Irish video rental stores and other outlets face fines for supplying children with DVDs classified for older viewers.
Legislation makes it an offence for the first time to breach film classification certificates in over-the- counter rentals and sales and offenders can be fined up to €2,000 or even jailed for three years.
It means younger DVD library members may be asked to provide proof of their age if they try to rent a film with an age specific rating such as 12A, 15A, 16 or 18 and could be refused certain films even if they have parental permission to view it
The laws also make changes to the Film Censor's Office which is now called the Irish Film Classification Office and no longer has powers to ban a film outright [A bit hard to believe! Somebody should try
resubmitting Manhunt 2 to test this out].
Censor John Kelleher, who becomes director of film classification, welcomed the move, which he said reflected the profound changes in Ireland's recent past. We have moved far away from the nanny state moral guardian censorship of yesteryear
towards an acceptance of the general principle that, in a mature society, adults should be free, subject to the law, to make their own choices.
Today, we don't censor, we classify. We don't decline to explain or justify our decisions. Rather, we welcome the fact that we can provide the public, and parents, with age-related classification and consumer advice. We have gone from stop sign
The censor still has a role in protecting under-18s, however, and his powers in that area have been strengthened with specific reference in the law to his duty to apply restrictive classifications where a film is likely to cause harm to
Much of the existing law, the 85-year-old Censorship of Film Act of 1923, survives and the censor still has to take into consideration scenes that render a film indecent, obscene or blasphemous or would tend to inculcate principles
contrary to public morality.
As part of the changes, a scale of fees is being introduced to ease the cost of applying for classification for independent film makers, foreign movie distributors and art house films that get a very limited cinema release. Instead of paying €12
per minute of film for every copy distributed to a cinema, they will pay €3.
The Irish Department of Finance has published recommendations for around €5.3bn worth of public spending cuts; €37m across Arts and Culture, which includes the transfer of the Irish Film Board's functions to a new enterprise agency and
discontinuation of the investment fund.
The report proposes a Mega Censor:
The merger of ComReg with the new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (the result of merging the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and the regulatory functions of the RTÉ Authority) because of
the growing convergence between the communications and broadcasting industries.
Transferring the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) into the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)
Kissing Candice is a 2017 Ireland / UK drama by Aoife McArdle.
Starring Ann Skelly, Ryan Lincoln and Conall Keating.
17 year old Candice longs to escape her seaside town and finds solace in her imagination. When her disillusionment calcifies into an obsession with a troubled stranger, she becomes entangled with a dangerous local gang.
THE Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) has upheld an 18 rating for an Irish film by a debut director Aoife McArdle despite the film being given a 15 rating in the UK.
Kissing Candice is a youth oriented film about a young girl in a border town who first dreams of and then meets a young boy who's connected to a gang that is terrorising her town.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been shown at other youth-orientated festivals.
Wildcard Distribution is the Irish distributor for the film and its managing director Patrick O'Neill has said that the company was surprised when it was given an 18 cert:
We just thought the rating was a little harsh for the film, we just thought something along the lines of a 15A or a 16 would have been more in keeping with the content of the film.
IFCO's 18 rating has the consumer advice: contains scenes of strong drugs abuse, strong violence and language and strong sex references.
The UK's BBFC was less severe in its rating of the film, giving it an uncut 15 rating for very strong language, strong threat, drug misuse.
Kissing Candice is released in Irish cinemas on 22 June
IFCO has published its annual report covering 2018.
It notes that teh number of cinema films passed is about the same as the previous year with 448 releases in 2018. However it reports that video DVD submissions (presumably including Blu-ray) has declined by 15% to 2621 submission in 2018.
IFCO reports on 2 appeals in 2018, both appeals were rejected and the rating remained unaltered. The two films were the 18 rated The First Purge , and the 12A rated Bumblebee.
The number of complaints received by IFCO has always been minimal. IFCO writes:
During 2018, IFCO received 18 complaints from the public which related specifically to classifications awarded. The most received in respect of any one title was 6 in the case of SHOW DOGS, a comedy classified PG for Mild violence, language and
rude humour. Of these, two were from people who had not seen the film.
IFCO has also just upgraded its website to make it a bit smarter. IFCO acknowledged that it needs to up its game in interacting with the public. IFCO wrote in the report:
It is to be hoped that the updated website will be more visited and perhaps encourage people to contact IFCO. All constructive input, whether positive or negative is very welcome and informs as to people's expectations of IFCO service
Downton Abbey is a 2019 UK period drama by Michael Engler.
Starring Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith and Tuppence Middleton.
Adapted from the hit TV series Downton Abbey that tells the story of the Crawley family, a wealthy owner of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.
The Downton Abbey movie may seem family-friendly, but gay references have caused a stir for the Irish film censor. The Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) revealed that the film was initially given a 12A rating due to several offensive
references to the sexuality of a gay butler, Thomas Barrow. A subplot in which Barrow visits a gay club in York sees the bar raided by police who are verbally abusive towards the gay men, describing them as 'perverts' and 'queers'.
In fact filmmakers had consulted a historical adviser who said that Barrow's experiences are an accurate depiction of gay life in interwar Britain. The plot was also praised by LGBT+ activists.
So the movie's distributor Universal were no doubt confident in appealing IFCO's decision, seeking a PG rating. The appeal was duly won and the film has now been re-rated to PG for brief homophobic reference.
The appeals board felt an audience familiar with its characters and setting would have been aware of the storyline about a gay character, so they changed the rating to a PG.
Ger Connolly, the director of IFCO, told The Times that the 12A classification had been a margin call. He said:
My decision came down to the use of words like 'pervert' in the context of a character's sexuality. For me, that moved it into the 12A rating.
Connolly was clearly a lone voice in deciding on a 12A rating and received no support in the UK where the film was always rated PG uncut by the BBFC for mild threat, language.