There’s a good interview with Kirby Dick, director of the indy documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, in the current issue of Bitch Magazine. The film is about the ratings board of the Motion Picture Association of America – the folks who decide if each film is “G,” “PG,” “R” or “NC-17.”
Three points of interest (including a chance for you to fight crime from your very own home!):
1) Homophobic & Sexist Double Standards In Movie Ratings
The MPAA uses a double-standard for films with queer content. For example, the same year that “American Pie” — featuring who-knows how many scenes of masturbation and one scene of apple pie-bumping — was rated “R,” the lesbian-themed “But I’m A Cheerleader” was forced to remove a fully clothed, “very tame” mastrubation scene to avoid getting an “NC-17” rating. (For most movies, “NC-17” is a commercial kiss of death.)
According to the blog Boy Culture, the MPAA is not only homophobic but also sexist: “The film convincingly argues that the MPAA discriminates against sexual pleasure, particularly female sexual pleasure.”
2) Conflict of What?
Here’s a negative review of “This Film Is Not Yet Rated.” The review is written by Harry Forbes, Director of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. From Forbes’ review:
To uncover the identities of the MPAA ratings board — ordinary parents who quite logically are kept anonymous to protect them from pressures from the studios and filmmakers — Dick hires a private investigator, Becky Altringer of Ariel Investigations, to surreptitiously stake out MPAA headquarters in Encino, Calif., snooping around the guard’s station in front of the building, going through the garbage of board members at their homes and using other similarly questionable methods.
What Mr. Forbes neglected to mention in his review is that he, Harry Forbes, is himself one of the MPAA ratings board members whose identity is revealed by “This Film Is Not Yet Rated.” (This is pointed out on the film’s blog). It’s dubious for the subject of a film to write a review of that same film, but to do so without disclosing such an enormous conflict of interest demonstrates an appalling lack of ethics.
3) Take A Bite Out Of Crime!
Have you ever wanted to be a crime fighter? Well, here’s your chance! Check out this quote from the Bitch Magazine interview:
Before I submitted the film, I called up the administration of the ratings board, and I said, “Can you assure me that there will be no copies made of this?” And they assured me, in writing, in e-mail, and on the phone, that not only would no copies be made, but that only the raters would see it. Well, I subsequently learned that an MPAA attorney had seen it. I learned that [MPAA president] Dan Glickman had seen it…
I got a call from an MPAA attorney who said “Look, Kirby, I have to tell you, we have made a copy of your film. But you don’t have to worry, because it’s safe in my vault.” [Laughs.] I can tell you that wasn’t reassuring. In a way I wasn’t surprised, but on the other hand, there’s such hypocrisy there. The MPAA has launched this huge antipiracy campaign, and on their website they define even one act of unauthorized duplication of material as piracy. And that’s exactly what they did.
I checked out the MPAA website, and it is indeed crawling with anti-piracy messages. Fortunately, they also provide a free phone number to call and report piracy to the MPAA: 1-800-662-6797. Or, if you prefer, there’s a web form you can fill out.
I’m certainly planning to call and report that Dan Glickman, CEO and President of the MPAA, conspired to illegally copy a copyrighted movie. I strongly encourage all “Creative Destruction” readers to do the same.