Jo Makepeace | 21.03.2008 20:24
Yer ever-good-in-a-crisis SchNEWS crew swiftly relocated the showing to a local pub, where around 140 people (over two screenings) were able to watch the ‘illicit’ film.
THE PLOD THICKENS
The next day, local rag the Argus ran the story as front page news: “Anti-war movie banned by council at the last minute”. They quoted top cop Chief Inspector Lawrence Taylor denying any police involvement in the sting, saying, “We would never get involved with the certification of a film – it is not something we do. It was as much a surprise to us as anyone else”. Well it must have then come as a real surprise when, the next day, B&H council’s press office confirmed that the police had in fact called them up and prompted their action.
Swiftly back-tracking, Sussex Police pinned the blame on a mysterious ‘junior officer’ (and inadvertently admitted they don’t bother knowing the law regarding showing films!): “Brighton and Hove Police were aware that ‘On The Verge’ was being shown at the Duke of York cinema. However, we do not become involved in, nor do we have knowledge of, the law relating to film certification. That is a matter for Brighton & Hove City Council. However, a junior officer, who is not based in the city, alerted the city council to the showing and they advised the cinema of its responsibilities.”. So either Lawrence Taylor was lying or his rank-and-file are showing a little more initiative than usual.
Whoever the ‘junior officer’ is, it seems she/he’s been pretty busy organising a coordinated clampdown on the film. By this afternoon venues due to show the film across the country were receiving visits from the police. Staff at the Arthouse Community Cafe in Bedford Place, Southampton were approached at 11am by police and licensing officers. Threats were made concerning their licensing if the film, due to be shown on Thursday night was screened. Jani Franck of the Community Cafe said, “I grew up in South Africa and this feels awfully familiar. This has nothing to do with protecting the public - this is nothing but censorship”.
As SchNEWS goes to press, the first tour venues in Bath, Southampton, Oxford and Chichester have all been visited and leaned on to pull the plug.
Classifications for similar independent films are not normally an issue – especially for private showings where no money changes hands (and with official BBFC certifications costing up to a grand, it would kill any local independent no-budget film making). Given that there is no swearing or nudity in the film, and that the only violence in the film is at the hands of Sussex police, offences against public morals are unlikely. But in an unusual bout of sensitivity towards the public, police decided that although it’s OK to violently attack protesters, it might disturb members of the public were they to see it on film.
Steve Bishop of SchMovies told us exclusively “We’re not exactly surprised by the police action. Yeah, the film doesn’t have a certificate but since when has this applied to productions with a budget of under five hundred quid! What next, a PG certificate for yer wedding video? The only reason they want to ban this is ‘cuz it shows ‘em in a bad light.”
* Want to see the film they tried (are trying) to ban? People are re-arranging showings in many of the towns – for more info check out www.smashedo.org.uk or local Indymedia postings.
* Interested in putting on a screening, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* View the trailer at www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies/index-on-the-verge
By then it was too late - the hall was full, including many relatives of people featured in the film who were killed by the Met. We all demanded to watch it, two of the bigger members of the crowd then took control of the projector and ensured that none of the staff stopped the reel rolling - and the film was shown. F#cking brilliant.
Hopefully Sussex Plods stupid actions will only help publicise the film and as a result it will reach a wider audience....
cops turned up in force when Injustice was to be screened at manchesters Cornerhouse cinema too and the cornershouse pulled out an hour before the showing, scared of being sued and loosing funding. luckily at the time manc activists had a large squat around the corner...
3 or 4 police vans full of disgruntled cops sat outside the building as 100s were squeezed inside to watch the film in a makeshift cinema-lounge.
in manchester too...