Behind the scene
Award-winning director takes on the MPAA
The line up of films for this years’ Bangkok International Film Festival is very impressive with over 100 films to be shown over the 10-day period from the 19th July.
But there is also a wealth of talented directors showing their work, with some of the more unusual films on show. These are the films unlikely to be seen as general releases, either in the home Thai market, or worldwide. Independent American film makers often complain about the ratings system, and one film to be shown at the Bangkok festival, which hits the subject head on is, “This Film Is Not Yet Rated”. It’s a film about its own industry and asks “Who are the people who decide what can be seen and not seen”?
The production comes from Kirby Dick, whose filmmaking career spans 20 years, spoke of his concern about the way the American ratings board works. He comments, "Violent films get through almost unscathed, but the ratings have this excessive focus against sexuality that puts independent film at a disadvantage."
Kirby was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for Twist of Faith, a documentary film about child abuse and the Catholic Church. Earlier in his career he won best feature film for “Sick: the Life and Death of Bob Flanagan Supermachosist”. That film was a much heralded documentary about the writer and performer Bob Flanagan who died from cystic fibrosis at the age of 43. It’s not too difficult to see that Kirby Dick looks at subjects many other directors prefer not to deal with.
This Film is Not Yet Rated looks at the whole issue of film rating in the US and how the system is weighted against the independent film maker. Whilst not making direct accusations there is enough suggestion there to make the viewer questions the whole system. In comparison to Europe and the UK, where at one time there was almost a vigilante watchdog, whose prime intention seemed to be to insist everyone watch children’s programmes, America is still way behind and it would be considered conservative at the very least, and undoubtedly restrictive to most liberal minded Americans. Interestingly an announcement has been made recently that from this year, 2007, the MPAA will let filmmakers cite the certificates given to other films, and have lifted the veil of secrecy surrounding the members of the board.
The Bangkok International Film Festival opens on 19th July and runs for 10 days to the 29th July. The venue for the film screenings is the new Central World complex in the heart of Bangkok, which is regarded as one of the top malls in the whole of Asia. For further information, visit www.bangkokfilm.org