Filmmakers and Free Speech Groups Host "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" Screening in Manhattan

August 30, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

ACLU, National Coalition Against Censorship and IFC Films to Host Panel Discussion on Groundbreaking Documentary

NEW YORK -- The Independent Film Channel, American Civil Liberties Union and National Coalition Against Censorship tonight will host an advance screening of the IFC original documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, the breakthrough film from Oscar-nominated director Kirby Dick, at the IFC Center in downtown Manhattan. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the director, ACLU President Nadine Strossen, NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, and filmmakers Mary Harron (American Psycho) and Michael Tucker (Gunner Palace).

"We hope this film sparks a nationwide discussion on free speech and the dangers of allowing government agencies or other groups to censor works of art and entertainment," said the ACLU's Strossen. "Freedom of expression is at the very heart of our democracy, yet every day speech is restricted and works of art are being censored. In a climate where the government regularly questions the patriotism of its critics, we need to remain vigilant in protecting our rights now more than ever."

This Film Is Not Yet Rated is an unprecedented investigation into the film ratings system and its profound impact on American culture. The film takes an in-depth look at the secretive Motion Picture Association of America, a lobbying organization for the movie industry. The ratings system was first implemented by the MPAA in 1968 under heavy government pressure. Although the ratings system is a voluntary one, members of Congress continue to pressure the MPAA to revise its system to give even more restrictive ratings to films with sexual or violent content. Filmmakers are forced to get a rating since theater owners generally won't show unrated, or NC-17, films.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated asks whether Hollywood movies and independent films are rated equally for comparable content; whether sexual content in gay-themed movies are given harsher ratings penalties than their heterosexual counterparts; whether it makes sense that extreme violence is given an R rating while sexuality is banished to the cutting room floor; and whether keeping the raters and the rating process secret leaves the MPAA entirely unaccountable for its decisions.

In the film, director Kirby Dick examines the most controversial ratings decisions in recent history, as well as the MPAA's efforts to protect copyright and control culture in the name of piracy and profit. The film looks at the MPAA's lobbying efforts in Washington to enforce stringent penalties against the sharing of digital information, even non-profit and academic.

Read more about Artistic Freedom online at www.aclu.org/artisticfreedom
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