BBFC rates Paint Drying film ‘U’, after sitting through all 607 minutes

'Examiners are required to watch a very wide variety of content every day, so this didn't phase them'

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The Independent Culture

The BBFC, film censorship board for the UK, have officially awarded a 'U' certificate to a ten-hour film of paint drying, created as part of a protest of its practices by British filmmaker Charlie Lyne. 

Lyne first established a Kickstarter to fund the submission of a film entitled Paint Drying to the Board of Classification; one which would consist of a single, unedited shot of white paint drying on a brick wall. The money raised would pay for the BBFC's imposed tariffs on having work certified, which Lyne believes unfairly burdens independent filmmakers who must fork out an average of $1,000 per submission. 

Having declared every donation would further contribute to the film's run-time (as tariffs are calculated by a per-minute fee), the campaign ended up raising £5,936 and allowed Lyne to submit a 607-minute film to the censors; though it's still beaten by Jacques Rivette's 1971 Out 1, running at 775 minutes, as the longest film to be reviewed for classification by the board.

The BBFC recently came under fire for awarding The Diary of a Teenage Girl, a film depicting a young girl's erotic awakening, an 18 certificate; with many believing the rating unfairly punished feminine sexuality. 

Charlie Lyne

Lyne, with surely a small sense of ironic pride, tweeted out an image of his film's certificate. 

The BBFC responded to Mashable's request for comment with the following statement; "The BBFC will classify the film as it would any other submission. With regards to the motives behind making the film (as a protest against censorship and fees for classification), the BBFC was set up in 1912 by the film industry itself, as an independent body to bring a degree of uniformity to the classification of film nationally."

"The BBFC is a non-profit organisation that works to protect children, from content which might raise harm risks and to empower the public, especially parents, to make informed viewing choices. It implements Classification Guidelines that reflect changing social attitudes towards media content through proactive public consultation and research."

"The BBFC respects the principle of adult free choice, but will still intervene where required by the law or where in our view there is a credible harm risk. Both the free choice principle and these limited exceptions are supported by the public, and also reflect our statutory duties."

"The BBFC's income is derived solely from the fees it charges for its services, calculated by measuring the running time of films, DVDs/videos and other works submitted for classification. Film makers wishing to show their films at cinemas in the UK without a BBFC certificate may do so with permission from the local authority for the area in which the cinema is located."

When asked to clarify how the submission was received, a spokesperson insisted no special treatment was given to the film; "Examiners are required to watch a very wide variety of content every day, so this didn't phase them." So, yes, they did watch every minute of it. 

Don't worry, Lyne is also in the business of producing real films. His documentaries Beyond Clueless and Fear Itself challenge the traditional mode of video essays whilst exploring teen movies and horror respectively.