Australian police stepped in to prevent a much-publicised Sydney screening of the banned US film Ken Park. The film hardly got past the opening credits before the it was confiscated in front of the capacity crowd gathered at an inner city town hall.
Several of the organisers, including high-profile critic Margaret Pomeranz and president of the Film Critics Circle of Australia Julie Rigg, accompanied officers to the nearby police station. Rigg told Screen International that they had provided their details, but no charges had been laid.
Ken Park was refused classification last month by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), and this was upheld by the Classification Review Board, making it illegal to sell, hire or exhibit the film in Australia.
The decision forced the cancellation of two planned screenings at the Sydney Film Festival although it was the video distributor who had submitted the film to the OFLC - Australian film festivals do not ordinarily have to seek classification for their films. It is understood that this is the first time for over 30 years that a film has been barred from being shown at a festival in Australia.
The Review Board stated that the film, which has been shown at many festivals and sold to territories around the world, depicts "scenes of sex and violence in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults".
Meanwhile, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal will today deliver a verdict on whether two documentaries, The Search For Truth In History and The Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Palestine Perspective, can be shown at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.
Melbourne's Jewish community has sought injunctions on the films and also on a live telephone interview with David Irving, who claims the Holocaust did not happen. He has been refused entry to Australia on a number of occasions.