The Spear raises its head again

2012-07-27 13:06

Fresh from the Zanzibar International Film Festival and a tour of public consultation around amendments to its classification policies and age restrictions, the Film and Publications Board (FPB) attended the Durban International Film Festival this week.

They used the opportunity to engage with the film industry around obtaining classification certificates for movies – and also address the latest issues around the controversial 16N classification of Brett Murray’s painting The Spear.

The FPB’s Prince Ndamase announced that the Goodman Gallery will be informed within a few days of the appeal date against the 16N classification of the controversial painting of Jacob Zuma with his penis exposed.

Ndamase stressed the independence of the appeal tribunal, which was selected by the Minister of Communications and which will be chaired by Karthy Govender, described as “an esteemed individual.”

He said that the FPB stands by its classification and will present its case to the tribunal.

When asked whether the FPB were used as political pawns in the saga, he said that the complaints they responded to were a concerned mother whose child had seen the image while she was doing a news search on The Spear and a “similar second complaint.”

In his assessment of the FPB’s role to protect children and allow sensitive viewers to receive warnings, Ndamase suggested that more complex classifications were being called for by South Africans, who the FPB “are in synch with” after national consultation with “the general public, religious groups, traditional leaders, government stakeholders and filmmakers.”

He said there have been requests to create categories for warnings against sexual violence and against the display of “criminal techniques” in films showing rape or criminal activity.

Part of the FPB’s mission in Durban seems to be a charm offensive.

They stressed that they are timeously servicing independent film distributors’ requests – in light of criticism of bureaucratic red tape dogging the system in the past.

Ndamase was not shy to share his own views on films, saying he dislikes horror movies.

He also praised a new local film Uhlanga – The Mark for winning five awards in Zanzibar.

A story about a young boy and his mother who are cast out of their village, Uhlanga was developed within the community.

“I hope that Uhlanga – The Mark will be an inspiration for the kind of content we should be making – and also the quality of that content,” said Ndamase.

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