SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - An Australian film board has banned a Canadian movie featuring "gay zombie porn" from screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival -- to the delight of the filmmaker.
The Australian Film Classification Board told festival organizers not to show "L.A. Zombie" directed by Canadian Bruce LaBruce as it would refuse classification for the film featuring alien zombies scouring Los Angeles for dead bodies and gay sex.
The Melbourne International Film Festival's Executive Director Richard Moore said LaBruce's film could be deemed controversial but it was a surprise that the board refused to allow the festival to show the film as planned on August 7 and 8.
"I don't necessarily think it's porn. I think it probably verges on the edge of porn. It's an extreme form of queer cinema, with a very high art background to it," Moore told Reuters.
"I could possibly understand if we were trying to show the film as a general release but not in a festival environment with screenings relatively late at night properly contextualized."
It is the first film to be banned from the festival since Larry Clark's "Ken Park" in 2003. "Ken Park" revolved around the abusive home lives of a group of teenage skateboarders.
Moore said LaBruce, whose film "Otto, Or, Up With Dead People" debuted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, was delighted by the ban as such a move always created more buzz around a film.
"I know Bruce LaBruce is particularly happy about this because it's giving him enormous publicity for his world premier at the Locarno International Film Festival film festival (in Switzerland on August 5)," said Moore.
The film has also been selected to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival.
LaBruce told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that the ban was good for him as such censorship would just increase the amount of people wanting to see the movie.
In a statement LaBruce said the ban was surprising as this was the softcore version of the movie. The hardcore version will be released and distributed separately on Halloween.
"Although apparently the Australian Classification Board has no problem passing all manner of mainstream torture porn movies which feature, amongst other things, the rape and dismemberment of women, it's interesting that they have no stomach for a movie that reaffirms life," LaBruce said in his statement.
"Censorship in any form should not be tolerated, but to ban a film that one programer at a major festival has called "a masterpiece of melancholia" is truly beyond the pale."
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith