Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Censorship at the Canadian Border

Inside Out, Toronto's LGBT Film Festival, ran into some issues with the Canadian border for three films that they were scheduled to screen at their satellite film festival in Ottawa this past weekend. Initially, the border guards were flagged by the R-Rated film Clapham Junction (an audience favorite from ImageOut 2008) but ended up holding prints for Patrik, Age 1.5 and I Can't Think Straight as well. It's a good thing Montreal did not have the same problems since I sent several films their way right after our Festival in October.

Click here for the full story. Thanks Paul for the link!


Stefan said...

can someone explain to me why this might have happened?

Why was Canada Border officials (whatever their "official" name is) concerned?

I really don't understand. Seriously. I thought Canada was a free country. They even have marriage equality in this country so that makes this even more "whaaaaaat?", you know what I'm saying? Like, we can get married there but we can't show certain types of films? WTF?

Michael G said...

The rules around media (films and photographs) crossing borders have always been strict. I always have to include paperwork with films being sent to Canada specifying that they are only for cultural purposes. And I think Canada has tougher rules on pornography. I'm not really sure. But it's still very surprising that the border guards held up these prints considering these films have been shown at Toronto International and Inside Out film festivals before.

Bob said...

What a strange and unfortunate occurrance. Canada seems so liberal in so many ways, and yet here they are holding films that offer absolutely NO issues regarding censorship whatsoever. Having seen two of these three films at our very own festival...it's a travesty to do this! I'm sure, once the border officials have had the chance to see these movies "from beginning to end", as they demand, there will be no problem. In the meantime, the festival folks have to scramble big time.

Michael G said...

Sharing the thoughts of a friend in Toronto:

I had heard a bit about this earlier in the day, and now see the confirmation. It takes me back to the early days where even The Advocate, etc was being detained at the border and huge amounts of money were spent on defence funds for trials.

I am no longer surprised, albeit royally pissed off, by any of this. The glow you see over Parliament Hill in Ottawa is from the red necks of the governing right-wing Conservative Party including our Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.

After so many years, the CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) must have been construed as being lax, these are the same idiots who prevented Pretty Baby from being screened in the entire country, lo, those many years ago! Their political masters have obviously stirred the pot.

Thanks, and now to pop another blood pressure pill . . .