SA actors register dismay at film’s banning

2013-07-26 00:00

THE South African Guild of Actors (Saga) added its voice to the protest against the banning of the film Of Good Report that had been scheduled to open the Durban International Film Festival last week.

In a statement, Saga said a particular concern is that, “by its own admission”, the Classification Committee of the Film and Publications Board (FPB) reached their decision “after viewing just 28 minutes and 16 seconds of the film without subjecting the work to balanced contextual scrutiny”.

“Discounting the possibility raised elsewhere that the Film and Publications Board has a poor grasp of its own mandate, Saga views this incident as a bureaucratic attempt to stifle artistic expression, public debate and the free flow of information.”

According to Saga chairperson Jack Devnarain, the action of the FPB “oversimplifies the ugly truths portrayed in the film by reducing the scope of debate to ‘child pornography’.

“This is unacceptable in the context of the rampant sexual abuse of women and children in South Africa,” it said.

“The purpose of filmmakers, performers and creative artists is to open dialogue about the issues that society needs to confront, then condemn or embrace,” said Devnarain.

“The FPB has just shut down that dialogue and its decision deserves to be challenged.”

Saga called on the FPB to revert to established practice and to allow festival screenings of films to be exempt from classification, in line with section 22 of the Film and Publications Act.

The guild also pledged its support to the film festival organisers and the producers of the film in appealing the decision of the FPB and to any constitutional challenge that may arise.

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