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MPAA board overturns NC-17 rating for ‘Helena’

Producer Carl Mazzocone won’t have to carve up “Boxing Helena” because the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s Classification & Ratings Administration appeals board overturned the NC-17 rating and gave the pic an R Friday.

“It’s been a long road,” Mazzocone said.

“We’re there. Today I turned the corner once and for all. I’m finally out of post-production, where I’ve been since August of last year.”

The Main Line Pictures production has already been trimmed to meet previous CARA requests.

“The cuts they wanted in January were implemented, and the film was rescreened July 1 for the MPAA,” Mazzocone said.

“They found (them) insufficient and requested additional changes, which I thought were unnecessary. In order to sustain the artistic integrity of the film , I chose to appeal. And we won, 11-2. It felt great.

“The four-minute love scene that was in question remains intact,” Mazzocone assured. “What’s up there on the screen really speaks for itself.”

Orion Classics can go ahead with plans to release the film Sept. 3, with a 200-print platform branching out from 35 key cities in the U.S. and Canada.

On Sept. 6, the original director’s cut of the film will unspool at the Venice Film Festival.

Orion Classics VP John Hegeman, who appealed with Mazzocone, said the film “is Jennifer Lynch’s vision of a desperate situation where a man and a woman encounter each other’s darker side. It is not an exploitative production, but one that manages to deal with the differences between people.”

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