About 20 senior exhibitorsand distributors held an impromptu meeting on the final night (Aug 18) of theAustralian International Movie Convention, to express their anger over thepublic way they were criticised on the first day of the event.

Des Clark, directorof the Office of Film & Literature Classification, pulled no punches earlyin the week when he issued a media release that said that most cinemas werefailing to display important details about the way trailers and promotionalmaterials were classified.

New rules forclassification were introduced in May, including new colour-coded logos for thedifferent categories of classification. Clark was making public the results ofa recent "compliance snapshot" which identified 577 breaches of the overall rulesin one weekend.

"This is a legalresponsibility that the entertainment industry must take seriously, not onlybecause consumers want it, but because exposure of children to strong materialmay cause genuine harm," Clark stated. "Cinema owners are facing many hundredsof thousands of dollars in penalties if they fail to comply."

The industry isupset that Clark chose to go direct to the media and not directly to them, withthe results of a survey that was undertaken in June - during the very earlyintroductory phase of a new set of regulations. It was not in the spirit ofconsultation that has been established between them and the OFLC, they say.

"It is a verycomplicated new regime with 30 pages of ifs and buts," said one of the fourpeople that ScreenDaily.com contacted who had been at the meeting. "It is enough to make youthink that you need a classification officer."

Asked about hismotivation the day before the meeting, Clark said he wanted to give theindustry a wake-up call because there had not been any improvement in the levelof compliance.