‘Setback for SA film industry’

2013-07-24 00:00

THE National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has described the banning of Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s film Of Good Report as “unfortunate”.

In a statement the organisation said it was always encouraged when a local film was selected to open an international festival, including the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

“It is therefore unfortunate that this opportunity to showcase local talent with a world premiere at DIFF has been lost due to a refused classification,” the statement added.

Of Good Report had been due to have its world premiere at DIFF on Thursday, July 18, but the film was pulled when the Film and Publications Board (FPB) “refused classification” for its alleged depiction of child pornography.

The decision about the film, which centres on a high school teacher who becomes obsessed with a 16-year-old pupil, was allegedly made by the board after watching just 28 minutes of the 104-minute film.

The FPB’s decision to prevent the screening of the movie has been roundly condemned, with UKZN academic Keyan Tomaselli likening it to “apartheid-style censorship”.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, which runs the festival, and the film-makers intend to appeal against the decision and are willing to take the matter to the Constitutional Court if the appeal fails.

In its statement, the NFVF said the FPB and DIFF were key role players in the film industry in South Africa. “It is against this backdrop that the NFVF welcomes the FPB’s initiative to host a workshop at the DIFF on the classification guidelines,” the statement added.

“Film classification is a key aspect in the business of film and the NFVF believes that such workshops are critical in the empowerment of local film-makers with necessary information on classification and allow the platform for engagement between FPB and the film industry on matters affecting the expressions through the medium of film.

“We trust that this process will be speedily resolved and the outcome is in the best interest of the development of the South African film industry.”

The FPB workshop on classification will take place in the Pool Deck Room at the Blue Waters Hotel in Durban from 9 am to 10 am today.

DIFF continues until July 28.

For more information go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za

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