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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Taking MPAA shots: has This Film is Not Yet Rated inoculated its interviewees?

So how on earth did Kevin Smith get that R rating on a single pass from the notoriously dodgy and inconsistent MPAA, considering that they warn us that it’s filled with “pervasive sexual and crude content including aberrant sexuality, strong language and some drug material”? (As Smith put it to me, “When the dust settled, I was just like… Are they fucking nuts? Did they see the same movie?”) egoyan_dick740_2.jpgKirby Dick has suggested that the filmmakers he interviewed for This Film Is Not Yet Rated could be inoculated from future ratings battles with a press-shy MPAA. Smith was notably harsh toward ratings board chair Joan Graves in Dick’s pic; other frank interviewees include John Waters, Matt Stone, Kimberly Peirce, Atom Egoyan [pictured], Darren Aronofsky, Mary Harron and distributor Bingham Ray. Over at Filmmaker, Anthony Kaufman gets Dick to expand on this notion. As for his own future dealings with the board, the filmmaker says “I think there is a clever construction of the film: since it is about the MPAA, I think it’s very unlikely that they would come after me or IFC because they’re already portrayed negatively in the film and they would be portrayed in the press even more negatively. The amount of publicity around the film would double. The MPAA is very savvy in the way that it’s dealt with its public relations… If I submit a film for a rating, I’m certain some of them might harbor those feelings towards me. But on the other hand, I think, myself, and all the filmmakers who appear in the film, we’re inoculated in a way, because the press will pay attention, particularly, if my film goes in front of the rating board. The last thing that the MPAA wants to do is bring attention to the process. It wants to operate under the radar as much as possible. I don’t think they’d cut me any breaks, but I don’t think they’d be exceedingly harsh on my films.” There’s valuable material about the film’s application of Fair Use in the interview, and in a piece on the film’s post-production, Elina Shatkin describes another rights issue. “The third act also contains the film’s most clever visual trick. Dick recorded his initial phone conversation with Joan Graves, chair of the MPAA’s ratings board. For subsequent conversations, Graves did not give her consent to have her side of the conversation recorded. Dick’s side of the calls were filmed, however, so Dick had voiceover actors re-enact Graves’ side of the calls. The final image is a split-screen, with the actual video footage of Dick talking on the phone on one side and a Waking Life-style animated version of “Joan Graves” on the other.”

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles