Film and Publication Board distances itself from Inxeba censorship

Scene from Inxeba (The Wound) Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The Film and Publication Board (FPB) on Thursday issued a responding affidavit distancing itself from the Appeals Tribunal following the lawsuit filed by the Inxeba (The Wound) producers.

READ: Inxeba, The Wound co-writer speaks out

The Appeals Tribunal overturned the FPB's classification rating of 16 LS and gave the film a rating of X18, classifying the film in the same category as hardcore pornography. This meant that the film had to be removed from all cinemas and could only be found at adult shops.

The FPB said in its affidavit that its Council and Board were separate entities from the Appeals Tribunal and affirmed that it did not agree with censoring the movie.

“It is important that the position of the Board should be made clear in public. The FPB it does not support the award," FPB in the affidavit.

The FPB further stated that it did not agree with the X rating given to Inxeba and it had rated the film 16LS instead. The FPB made it clear that the X rating was imposed by the Tribunal and that it was not a rating requested by the complainants.

The Appeals Tribunal overturned the FPB's classification rating of 16 LS and gave the film a rating of X18, classifying the film in the same category as hardcore pornography. The tribunal was chaired by Christopher Mamathuntsha and included Professor AS Magwaza, Nonkoliso Sigcau, Manko Buffel, Lutendo Malada, Sizwe Snail Ka Mtuze, and Lihle Mapipa Ndlovu.

READ: 'Inxeba' embarrassing: leader of traditional religion institute

Some of the reasons for the X18 rating that were given by the Appeals Tribunal were that there was a misrepresentation of traditional initiation practice; that the movie shows explicit sexual activities; there are scenes of violence, substance and alcohol abuse; and that there was use of degrading language towards Xhosa women and girls.

The Congress of Traditional Leaders (Contralesa) Gauteng, The Man and Boy Foundation and The Appeals Tribunal filed notice that they would oppose the interdict.

“Given the current rating of the film, it is also illegal and a criminal offence punishable by a 5-year prison sentence to view it anywhere on any platform, either free or paid for, legitimate or pirated. We are working hard to find legal means to make it available to fans,” said Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution.

Kuun also noted with concern that while Contralesa Gauteng and The Man and Boy Foundation, both of which filed an appeal with the tribunal based on the perceived cultural insensitivity towards the Xhosa initiation tradition, requested a revised rating of 18, the Appeals Tribunal reclassified the film as X18, meaning that it could only be distributed from designated adult premises (sex shops), and forcing the immediate removal of the film from cinemas.

“We find this ruling sinister, as the ‘X18’ rating was not requested by the appellants, and it cannot be reasonably justified by anyone who has seen the film,” Kuun added. “It is also worrying that the Appeals Tribunal reached this decision without giving the distributor and producer a proper opportunity to make submissions on the matter. This is plainly unlawful.”

Kuun said that distributor (Indigenous Film Distribution) and producers (Urucu Media) and their legal team (Webber Wentzel) would be in court next week.

African News Agency

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