The South African Screen Federation has vowed to take legal action against the Film and Publication Board's decision to reclassify the locally produced and controversial film Inxeba - The Wound. by Athena O'Reilly
The Film and Publication Board (FPB) Appeal Tribunal overturned the classification rating of 16LS initially given to the film after appeals were lodged by Contralesa Gauteng and The Man and Boy Foundation last week.
This resulting in the South African public and film community not backing down after the film received a hard porn rating based on elements of sex, nudity, language, violence and prejudice.
Inxeba tells the story of a gay factory worker who travels to the rural Eastern Cape to oversee the traditional Xhosa initiation ritual of ukwaluka, only to have his secret sexual orientation discovered.
Despite winning a string of international awards, the film has courted controversy from day one.
"The South African Screen Federation is utterly dismayed about this decision to essentially ban this important and beautifully told story.
"We are intent on presenting a legal challenge to the Film and Publications Board, which we are confident we will win.
"This decision will adversely affect this production company and the wider film industry," he said.
SASFED members include Animation South Africa, The Documentary Filmmakers Association SA, The Independent Producers Organisation, The Personal Managers' Association, South African Guild of Actors, South African Guild of Editors, Writers' Guild of South Africa, and Sisters Working in Film and Television.
"It is shocking that a film that South Africa filmmakers shortlisted for an Oscar can receive such treatment.
"The decision smacks of nothing less than homophobia and contradicts key sections of our constitution."
Lawyers for Human Rights gender equality attorney Sanja Bornman said the body fully supported calls for transparency in relation to the FPB decision.
"The law entitles us to administrative justice, and satisfactory reasons for such an extreme re-classification.
"The film has resonated positively with so many queer South Africans, some of whom saw their own story being told for the first time. We want to know why the FPB has decided that the film does not belong in the mainstream, at the cost of a potentially validating experience for marginalised members of our community."