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Watching Paint Dry Unlikely to Offend

Friday, January 29, 2016

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Watching paint dry might be an unintended, peripheral part of your job, but rest assured that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) censors have deemed such a program safe for viewers.

At least, that’s the case for watching Charlie Lyne’s film Paint Drying, which received a “U” rating (containing “no material likely to offend or harm”) from the BBFC, Mashable reported Tuesday (Jan. 26).

Paint Drying is not an instructional video, it’s not a training tool, and it’s not a technical guide. Rather, Lyne prepared his 10-hour, 7-minute movie showing nothing more than white paint drying on a brick wall as a protest against perceived censorship by the board and the burden of its fee system for independent filmmakers.

At the start of his project, he acknowledged it was an “intentionally petty act of protest to make the BBFC watch Paint Drying, but hopefully it will also get people thinking about the board and its role within the British film industry.”

Preparing to Watch Paint Dry

In late 2015, Lyne launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed to finance the board screening, D+D News reported Nov. 26. The BBFC charges a £101.50 (US$154.90) submission fee to classify a theatrical release, plus a £7.09 (US$10.20)-per-minute fee, and it is required to watch the entire film.

The fees were one part of Lyne’s protest. A film cannot be shown in the UK without a certification and rating, but many independent filmmakers lack the resources to pay for the review and are ultimately unable to show their efforts.

Lyne also felt that film was being unfairly censored compared to other media, he told Wired UK, and decided to launch the campaign to call attention to the “absurdity” of the review process.

"I just don't understand how, in 2016, we can have a government-mandated film censorship board that's just seen as an inevitable part of the landscape," he added.

According to Lyne’s plans, every donation added a minute to the final film’s screen time and prolonged the BBFC reviewers’ viewing time. In the end, 686 people helped Lyne raise £5,963 ($8,486). He had 14 hours of footage prepared and was ready to shoot more stock if needed, but closed the campaign with footage to spare.

He admitted to being “amazed” by the response and support.

"I wasn't sure whether the project would mean much to people outside of the British film industry, let alone outside of the UK,” he said, “but censorship seems to be a fairly universal concept, sadly."

The Task at Hand

Once the film was submitted, two examiners devoted two days, Jan. 25 and 26, to view the movie. (The viewing was spread over two days because they’re only permitted to watch 9 hours of footage per day, Mashable explained.)

In a statement to the online news site, the BBFC stated it would classify the film like any other submission and without regard to the “motives behind making the film.”

"Examiners are required to watch a very wide variety of content every day, so this didn't phase them," a spokesperson said.

Shortly after completing the screening, the BBFC issued the “U” rating. On its Releases website page, the board has classified the film as a documentary that is simply “a film showing paint drying on a wall.”

The Future of Paint Drying

Now that the film has been classified for theatrical release and deemed “suitable for all,” Lyne is considering public viewings.

Prior to receiving his film’s rating, he told Mashable, "I've been talking to a cinema in London about showing the film, but as somebody pointed out on Reddit yesterday, I shouldn't even be thinking about screening it until I have the approval of the BBFC," Lyne said.

"Like all British filmmakers, I'm at their mercy."


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating Materials; Coatings; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; Masonry; Masonry coatings; North America; Paint

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