Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Speakers Cornered rated NC16 by censors

It took the Board of Film Censors more than four months to come to a decision, but finally, Speakers Cornered has been passed clean and rated NC16.

However, this does not mean that it is cleared for public screening as that would require a separate application. So I hereby welcome anyone who wishes to screen the video in public to contact me (do note that unlicensed exhibitors will have to make a security deposit of $10K for screenings of films rated NC16 and above).

If you need to ask why it is necessary to submit a film to the censors when it's already playing in youtube, then you need to read this and this, and then join the call to trash the Films Act altogether.

A timeline of Martyn See's odyssey :

May 2005 : Called up by the police over the making of 'Singapore Rebel.'

Jan 2006 : Submits 'Zahari's 17 Years' to SIFF but screening cancelled.

Aug 2006 : Police investigation over 'Singapore Rebel' called off after "stern warning."

Oct 2006 : 'Speakers Cornered' screens in Taiwan.

Oct 2006 : 'Zahari's 17 Years' screens in Malaysia.

Feb 2007 : 'Zahari's 17 Years' and 'Speakers Cornered' screens in Toronto.

Apr 2007 : 'Zahari's 17 Years' is officially banned.

Sep 2007 : 'Speakers Cornered' screens in Malaysia.

Dec 2007 : 'Speakers Cornered' uploaded on youtube.

Dec 31 2007 : 'Speakers Cornered' submitted to censors.

Mar 2007 : 'Speakers Cornered' screens in Singapore under 'private function'



Censors pass film on Hong Lim demo

NC16 rating for film on Speakers' Corner protest

“Submit your boldest work to the censors.” - Martyn See

Prosecute or nothing


Anonymous said...

Thanks Martyn.

You have done much.

"Sedikit sedikit lama lama jadi bukit".

I learned this proverb as a teenager more than 40 years ago when Singapore was part of Malaysia. If my command of national language serves me correctly, it means, "bit by bit, we can build a mountain out of a molehill"

I'd like to take this opportunity to show my respect and gratitude as it with courageous people like you that we will see a change for the better in Singapore.

For what you have been through with the police in 2005 due to Singapore Rebel, may they never do on you what they did to Chia Thye Poh and Said Zahari.


Terima kaseh beribu ribu.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Martyn, but what does it mean when they rate the film NC16 and still it can't be shown in public? In other words, what do you need a rating for?

MIng said...

Baffles me too why two applications are needed.


For reference.

Singapore News // Thursday, April 17, 2008

NC16 rating for film on Speakers' Corner protest
See's documentary passed uncut by MDA

Loh Chee Kong

BOTH documentaries feature Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan. But while one was earlier banned and saw film-maker Martyn See questioned by police, the other film has just been passed uncut.
Yesterday, the Media Development Authority's (MDA's) Board of Film Censors gave an NC16 rating to Speakers Cornered, a 26-minute film documenting a demonstration led by Dr Chee at the Speakers' Corner in September 2006.
The attempted march was timed to coincide with the World Bank/ International Monetary Fund meetings here, and resulted in a three-day standoff between SDP members and the police.
The film had travelled to four film festivals in Malaysia and Taiwan before Mr See decided to submit it to the MDA for classification in December.
He told Today he did so because he "saw no reason why it should not be passed", adding: "The film itself does not make political statements."
Still, he was somewhat "surprised" at the rating, given that the police had questioned him after he made Singapore Rebel, a film based on an interview with Dr Chee and withdrawn from screening in 2005 as it was deemed a party political film.
Last year, another of Mr See's works, on former Internal Security Act detainee Said Zahari, was banned when it was deemed to be against the public interest.
When asked what was the difference between Singapore Rebel and Speakers Cornered, the Board of Film Censors replied: "Party political films are prohibited under the Films Act; there is no change in the legislation."
Mr See, who was behind the video camera, walked up to police officers at the protest and quizzed them on their actions, in the style of controversial American filmmaker Michael Moore.
Asked if the similarities were intended, Mr See said: "In a sense, yes, but in the larger context, my film does not advocate any political line. It was just a straightforward documentation that broadcast journalists do all over the world, all the time."
Under the MDA's regulations, anyone wishing to screen NC16, M18 and R21 films at one-off events has to apply for a temporary licence by furnishing a $10,000 performance bond.
While Mr See would like to screen the film publicly, he was reluctant to pay the bond. Which is why he will wait for licensed exhibitors, such as The Substation and the National Museum, to approach him.
When contacted, the Substation's artistic co-director Audrey Wong said it would welcome Mr See to submit the film for its regular screenings or film festivals.
Said Ms Wong: "We have shown some of Martyn's films before … we have a regular film programme that supports and promotes Singapore films."