It's been a boom time for censorship of late and now the police in Birmingham have prevented the showing of a new film made in the city, 1 Day , which was released last week.
Anybody else in the country can see Penny Woolcock's hip-hop
musical, set around Handsworth. Cast from local people, 1 Day depicts the pressures of gang life for a young man who has 24 hours to repay a debt. While the film classification board was happy to certify it as a 15, a Birmingham police officer
advised the city's cinemas against showing 1 Day for fear it would provoke gang violence.
Despite coming from Birmingham, I can't say I was in a huge rush to see the film. But after an email appeal from independent film network group Shooting
People to protest against the ban, I was first in the queue last Friday for the film's opening night. Thus proving that, more than anything, censorship has the effect of making any artwork more appealing, more glamorous and certainly more exciting than
it might originally have been.
A Dudley cinema has backed out of showing a Birmingham gangland film.
Showcase Cinema at Castlegate, pulled 1 Day as the ramifications of a censorship row between West Midlands Police and the filmakers Vertigo Films rumble on.
in Birmingham were the first to announce they were not showing the movie, which was released last Friday, after taking police advice .
And now Showcase have followed suit, by pulling it from Midland cinemas.
Karen Fox, general
manager of Showcase UK Theatres, said: Showcase has made the decision not to screen the film 1 Day at its cinemas in the West Midlands region.
However, we are screening the film in our other UK locations.
Despite claiming they
were not trying to censor the film the police have admitted a police officer had contacted cinemas criticising the film.
The film's director Penny Woolcock, said: Censoring this film is short sighted, shameful and lets a lot of people down:
Even if 1 Day did glamorise gun violence, which it certainly does not, I do not think it is the function of the local police to go round saying what films should be shown and which ones shouldn't. She added: Let people decide for
Birmingham police chiefs are to issue an on-screen warning about gun crime before a controversial new movie about gang life in Birmingham is shown on the big screen.
1 Day tells the story of two rival gangs caught up in the underworld of drugs and
guns. The movie was filmed around Birmingham and stars local actors.
Now police say they will place an advert ahead of any other screenings to highlight the real dangers inherent in gang-related criminality . The advert features an
illuminated headstone with the catchline: Once upon a time, they were dying to join a gang.
The film's writer-director, Penny Woolcock, said: The film shows how people get sucked into that life and it clearly spells out the consequences,
which is people end up dead or in prison. The film absolutely does not glamorise that lifestyle. It has a clear moral message.
A force spokesman added: Our general advice is for individual cinemas to make a responsible and informed decision
based upon local circumstances and taking into account the views of their local communities.