‘Cuts are not a viable option’: The British Board of Film Classification, Hate Crime and Censorship for Adults in the Digital Age

Alexandra Kapka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
407 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In March 2015 the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) refused to classify James Cullen Bressack's independent film, Hate Crime (2012). This was the Board's first explicit rejection of a film since 2011, and undermines their attempts to portray themselves as increasingly lenient, in favour of free choice for adults and open about their processes. This case is of particular interest as the film was to be distributed solely via an online video-on-demand platform. Hate Crime has the dubious honour of being the first film to be refused an eighteen certificate under revised regulations pertaining to the streamed Internet distribution of feature films in the UK. Furthermore, this case raises questions about genre boundaries, and about the definition and prioritisation of art cinema within UK institutions. This article engages with the BBFC's refusal to classify Hate Crime in the light of this particular distribution context. Focusing on media industry, genre and gender studies, the article explores whether or not the BBFC's decision can be justified and, further, what the consequences of this certification refusal might be in the current media landscape. It suggests that the BBFC's approach might be out of kilter with the digital world and in this case demonstrates a misunderstanding of genre conventions and an unequivocal bias in favour of art-house cinema.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-97
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Keywords

  • BBFC
  • Censorship
  • Extreme Cinema
  • Streamed Internet Distribution
  • VOD
  • video-on-demand

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