Queer Screen has contradicted a claim by the Sydney Morning Herald that it wants to screen “gay sex movies” as part of this years’ Mardi Gras Film Festival.

The article, published online on Monday, also implied that the four films in question were X-rated, which would make it a crime to publicly screen them, when they are not.

The movies are simply yet to be classified in Australia, as no one has sought to commercially distribute them here, and while there is actual sex on screen in parts of the films, they are not pornographic and the sex occurs as part of the plot.

In a post on Facebook, Mardi Gras Film Festival director Lex Lindsay said he was disappointed with the article – particularly when he had spoken at length with the Herald’s journalist to explain what the films were, the context in which the sex occurred and the process Queer Screen had undertaken with the Classification Board in seeking an exemption to screen the films.

Lindsay wrote that the implication that Queer Screen was trying to screen X-rated material was, “ baseless, reductionist and misleading.”

“These are serious, respectable films that have screened in very reputable forums,” Lindsay wrote.

“The one film that might, maybe, just possibly go that far is an art installation that has played at the Tate Modern.”

“You cannot discuss the nature of film classification without taking into account the content and cultural context of the work. Not if you want to be a grown up in a progressive free world.”

Lindsay wrote that the Herald’s journalist had omitted that Queer Screen had sent copies of all four films to the Classification Board to assist it in its decision despite this not being a requirement in seeking an exemption, and that they had been in communication with the Board from the day that they had decided to include the four films in the festival.

Linsday hade made it known to the journalist that it was common practice for film festivals to seek and receive exemptions for films that were yet to receive a formal classification in Australia.

“For our festival, and most film festivals in Australia, the films we screen do not get classified,” Lindsay wrote in an email to the journalist.

“They receive an “exemption from classification” for the purpose of a small number of screenings in association with a cultural event.”

Films containing real heterosexual sex have previously been classified by the Board such that they can be legally sold and rented from video stores when they have found the sex has artistic merit and is not presented for the purpose of titillation.

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.