Endurance for Film Censors

This is from the i a few weeks ago:

It is not often that the British Board of Film Classification finds itself in the headlines. Last November, however, the UK’s film and video regulator was unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight when a frustrated film-maker came up with a unique way to protest agains the “prohibitively expensive” fees the board charges to classify films.

“A film cannot be released in British cinemas without a BBFC certificate”, said Charlie Lynne, adding that independent filmmakers who created an average length feature film had to pay about £1,000 for a certificate. But he noted: “The BBFC are also required to sit through whatever we pay them to watch.”

Lyne launched an online fundraising campaign urging the public to donate money so that he could subject the censors to hours of watching paint dry – literally. The amount raised would determine the length of the film, he said. In total Lyne raised just short of £6,000. The film he subjected, Paint Drying, did exactly what it said on the tin, … It was 10 hours and 7 minutes of white paint drying on a brick wall.In January the board officially (and not too surprisingly) awarded Mr Lyne’s film a U certificate.

Paint Drying began as a “funny throwaway idea” but Lyne said it had become his bet-known work and earned him write-ups in media around the world. “Hopefully one day I’ll make an actual film that garners nearly that much attention,” he said. His follow-up to Paint Drying was a 3 minute short for Channel 4 entitled Blackout – a montage of scenes of total darkness taken from films including 2001; A Space Odyssey and Apocalypse Now. Lyne described Blackout as “tonally opposite” to his previous work.

But Paint Drying remains his magnum opus, although barely anyone has actually seen it. “I never released the film itself, only a small clip,… I like the mystery of it being an unseen object. It was only designed for that audience of 2 examiners from the BBFC.”

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