“Our decision is final.”

It’s four in the morning here and I just finished a long chat with a representative of the OFLC.

“Ashley and Kisha” has not been classified, which meant that the OFLC could have given it a festival exemption to play at MUFF.

But OFLC refused to give it a festival exemption on the basis that my previous three films were classified X.

I asked why Destricted, which features work by Larry Clark, who’s previous film was refused classification, was given a festival exemption to play the same night as Ashley and Kisha, across town at ACMI, a and they could not answer.

I asked why Destricted, which features brutally mercenary depictions of the most loveless anal sex, was given a festival exemption and they could not answer.

Their suggestion was that we submit “Ashley and Kisha” for rush classification, in the hopes that we would receive a R classification.


When I asked why 9 Songs, which feature actors performing cunelingus, felatio, ejaculation, and penetration was given an R, while our films which depict actual lovers are given an X, they could not answer.

When I asked why Shortbus, which features, among other things, an actor masturbating and then ejaculating on his face was given an R, while our film, which explore sexual pleasure inside the context of committed real-life loving relationships, they could not answer.

When I asked why numerous videos from the Sinclair Institute, which feature various sex acts performed by paid models, and presented under the guise of education are given R , while our film, which are held in the libraries of The Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana, Planned Parenthood, The Gay Mens Health Crisis, The San Francisco Sex Information Hotline and many other health and education organizations are given an X, they could not answer.

They have told me the process is subjective and imperfect; yet this process has a “perfect” track record of marginalizing our films.

Now they would ask that we once again submit our work to this subjective and imperfect process, pay $1,000 for the privilege of doing so, against the hope that the fifth time’s the charm.

I may be a fool, but I’m not that kind of fool.

Writing about “Ashley and Kisha” Megan Spencer said, “The sweetest thing – Kisha & Ashley is one of the sweetest love stories you’re ever likely to see committed to film. The Comstocks once again put their perfect documentary formula to good use – true love and real sex – on screen; what’s not to like?!”

True love and real sex, what’s not to like indeed?

Obviously the OFLC has no problem with real sex. It has granted its R classification to 9 Songs, Shortbus, and many other videos containing real sex. It has granted a festival exemption to Destricted, which contains real sex.

One can only conclude that the problem the OFLC has is with true love, and what a pity that is; for this film, for the people who wanted to see it, and for Australia.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 24, 2007 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    It’s ridiculous and embarrassing and it drives me crazy. This country is mad, I know.

    I would say the only way to do anything would be to mount a media campaign protesting the issue. It worked with Romance in 2000 (although that, of course, was a “serious” film – The OFLC is OK with actual sex as long as nobody is enjoying it.) Film critics and civil libertarians kicked up a stink about Romance and the ban was eventually reversed.

    That’s it, I’m sending an email…

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Wolstencroft wrote a scathing open letter to the OFLC that, as far as I’ve heard, has been completely ignored. Comstock took actions into his own hands and contacted the OFLC himself for further clarification and basically got the “hey, the system’s not perfect” blowoff. Tony’s also got a list of links to news stories surrounding the matter. [...]

  2. [...] had a film banned by a liberal, western democracy; not once, but twice. If it had been Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or even Malaysia… ┬áBut Australia? There’s a [...]

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