L.A. Zombie banned from Melbourne International Film Festival

Bruce LaBruce‘s provocative new film L.A. Zombie has been denied a rating by the Classification Board and banned from screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

According to The Age, MIFF director Richard Moore was told by Film Classification Board director Donald McDonald (?!) that L.A. Zombie would be refused classification.

Film festivals are not required to submit films for classification before screening them; however, the censors requested a DVD screener after discovering details about the film’s content.

Here is the film’s official synopsis according to the official MIFF website:

Zombies don’t often come as fully-ripped as porn star François Sagat – except in Bruce LaBruce’s L.A. Zombie. Our anti-hero is convinced he’s an alien zombie sent to earth, where he roams the streets of Los Angeles in search of dead bodies and gay sex – an activity that reveals his ‘special gift’ of shagging the deceased back to life.

I recently enjoyed attending the Revelation Perth International Film Festival, a celebration of outsider cinema that was regularly challenging and confronting. I always thought that was part of the deal that came with film festivals. It affords filmmakers a venue to showcase their potentially controversial works, and the festival assumes audiences are adult enough to engage with the film and debate its merits.

So to have a film banned – not from wide release but from screening at a festival comprised of eclectic films – is hugely offensive. Certainly more offensive than anything a measly film could offer.

(UPDATE: Tara Judah over at Liminal Vision gives a passionate rundown of the ridiculousness of the situation).

MIFF kicks off July 22 (why, that’s tomorrow!) and will instead screen the film Rubber in L.A. Zombie’s August 7 slot.

Discuss: Censorship! Nanny state! Such and such!

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