Following the tardy release by the Film and Publication Board Appeals Tribunal of its reasons for reclassifying the film ‘Inxeba’ (The Wound), the film’s producers, through its attorneys Webber Wentzel, served a law suit on Saturday, 24 February, seeking an urgent interdict overturning the reclassification of the film.
You can read their application here: http://www.indigenousfilm.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Complete-Affadavit-INXEBA-Webber-Wentzel-compressed.pdf
The FPB Appeals Tribunal overturned the FPB’s original classification rating of 16 LS and gave the film a rating of X18, classifying the film in the same category as hardcore pornography. The tribunal was chaired by Christopher Mamathuntsha and included Professor AS Magwaza, Nonkoliso Sigcau, Manko Buffel, Lutendo Malada, Sizwe Snail Ka Mtuze, and Lihle Mapipa Ndlovu.
The full report can be read on the FPB website: http://www.fpb.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Final-Ruling-Inxeba-The-wound-23-February-2018-1.pdf
Among the reasons for the reclassification, were the Appeals Tribunal’s finding that there was no “scientific, educational and artistic value” in the film. “Since there was no explanation on how the Tribunal reached this specific conclusion, it’s not easy to respond to it,” said producer Cait Pansegrouw. “What I can say is that it would be difficult to argue that our film lacks artistic value, given that it has won 20 awards of excellence internationally and within South Africa. Harvard University, Oxford University, various South African tertiary institutions, and local movements such as Equal Education also have showed interest in including ‘Inxeba’ in their curriculums and programmes.”
Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution, noted with concern that while Contralesa Gauteng and The Man and Boy Foundation, both of which filed an appeal with the tribunal based on the perceived cultural insensitivity towards the Xhosa initiation tradition, requested a revised rating of 18, the Appeals Tribunal reclassified the film as X18, meaning that it can only be distributed from designated adult premises (sex shops), and forcing the immediate removal of the film from cinemas.
“We find this ruling sinister, as the ‘X18’ rating was not requested by the appellants, and it cannot be reasonably justified by anyone who has seen the film,” Kuun added. “It is also worrying that the Appeals Tribunal reached this decision without giving the distributor and producer a proper opportunity to make submissions on the matter. This is plainly unlawful.”
Kuun says that the producers and their legal team are awaiting a response to their urgent interdict by Tuesday, 27 February and plan to be in court next week.
In the meantime, the producers and distributor are asking members of the public not to watch, circulate or buy pirated copies of the film. “Please do not support piracy,” says Kuun. “We are working hard to find legal avenues to make the film available to all those who want to see it. Given the current rating of the film, it is also illegal and a criminal offence currently to view it anywhere, on any platform, either free or paid for. We are very encouraged by the support and enthusiasm of fans, but we urge patience while the legal process unfolds.”
The South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT) will be instituting legal procedures against any business or individual breaching the intellectual property rights held by ‘Inxeba’. To report piracy send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org