Already some schedule changes with the 2011 LDS Film Festival (which starts tomorrow, January 26th).
The original schedule had a late-night Friday showing of The Maze — a horror film / thriller featuring a group of teens who sneak after hours into a corn maze and are stalked (pun intended) by a serial killer. The Maze (IMDB) comes from director Steve Shimek, a graduate of the BYU film school, and filmed locally at a corn maze near Tremonton.
(More details about the film can be found within this Daily Herald article about the film festival)
The above article notes that due to its subject matter, The Maze is admittedly “more violent than the norm for the LDS Film Festival.” *Too* violent apparently, as the screening has now been cancelled and removed from the official festival schedule.
Why? Because the film received an R rating from the MPAA (for “violence and bloody images”), and both the festival and the SCERA theater hosting it have strict rules about screening R-rated films. Too bad for Steve Shimek and his directorial debut.
Here’s my question, though: what’s the difference between the film that was accepted into the LDS Film Festival in the first place, and the current film that now has an R-rating?
Nothing. It’s the same film.
It has exactly the same violent content now as when it was (presumably) screened by Christian Vuissa and/or the other heads of the LDS Film Festival and judged to be acceptable to show in the first place. The only thing that has changed is it now has an official rating from the MPAA.
What’s the principle here? Pulling the film now, simply because of the change in rating classification, sends a curious message about the standards SCERA and the LDS Film Festival are trying to support: that a movie’s rating is more important than its content (since the latter hasn’t changed).
The Maze was apparently judged acceptable by SCERA / LDS Film Festival standards at the beginning, and considered worthy to show LDS audiences who may be interested in this type of ‘edgier’ horror fare, regardless of the violent content. The film hasn’t changed, and now SCERA seems to be saying staying above reproach in the public’s eye in that “we don’t show R-rated films” is more important than actually judging the content of the film itself.
If The Maze is “too violent” by festival standards, it shouldn’t have been approved for the festival in the first place. If it’s not “too violent” by festival standards, then what rating it was given by some other arbitrary organization makes no difference. Festival bosses were seemingly comfortable letting audiences see the movie and decide for themselves, without being too concerned about its violent content. Now they are, yet nothing in the film has changed. What lesson are they trying to present, here?