SASF joins Inxeba producers in court challenge over porn rating

2018-03-02 14:50
Inxeba poster. (Supplied)

Inxeba poster. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – The South African Screen Federation on Friday said it would be joining the producers of the film Inxeba when they approach the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to get its porn rating overturned.

"In a gross violation of the right to freedom of expression, the film is now effectively banned in the country after a decision that smacks of apartheid-era censorship," said SASF spokesperson Rehad Desai.

In a statement, Mad Moth Communications' David Alex Wilson said the producers of the film, through their attorneys Webber Wentzel, had served a lawsuit on February 24 seeking an urgent interdict to overturn the reclassification of the film.

The Film and Publication Board Appeals Tribunal overturned the original classification of the 16LS and gave the film a rating of X18, classifying it in the same category as hardcore porn, Wilson said.

The matter is expected to be heard on March 6.

READ: What's the fuss about Inxeba?

SASF, which is an umbrella body for numerous local film and TV organisations, said the film is about a gay relationship set in the context of a Xhosa initiation ceremony.

Desai said the Film and Publication Board Tribunal had justified the rating by saying the film "lacked artistic merit", even though it had been shortlisted for an Oscar and nominated for eight SA Film and Television Awards. 

"The real reasons for the rating seems to be political pressure and homophobia, since the film is far less explicit than Fifty Shades of Grey (rated 16). In fact, Inxeba’s original rating was also 16 and only changed after violent protests at cinemas and death threats against some of the actors."

Desai said the fight was not only about the film.

"It is about the right to freedom of expression of all artists to contribute to democratic debate. The unjustified censorship can have a chilling effect on the creation of any work that might be considered controversial.

"It also denies audience members the right to decide for themselves what they wish to see," said Desai.  

SASF is represented by the Legal Resources Centre.

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Read more on:    the wound  |  inxeba  |  johannesburg  |  entertainment  |  movies  |  court

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