Film Censorship: Welcome to Greensborough (2005)


 

 

 

 

Welcome to Greensborough

Directed by Tom McEvoy / 2005 / Australia / IMDb

In 2005, WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH had a cast and crew screening at RMIT. This was followed by the public premiere at the 2005 Melbourne Underground Film Festival.

 

The film ran into problems due to the age of the actors. The MUFF program explained why.

MUFF 2005
Welcome to Greensborough Kino DENDY | Sat 9th 7pm Dir Tom McEvoy | 2003-4 | Australia | 110 mins

The rise and revenge of Youth! The Australian answer to “Kids”, “Gummo” and “Ken Park”. The first Australian film I know of to have been refused a classification from the OFLC (…a first film historians?). Why? Because this film is about young people, made by young people…that actually dared to have scenes of late teenagers having sex. Shock Horror…that doesn’t go on does it?

This is no Larry Clark drooling over teenagers here; this is young people reflecting their world, where in that world sixteen year old girls fuck sixteen-year-old guys. Well not anymore, director Tom McEvoy had to reshoot his love scenes with actors over 18. So the MUFF version will be ok with our masters and betters at the OFLC. The film features angst-ridden teenagers partying, getting wasted, being bored and generally wondering who sold the youth of the world down the river. Film ends in a gang bang cum rape scene…now that’s how they should have finished Somersault!

MUFF 2005
Best Editing:
Welcome To Greensborough (AUS)

Best Guerrilla Film:
Welcome to Greensborough (AUS)
Dir: Tom McEvoy

 

 

WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH at MUFF 2005

MUFF claimed in their publicity that WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH was the first Australian film that they knew of that had been Refused Classification by the OFLC.

Thanks to Director Tom McEvoy for setting the record straight regarding the MUFF comment.

 

I had received a recommendation that I change the from a source close to the OFLC that heard of the subject matter of the film. I was recommended to change certain scenes to avoid a clash with the OFLC ratings board otherwise the film was going to be the subject of intense scrutiny.

All of the actors involved in any sexual situations in the film were over 18. However, we did re-shoot certain scenes due to what I felt like was "over-kill" of the under-age sexuality factor, we toned down certain elements of dialogue.

 

 

Banned by the OFLC

In order to distribute WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH in Australia it was necessary to obtain a rating from the Classification Board. The Director, Tom McEvoy's Anewave Film Productions submitted a 118m DVD for rating in late 2006. In November 2006, it was banned by the OFLC.

Tom published the full OFLC report on his myspace blog, and made these comments.

I just like to say they can rot in hell. I had to pay $750 approx for them to see the film and then have it banned so it can't be sold anywhere or used to make money in Australia.. I would like to say thanks to all involved.. thanks for making me sound like I make porn *le sigh*)

 

 

SYNOPSIS:

A film set in the suburbs of Melbourne in which a group of bored young Australians experiment with alcohol and sex.

 

REASONS FOR THE DECISION:

When making decisions the Classification Board (the Board) follows the procedures set out in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act). The Board also applies the National Classification Code and the Classification Guidelines, while taking into account the matters set out in Section 11 of the Act.

In the Board's view this film warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with Item 1(a) of the Films Table of the National Classification Code.

"1. Films that:

(a) depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified;

"… will be Refused Classification.

The Guidelines also state that films which exceed the R 18+ or X 18+ classification will be refused classification. This film has a viewing impact which exceeds high and for that reason cannot be accommodated at R 18+.

 

EXPLICIT SEX

The film contains scenes of explicit sexual activity throughout. Extreme close-up shots of actual sexual activity including fellatio, cunnilingus, anal and vaginal penetration are used as a linking device throughout the film. Examples of this occur in the opening credits of the film. Other examples include but are not limited to;

at 10 minutes a close up of vaginal penetration,

at 29 minutes a close of up vaginal penetration,

at 41 minutes a close up of fellatio,

at 67 minutes a close up of fellatio and

at 82 minutes a close up of cunnilingus.

The Board considers that these depictions of actual sexual activity both within the context of the film and juxtaposed as they are with the portrayals of children, said to be aged 17 and younger and therefore under the age of 18, exceed a viewing impact of high and cannot be accommodated within the R 18+ classification.

 

VIOLENCE

The film also includes an implied depiction of a woman being stabbed repeatedly in her crotch with a knife. The depiction commences at approximately 97 minutes.

The Board notes that this violent depiction and the depictions of children, said to be aged 17 and younger and therefore under the age of 18, throughout the film would preclude the film from being classified X 18+. Additionally, the Guidelines state that the X 18+ classification is a specially and legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit material. The Guidelines also state that

'no depiction of violence, sexual violence... is allowed in the category'.

 

THEMES AND SEX

The film also contains depictions of children , said to be aged 17 and therefore under the age of 18, using aggressive, coarse, sexually explicit and assaultative language, including the verbal exploration of a rape fantasy. Examples of this include but are not limited to the following:

At approximately 20 minutes, a group of young men discuss a young woman and, within the context of their conversation, explore the idea of forcing her to have sex;

"You'd have to force her, fucking rape her or get her drunk."

"I'd say 'fuck my cock.'"

"Fuck you up the ass, cunt."

"Fucking suck my dick, bitch. You dare spit it out and I'll smack your face".

 

At approximately 25 minutes, two male characters, said to be 17 years old, are discussing the 14 year old girl that one of them is dating:

"That 14 year old that you have been catching the bus with, that has a bald pussy"

"Isn't that shit illegal?"

