Press Release 4 July 2008
The film “End of the Spear” has had its classification downgraded from R16 to R13 following a successful appeal by the Society against the classification decision issued by the Chief Censor’s Office. The Society contended in its written and oral submisssion to the Board that the nature of the depiction of violence in the film – medium level violence – could not possibly justify an R16 classification. The nine member Film and Literature Board of Review agreed and in a unanimous decision, issued to the Society on Wednesday this week, took the view that 13, 14 and 15 year old children would not be harmed by exposure to the violence which formed only a small part of a compelling Christian message of forgiveness and redemption that is told based on the “true story” of the missionary outreach in the 1950s, to the violent South American Waodani Indian tribe. A revised censor’s note from the Board, alerts viewers to the medium level violence involving tribal warfare that some might find “disturbing”.
This is the second successful appeal by the Society in recent years involving a major Christian film that has led to its classification rating – issued by the Chief Censor’s Office – being downgraded by the Board. The Society made both oral and written submissions to the Board to overturn the R16 classification of Mel Gibson’s blockbuster film “The Passion”, and this led it to being reclassified R15. The applicant in this case was the film’s distributor and the Society opted to take a role as an interested party.
The Society has as one of its six objectives: the promotion of freedom of expression, within the boundaries of good law that safeguards the public good from injury.