in February and seized 68 DVDs, 16 videos and 32 magazines.
Senior Constable Lisa Kelly was proud of her miserable work and said she was confident he would think twice before breaching Classification Act again.
Just recently the Classification Review presented its first proposals for discussion,
proposals that completely surprised us, allowing for industry co-regulation and admitting the failures of the Classification Act.
Why was everyone making sense all of a sudden? We decided to talk to Terry Flew, chair of the Classification Review, for more insight. Meet the man who wants to revolutionise video game classification in Australia.
Thousands of mobile phone apps released every week in Australia will be exempt from classification for the next two
years under a federal government plan to give mobile phone application creators and businesses clarity pending the ongoing review of Australia's classification system.
Currently, mobile apps are treated the same as video and computer games and are technically required to be classified by the classification board. But because of the huge volume of apps created every week, very few actually go through the system.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor, who will introduce the legislation to allow the exemption, said:
The current classification system never envisaged the technology powering smart phones, let alone the rapid development of online games or mobile phone apps.
These changes will allow most mobile phone and online games to be supplied without classification for the next two years, while retaining safeguards to protect children from computer games that are of concern.
The exemption will not apply to computer games likely to be refused classification and the classification board will retain the power to call in a game if it is likely to be classified M or above. The public will still be able to lodge a
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) will make its Australian debut
at the Brisbane International Film Festival in November. It will give local audiences a first look at what American critics are describing as a methodical snuff film , an unfortunate success and a dismal, nauseating and yet
bizarrely artful sequel .
Recently released in full in America, and to be shown cut n the UK, the film has been booked by festival director Richard Moore and guest curator Tim League for the 20th anniversary program of BIFF after the Australian Classification Board cleared
the uncut version for R18+ release earlier this year.
It's not the first time Moore has sparked controversy; while head of the Melbourne International Film Festival, his selection of Bruce laBruce's L.A. Zombie was followed by a ban, and an illegal screening.
Moore said he was not showing The Human Centipede 2 at the festival to create controversy but as a chance to present BIFF audiences with an Australian premiere of a hotly anticipated genre title. He said the movie was not being treated as one of
the showpiece films of the event.
Having seen the sequel himself Moore admitted the movie would not be everybody's cup of tea.
Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence opens at the Brisbane International Film Festival at midnight on November 5. BIFF runs from November 3 to 13. Tickets and more information are available via
the BIFF website
Professor Terry Flew, Commissioner in charge of the National Classification Scheme
Review has said:
In an age of media convergence, Australia needs a 21st century classification system that is more platform-neutral, concentrates government regulation on media content of most concern to the community, and a system that can be adapted to
accelerated media innovation.
The goals of classification in balancing individual rights with community standards and protection of children remain vitally important, but we need a new framework that minimises costs and regulatory burden, and does not penalise Australian
digital content industries in a hyper-competitive global media environment.
Drawing on over 2,400 submissions responding to its May Issues Paper, the Australian Law Reform Commission found that the existing classification framework is fragmented, approaches content inconsistently across media platforms, and is confusing
for industry and the wider community.
The ALRC has now released the National Classification Scheme Review Discussion Paper [pdf]
that puts forward 43 proposals for reform on which it is seeking public input.
These proposals focus on the introduction of a new Classification of Media Content Act covering classification on all media platforms, online, offline and television. The ALRC proposes what media content should continue to be classified, who
should classify it, and who should have responsibility for enforcement.
The proposed new framework envisages:
a greater role for industry in classifying content, allowing government regulators to focus on the content that generates the most community concern, and ensure access to adult content is properly restricted;
content will be classified using the same categories, guidelines and markings whether viewed on television, at the cinema, on DVD or online;
changes to classification categories, with age references, PG 8+ and T 13+ (Teen), to help parents choose content for their children;
the Australian-wide Commonwealth taking on full responsibility for administering and enforcing the new scheme, rather than delegating this to individual states or territories.