Director's anger over comedy film's 'disability' warning
Sunday 16 November 2008
Disabled actors last night condemned a move by British film censors to label a new film featuring a disabled cast with a warning stating that the film contains "disability themes".
Special People, a British, feature-length film with a cast of mainly disabled actors playing disabled characters, was given the label by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) along with a 12A rating.
The director, Justin Edgar, is angry about the "unnecessary" labelling. "I was really surprised to get this certificate," he said. "I couldn't understand why a film censor thought it was necessary to make people aware that the film had disabled people in it."
The movie – a comedy which follows a film-maker on the verge of a nervous breakdown who is enlisted to teach a class of wheelchair-users about film-making – has garnered awards and been selected for festivals around the world.
Sasha Hardway, one of the stars, who has previously acted in Stephen Poliakoff's Friends and Crocodiles, felt that the warning may have put people off watching it. "The film is not based around disability," Hardway said. "It's got disabled characters but the film is based around their characters not their disability. If you put 'contains disabled themes', people are going to think it's about illness and that it will be negative or depressing."
After pressure from the director and the film company, the label was removed, but not until after the company had paid for promotional material which still contains the label.
Campaigners for disabled rights questioned the need for such a caveat to appear on films at all. Ian Macrae, the editor of Disability Now magazine, said: "It's the exact equivalent of putting a warning on a Spike Lee film saying, 'This film contains black people.' It's medieval thinking."
Sue Clark, a BBFC spokeswoman, said: "These guidelines are there to give the public an idea of the issues we considered when classifying films. It's not designed to make any valued judgement."
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 4 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
Star Trek 3 to begin shooting in next six months
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Robin Thicke’s hit 'Blurred Lines' lands him in court, and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly