St Kilda Film Festival: Content Censored

Last Thursday night I had the opportunity to attend the opening night of the St Kilda Film Festival. With a broad range of genres covered in the eight films that screened, it was interesting to see the diversity in content.

My favourite film of the night was the 12-minute documentary by Henry Thong, titled Content Censored. The documentary investigates censorship, free speech, and creative expression against the backdrop of the 2014 Sony Hack and the 2015 Charlie Hebdo Attack[1].

Intrigued by the theme, I researched the director’s inspiration for making the film. In an interview with the Adelaide Review, Thong said he wanted to inform the public about how content censorship might impact creatives in the future. In both the Sony Hack and the Charlie Hebdo Attack, ‘an external force attempted to silence these critical and creative voices through violence and intimidation’[2].

After reading this, it got me thinking about the potential censorship issues that we as filmmakers might face in the future. In Hannah Herrmann-Payn’s blog post she describes her mindset when writing a script as when her mind is most open to create, “I don’t hide from ideas, because why would I?”[3] In Australia, we are lucky to have such freedom in our choice of themes and ideas; yet, not all countries are as fortunate in their creative expression.

It was interesting to see this documentary and empathise with the theme. Kalu Ogi summarized the art of filmmaking perfectly: “one of the most beautiful things about writing and directing your own work is that you get to follow the story all the way through.”[4] Looking at the scenarios within Thong’s film, it’s heartbreaking to see creatives around the world being intimidated into oppressing their ideas by dominant powers and groups. Henry Thong’s documentary brings light to these examples of content censorship and creates discussion surrounding the subject. With the growth of political correctness and mediation, the risk of losing our creative freedom becomes more and more possible. Everyone deserves the right to an opinion, and everyone should be able to express it.

 

 

[1] Content Censored, directed by Henry Thong (Adelaide: Henry Thong, 2016), DVD.

[2] “Content Censored,” John Dexter, The Adelaide Review, February 19, 2016, http://adelaidereview.com.au/arts/cinema/content-censored/.

[3] “Ask the Right Questions, Get the Right Answers,” Hannah Herrmann-Payn, Hannah Herrmann-Payn, May 02, 2016, http://hannahohp.freeblog.site/home/ask-the-right-questions-get-the-right-answers

[4] “BTSq1 (Exercise 3 script realisations),” Kalu Ogi, Untitled Film Blog, April 14, 2016, http://ogkalu.tumblr.com/post/142785644203/btsq1-exercise-3-script-realisations

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