BBFC: Why certify *new* films for Home Video release?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Reader, Dec 18, 2002.

  1. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    I've a quick question about the BBFC.
    Given the fast turnaround of NEW films from cinematic to home video release (the average gap between each release being 6-8 months) why do such films have to be re-certified by the BBFC?
    I can understand that on odd occasions it is desirable for the film to have a different rating for home viewing, and I can also understand that older films will have to go through the classification process for home releases. However, surely each NEW film could be dual certified when first submitted for theatrical showing:
    eg "Film certified '15' for theatrical viewing for sex and violence and 15 for Home viewing for sex and violence"
    Such actions would result in savings for distributors which could well be critical for getting films with limited exposure and (therefore) low projected sell-through sales onto DVD.
    However, I suspect over the years the British certification system has evolved into what is, in effect, a government mandated 'tax' on film distributors and insisting recently certified films are resubmitted for home release is simply done to collect more money.
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    They are A- Control Freaks and B-It lets them extort more money from a studio [​IMG]
     
  3. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    The law requires the films to be re-certified for home video. The BBFC is only carrying out what it is required of it.
     
  4. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    But Julian, you know as much as I do that most Home Video releases are planned before the films hit the cinemas.
    Why can't a studio submitting a film say "This is the same cut as we are going to release on home video" and get the BBFC to dual certify it on one appraisal?
    It seems pointless for a studio to have to submit the exact same content and pay for it a few months later.
     
  5. andrew markworthy

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    In 99 per cent of cases, the recertification does look dumb, but there's a good reason, best explained by a real example.

    A movie a few years ago showed a person making a terrorist bomb. Seen at the cinema, the action was too quick for anyone to work out the details of what was being done. However, if someone had a video, they could freeze frame and work out how to make an explosive device (and bear in mind that in the UK we've been sensitive about terrorism for a little while longer than in the USA ...). Thus, the movie was submitted in a revised form (the director approved it, by the way) for home video. Likewise, something seen as a brief image in a movie (e.g. pages from pronographic magazines) might not classify as offensive when seen in a movie theatre, might be offensive if someone can use a freeze-frame.

    Now of course you can say that this sort of stuff can be so easily downloaded from the web, what's the point? However, the BBFC's job is to govern the media for which it is responsible.

    Incidentally, the BBFC is not a government organisation - it is a body established by the film industry for its own self-regulation. Nor are a lot of the cuts that they impose absolute bans. Most of the cuts are so that the movie can get a certificate for the desired age group. The BBFC coding system is far more age-conscious than the American system. It will allow a lot of stuff like head butts, etc, in 18 certificate movies, but it is very fussy about allowing younger people to see the same stuff.
     
  6. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  7. andrew markworthy

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  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Again, why bother looking at a movie? Just order The Anarchist's Cookbook from Amazon. Everything you need to know about bombmaking
     
  9. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    I still don't see why they can't certify the film for both mediums at the same time: a film could be certified as 15 for the cinema and 18 for home release over 1 viewing.

    Sure, some films will be altered, in which case resubmit the film (as with older films) and some films may be unreleasable on a home format as submitted for the cinema release, but again the BBFC could advise this after the cinematic certification without having to review the film again.
     

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