Australian censors will allow Queer Screen to show a US documentary featuring real gay sex if the explicit scenes are edited out.
The Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification last week banned Queer Screen from showing controversial movie Damon And Hunter: Doing It Together in their annual gay and lesbian documentary film festival, queerDOC.
The film features a real-life couple talking about their love life and shows them having sex, including explicit shots of sexual intercourse, oral sex and masturbation.
Queer Screen had hoped a re-edited version of the film, which featured less explicit sex, would get an exemption for a one-off screening.
However, this week the OFLC insisted all explicit content had to be removed for it to be shown.
The documentary is already available to buy on DVD in Australia with an X rating -“ a classification which means it cannot be legally screened in a public place.
A new cut of the film, to be edited by the documentary’s New York-based director Tony Comstock this week, will be shown to the OFLC for approval.
As queerDOC begins in just two weeks, on 7 September, the censors have told Queer Screen they will be making their decision within 48 hours of receiving the film.
Su Goldfish, vice president of Queer Screen, said she didn’t think the OFLC’s decision was discriminatory.
In this context we feel they’re not being unfair and that it’s responsible to listen to their requests, she said.
Queer Screen’s festival manager, Lex Lindsay, said while the re-edit would be radically different to the original he hoped audiences would still be able to get a taste of it.
We hope we won’t lose the integrity of the documentary, Lindsay said.
Last month Damon And Hunter was screened at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) where it was named best documentary.
MUFF director Richard Wolstencroft refused to comment on whether he’d been in contact with the OFLC about the screening. But he did say he was shocked by the decision to ban the original from being shown and, unlike Goldfish, thought it was discrimination.
The film is a sensitive, honest and sensual exploration of male homosexuality, he said.
This censorship is further evidence of the subversive war being carried out by certain members of our government against gays and lesbians in our community.
Wolstencraft encouraged Sydney’s queer community to protest by playing the film at a secret venue in a much needed act of civil disobedience.