The Australian film censor has banned a film from screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival, a work described as gay zombie porn .
Festival director Richard Moore received a letter yesterday from the Film Classification Board
director Donald McDonald, stating that L.A. Zombie , the latest offering from Canadian provocateur Bruce LaBruce, could not be screened as it would in his opinion be refused classification.
The festival is not generally required to submit
films for classification, but after reading a synopsis of the plot of L.A. Zombie , which features wound penetration and implied sex with corpses, the Classification Board requested a DVD to watch, and then refused to issue an exemption.
Banned gay horror porn film LA Zombie is still scheduled to screen in Melbourne on August 29 in defiance of the federal censor.
The movie, from American director Bruce LaBruce, was scheduled to appear in the Melbourne International Film
Festival, but on July 20 it was 'refused classification' by the Censorship Board, meaning it could not legally be screened in Australia.
Despite that, Richard Wolstencroft, director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, yesterday announced
his intention to stage a public disobedience freedom of speech event on August 29.
The illegal screening of a banned zombie porn film went ahead last night after police failed to arrive at the viewing.
LA Zombie played to a crowd of about 200 people at 1000 £ Bend - a cafe-bar in the city - as part of the Melbourne
Underground Film Festival.
The audience cheered as some of the more shocking scenes, including a zombie sexually penetrating a dying man's open chest wound, played out on the big screen.
The ban made screening the movie illegal but festival
director Richard Wolstencroft said he was defying the ban to support freedom of speech: When MIFF dropped the ball [by not showing it] we felt we had to do something . This is about freedom of speech … I believe in it. You can't just protect
speech you agree with.
In the latest instalment of the zombie film saga, Victoria Police raided the home of Richard Wolstencroft, the director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF), seeking a copy of the banned film LA Zombie .
movie, by American underground filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, was screened by Wolstencroft before about 200 people on August 29 despite effectively being forbidden from public exhibition in censorial Australia.
The Censor Board banned the film, which
was originally slated to appear in the Melbourne International Film Festival in July 2010.
However, on August 11, Wolstencroft announced his intention to stage a public disobedience freedom of speech event — an illegal screening of
the film — on August 29. The screening went ahead as planned.
The police didn't attend at the time but now turned up on Wolstencroft's doorstep with a warrant to enter his premises and search for any copies of the film.
It is believed
the police considered removing every DVD in Wolstencroft's house, as well as computers containing two movies on which he is working. They were eventually dissuaded by his insistence that he had destroyed his only copy of the film, on DVD, after the
August screening. Wolstencroft also admitted to police that the August 29 screening had gone ahead and that he was solely responsible for it.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said Wolstencroft would face court at a later date.
appeared to be quite shaken by this morning's events saying: I've never been charged with so much as jay-walking, he told Fairfax. I find the situation that a little festival is being pursued in this way quite distressing and depressing.
Australian Sex Party convenor and Victorian Upper House candidate Fiona Patten has hit out at Victoria's classification laws following a police raid on a festival director's home, for showing a banned film earlier this year.
Police searched the
home of Melbourne Underground Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft last week in an attempt to uncover a copy of banned Bruce LaBruce gay zombie porn film, L.A. Zombie .
Wolstencroft screened L.A. Zombi e in protest in August
after the Censor Board refused to okay the film for the festival.
At the time, Wolstencroft told the Star Observer the film's gay themes played a part in the reason the film had been banned.
Patten said Victoria's
classification laws need to change: It just goes to show how archaic Victoria's laws are that Richard could face jail or a $240,000 fine for showing a film that's been seen widely around the world, to adults who've paid to see it. Despite years of
campaigning, the government has refused to to act and now someone could be facing jail for showing a mainstream film to adults. It shows the classification laws desperately need a change.
It just shows how Victorian,
Victoria's laws are. I think people in this state are far more progressive than this and it's not in-line with how the public feels.
Melbourne Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft says he is now considering his options, in the latest instalment of a saga over the screening of a banned film.
In August 2010, Wolstencroft organised a screening of Bruce LaBruce's LA
Zombie . In November, police raided his house, looking for copies of the film, and a police spokeswoman confirmed that he would face court.
In the latest development Wolstencroft said:.
Last Thursday, I
was informed that I had a summons to pick up at my local police station. Attached to the summons was a diversion notice, agreeing to settle the matter without a felony on my record and with a donation to charity.
said that he was thinking through the implications of the diversion notice, which is a procedure intended to divert mainly first-time offenders from the criminal justice system.
The gay zombie porn flick that caused so much grief in Australia has been included in the line-up for New Zealand's Out Takes 2011 event.
LA Zombie follows an alien zombie who roams the streets of Los Angeles in search of dead bodies
and gay sex, an activity that reveals a gift of shagging the deceased back to life. The work by Canadian provocateur Bruce LaBruce has full-frontal nude scenes and zombies with prosthetic cucumber-shaped penises. Starring French porn star Francois
Sagat, it features wound penetration and implied sex with corpses.
The film was supposed to screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia last August, but was banned by the Australian Film 'Classification' Board.
time the festival's director Richard Moore told The Age that LaBruce's blend of sex and violence can be confronting, but I would argue that within the context of the festival, it is nonsensical and patronising to not allow people to decide what they
want to see.
LA Zombie had its UK premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London in October and it was reported by The Yorker that at least one-third of the audience walked out stupefied .
The film is to screen at Auckland's
Rialto Cinemas on Monday 6 June and Wellington's Paramount Theatre on Friday 10 June. The Out Takes programme warns that almost all of the movie's content may offend those of delicate disposition.
LA Zombie has been given an R18 rating and will screen in Auckland and Wellington at the glbt film festival. The film was banned by Australian censors.
The film follows an alien zombie who roams the streets of Los Angeles in search of
dead bodies and gay sex, an activity that reveals a gift of shagging the deceased back to life. It has full-frontal nude scenes and zombies with prosthetic cucumber-shaped penises. Starring French porn star Francois Sagat, it features wound
penetration and implied sex with corpses.
The Herald on Sunday says The Society for Promotion of Community Standards is shocked at the decision to allow the film to be screened, and has applied to the Film and Literature Board of Review to have
the decision re-examined.
David Lane, the society's executive director, claimed the film appeared to breach the law by including acts of torture and extreme violence, and by emphasising sexual conduct with bodies of dead people.
Chief Programmer Simon Fulton is confident LA Zombie won't be banned. He says it's definitely for a certain taste: It's grimy and grubby, some people will love it and some won't. It's a silly sort of zombie horror porn thing, but it's loads of fun to
Fulton says the film's use of an alien sexual technique to turn bodies into zombies is what has worried censors in some countries, but he says it's not necrophilia.
The annual Out Takes film festival opens tonight at Wellington's Paramount Cinema and runs until June 12.
This year it includes one of the most controversial and talked-about films of the past year - LA Zombie.
The film has become
notorious after it was banned from screening at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. Directed by American Bruce LaBruce, it was refused classification by Australia's Classification Board.
The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards is fighting to try and prevent LA Zombie from being shown the Out Takes film festival.
It was given an R18 rating by the Classification Office, with the warning it includes horror,
violence, sex scenes and content that may disturb .
The Secretary of Internal Affairs has granted the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards (SPCS) leave to apply for a review of the decision, which will happen on 3 June, three days
before the film is due to show at the Auckland leg of Out Takes at Rialto in Newmarket.
Out Takes says SPCS has also applied for an interim restriction order that would block it from screening LA Zombie, despite the fact the decision to give it an
R18 rating is going to be reviewed anyway.