MELBOURNE, Australia—Last July, the Australian Film Classifications Board decided that director Bruce LaBruce’s campy horror flick L.A. Zombie, in which gay alien zombies invade Los Angeles, was not suitable for viewing, and banned it from the country despite the fact that the Board had been provided a version that contained no explicit anally penetrative sex.
Despite the government’s decision to censor the flick, however, the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) screened the flick in August anyway. The festival organizer, filmmaker Richard Wolstencroft said the decision to do so was made because it the movie is “artistically significant and also as a general stand against the often conservative and regressive decisions made by the Classification Board.”
The decision to screen the movie came with consequences, though. In November, six weeks after the screening, police raided Wolstencroft’s home in Melbourne, where they searched for the banned film, which he had already destroyed, and also threatened to remove all of his personal DVDs—approximately 10,000 in total—including works in progress.
The raid enraged Wolstencroft, who subsequently questioned its timing. "Why was [the raid] delayed six weeks," he told ABC News Online. "Why was I not charged two days later? Why did they not come to the screening and let me know they had a problem and then we could have avoided this situation altogether.
"I just think the timing of this is interesting,” he added. “Two weeks before the Victorian election ... I'd like to look at the politics behind it—why this has happened at this moment."
The director even used the occassion to publicize his support of the Australian Sex Party, which was offering up candidates for federal office. Speaking at the launch of the party’s Victoria campaign, Wolstencroft said, "The Australian Sex Party, I think, stands up for freedom of speech and libertarian ideals. If you don't have a free society I don't think you have a democracy."
Since then, the legal system began its slow work, and Wolstencroft was recently ordered “by a court to give $750 to Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital,” reported ABC News. That fine, plus the time and expense of being dragged through the courts has Wolstencroft singing a different tune.
"Obviously I really do like to push the envelope and play different material, but look, I submit a list of films and if they reject one of two, it's not going to play," he told ABC News.
The fact that Wolstencroft could have been fined up to $28,000 or been sentenced to two years in jail probably influenced his newfound regret.
"I'm not going to do that again, you know what I mean?" he said. "It's been a bit of a nightmare to be honest; getting charged with anything. If I knew I would be charged I wouldn't have gone ahead and done it."
Spoken like a true rebel.