EXPERT OPINION: HOW DO PARENTS IN THE INDUSTRY FEEL ABOUT THE BBFC? – TEXT LUKE TIERNEY
Lets talk ratings. The BBFC or British Broadcast of Film Classification have taken it upon themselves to start rating music videos that are commissioned in the UK. Big deal right, well maybe, but it’s certainly got people talking.
Following our BBFC review with the twitter family, we talked to the parents of the music video industry’s next generation. Does having a child affect your opinion of ratings, as it turns out, yes and no. Check out what Lisa Foo, Georgia Hudson, Sasha Nixon and Emile Rafael think, all having had a child in the last year.
LISA FOO – COMMISSIONER @ SONY:
Whether you’re a parent or not, I hope we all understand & agree that it is important to try and screen what our children watch and have access to, especially when they are young and impressionable. The problem with age ratings is that unless someone is there to enforce them, we really can’t be sure of what difference it’s going to make. In my opinion, if you are concerned with what your children are viewing, you should be monitoring them and ensuring that what they are watching is acceptable by your own standards.
As a new mother, of course I’m going to try my best to keep an eye on what my son watches as he grows up, but to be honest, my concern is much more with the abundance of easily accessible disturbing and explicit real life videos out there (ie. beheadings, killings, extreme pornography etc.) rather than anything I’ve ever come across in any music videos.
GEORGIA HUDSON – DIRECTOR @ AGILE FILMS:
Ive never really seen a music video that I thought took it too far to be palatable, and the couple that are just sensationally violent I switch off as I can’t stomach it… I have no idea whether Rudy will even feel what he sees, if he does as I do, I guess he will moderate his own viewing instinctively, or learn to when something feels wrong to watch.
So will the ratings actually stop the underage from watching what they set out to watch? No chance! They will just feel all the more illicit, excited and rebellious, which are divine feelings that are also excellent rights of passage. I would fully encourage an inquisitive and interested nature that doesn’t accept the rules on face value, so go ahead with the ratings, make the discovery all the more enjoyable.
I would prefer my son to have a glimmer of the darkside through a fictional 3:40 min video as a voyeur than to be partaking in grimy sniper video games or getting swept into Londons actual darker currents. More for knowing what’s out in the world and being educated enough to swerve it. Innocence is not ignorance.
SASHA NIXON – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER @ FOREVER PICTURES:
It has come as a surprise to me in a way but yes I do feel differently about this issue now than I might have done pre motherhood. I am against censorship and pro freedom of expression naturally, but I think the concept of giving boundaries to kids is valuable, because as a mother my eyes have opened more to the fact that there is so much darkness in our mad world at the moment to contend with, and so protecting innocence is imperative because it doesn’t last long. Let’s not underestimate how a barrage of sexualised images of women can affect young girls. Anorexia and complexes about having any bodily hair for example.. Why do we want this for our kids?
Films and computer games are subject to classification, arguably without stultifying creativity, and I think we mostly consider it fair that a 10 year old shouldn’t watch a really violent film… so why should music videos be any different? The whining about it from directors winds me up because being creatively free isn’t synonymous with the use of sexual and violent images, so work around it or accept that a few less eyeballs might see your work – boo hoo. And let’s face it, banning a video by a big artist, or making it less accessible, has always been good for creating a buzz, so perhaps only emerging artists will ‘suffer’ the most from having their videos rated, or being told to keep things clean.
Will the rating system actually stop kids managing to watch the videos? I don’t know, and the answer is probably that it will prevent as many as it manages to attract through creating controversy.
EMILE RAFAEL – DIRECTOR @ AGILE FILMS:
To be honest, I’m not completely sure. My world is still being flipped upside down in the most amazing way, so my opinion on this might change.
I do actually watch things when rocking Elin to sleep, and sometimes she turns and looks and I wonder if any particular image will haunt her.
I guess in a very idealistic way I hope we can bring her up with good taste, because that’s what it will come down to. There are soulless videos that set out to grab views through explicit nudity (I made one like that once by mistake and still feel a part of my soul missing) and violence, but on the other hand there are also videos that do have explicit content, but in a meaningful and beautiful way. It is all about the manner in which the material is handled.
I guess the question is this: What is the rating system really trying to do? Is it going to stop kids watching those videos? I don’t think so. Is it going to stop the production of videos made to shock and grab views above anything else? Probably not either.
We do need to continue having conversations about the nature of making meaningful work and bad videos in general, but I feel like there needs to be another way beyond just slapping an age rating on a video.