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Guidelines for sequential dual ratings for films

Dated: 22 October 2003

From today, film distributors will be able to screen two versions of the same movie, sequentially, and with the second version falling under a different rating.

Announcing the guidelines for the sequential dual rating system today, the Board of Film Censors (BFC) said distributors can now submit a film to the BFC for re-classification under a different rating.

The sequential dual rating system - the first of a series of new guidelines proposed by the Censorship Review Committee (CRC) - allows a film distributor to screen the second version of a movie under the new rating, provided this run starts at least a week after the film's first season has ended.

There is no restriction on which version of a movie should be shown first, as long as both ratings have been approved by the BFC. In addition, film distributors must indicate the film's ratings prominently on all publicity materials. Distributors and cinema operators can advertise a film's second run after the first screening is over.

Explaining the one-week gap between the end of a movie's run and the start of its second screening season under a different rating, BFC chairman Rama Meyyappan said, "One of the BFC's concerns in implementing the dual ratings for films was the potential confusion to the public. For example, dual ratings could make advertising difficult and confusing, as cinema operators and film distributors would have to clearly advertise the two ratings and inform the public about where the different versions are screened. The one week gap addresses these concerns and provides movie buffs with a choice."

Providing movie lovers with more choice was a central consideration behind this CRC recommendation, said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Chief Executive Officer of the Media Development Authority. "The film distributors now have greater flexibility to serve different market segments."

Mr Lim said other CRC recommendations would be implemented over time, as announced last month by Information, Communications and the Arts Minister Dr Lee Boon Yang. "The next major milestone is the implementation of new film ratings next year. We are still working on the details and we will announce them when they're ready."

Film distributors have been informed of the sequential dual ratings for films. As the decision to re-release a particular film under a different rating is based on commercial considerations, the choice ultimately rests with the distributors themselves. This being so, cinema-goers can expect film distributors to be selective in the screening of dual-rated films.