"I'm not fucking her, man"

"She likes fucking tongue and shit."

"She showed me her tits and her moot, but that's all"

"I've had a look and that's what she wants."

"You know when chicks are starting to grow… She's just starting to grow and she's getting tits now… Bullshit, bullshit

man, she's got nice, she's got nice, now fucking great…."

"So how big's her cunt?"

"You want to know how big her cunt is?"

 

The film also contains images which depict children , said to be aged 17 and 14 and therefore under the age of 18, implicitly engaging in sexual activity. These depictions include but are not limited to the following:

At 59 minutes two young people, who are said to be a seventeen year old male and his fourteen year old girlfriend, are alone in a bathroom. The male is sitting on the toilet whilst the girl implicitly fellates him. At 60 minutes the girl vomits and says it was because the male made her gag.

 

At approximately 85 minutes the seventeen year old character Kevin enters a house which is said to be the set of a porn film shoot. He gives the film-makers his false proof of age card, which he has already shown his other friends. Kevin is told to disrobe and then he and the other participants in the film are given explicit instructions on how to behave on the set.

 

At 91 minutes there are close up images of vaginal penetration said to be happening on-set and depictions of Kevin and the other men implicitly participating in the pornographic film shoot.

 

The Board considers that these and other uses in the film of aggressive, coarse, sexually explicit and assaultative language, the implied sexual activity and portrayal of participation in a pornographic film and the context in which they involve young people who are said to be under the age of 18 raise the viewing impact of the film to above high and the film cannot therefore be accommodated in the R 18+ classification.

 

DECISION

This film is Refused Classification.

 

 

WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH: 110m vs. 118m version

Here Director Tom McEvoy explains the difference between the 110min MUFF cut, and the 118min version sent for rating. He also speculates on what scenes may have caused the problems.

....the version that screened at MUFF was a toned down version, almost a rough cut to the extremes of the finished version. Not to say the finished version is extreme in terms of world cinema standards when measured against Irreversible and Anatomy of Hell. Ken Park is far more sexually graphic than Welcome to Greensborough but I guess from an Australian teen film is very confronting.

I'm quite sure the scenes that caused the most issue were the sexual scenes involving the characters aged 14 in the film, mainly a blow-job/gag scene halfway through the film. There's intense sexual profanity directed towards these characters and also an intense moment of sexual violence at the end of the film.

 

 

Des Clark on WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH

Thanks to Mick for this letter he received from the Director of the OFLC, Des Clark.

 

23905
06/9004

I refer to your email of 8 November 2006 regarding the classification of the film Welcome to Greensborough.

The national classification scheme is a cooperative scheme involving the Commonwealth, States and Territories. The Classification Board (the Board) classifies films (including videos and DVDs), computer games and certain publications. When making decisions, the Board applies criteria in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act), the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines. Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers with censorship responsibilities agree to the Code and the classification guidelines. I have provided a link to the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games (the Guidelines) for your information.

The Guidelines are a tool used by the Board to assist them in applying the criteria in the Code by describing in more detail the nature of the different classification categories, and the scope and limits of the classifiable elements permitted within each category. The six classifiable elements are themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.

If you refer to the Guidelines, you will also note that each classification category begins with an “impact test” that determines the threshold for the category and lists the classifiable elements accompanied by a statement limiting the content of each element. The impact threshold is described according to the following hierarchy of impact:

— very mild – G
— mild – PG
— moderate – M
— strong – MA 15+
— high – R 18+
— very high – RC

On 3 November the Board determined that the film Welcome to Greensborough be Refused Classification (RC). In the Board’s view this film warrants an RC classification as, in accordance with the Code, it depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with “matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified”.

The Guidelines also state that films which exceed the R 18+ or X 18+ classification will be RC.

Specifically, the Board considers that the depictions of actual sexual activity; the use in the film of aggressive, coarse, sexually explicit and assaultive language; the implied sexual activity and portrayal of participation in a pornographic film; and the context in which they involve young people who are said to be under the age of 18; raise the viewing impact of the film to above high and therefore the film cannot be accommodated in the R 18+ classification.

The Board also notes that the film includes an implied depiction of a woman being stabbed repeatedly in her crotch with a knife. This violent depiction and the depiction of children said to be aged under 18 throughout the film precludes the film from being classified X 18+.

In your email you ask why material that would otherwise be classified X 18+ is RC due to the inclusion of sexually assaultive language.

The X 18+ classification is a special and legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit material. That is material which contains real depictions of actual sexual intercourse and other sexual activity between consenting adults. As the only genre-specific classification – being solely concerned with depictions of actual sex - films classified X 18+ do not come within the hierarchy of impact specified in the Guidelines. In addition to assaultive language, you will note from the Guidelines that the classification also excludes:

Owing to the widely differing views held in our community it is not always possible to make decisions which satisfy everyone. I assure you that the Board takes its responsibilities seriously and reflects current community standards when making decisions.

I hope this information assists you.

Yours sincerely
Des Clark
Director
29 November 2006

 

 

Australian films banned by Australian censors

WELCOME TO GREENSBOROUGH was not the first Australian film to be banned by our censors.

Here is a list of titles that have had problems over the years. All are covered elsewhere on this site.

 

Welcome to Greensborough - Anewwave Film Productions [au] Poster 1Welcome to Greensborough - Anewwave Film Productions [au] Poster 2


 

 

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