The Weinstein Co. has lost its appeal to overturn the R rating assigned to “The Tillman Story.”
Docu, which opens Aug. 20, tells the story of how former NFL player Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire while serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan in 2004. Film received the restrictive R rating because of language.
Director Amir Bar-Lev and producer John Battsek met with the appeals board for the Classification and Rating Administration on Thursday. They argued that the film is an accurate depiction of the war and that it should be seen by high school students.
“We didn’t put in a lot of swear words to be titillating,” Bar-Lev told Daily Variety after the hearing. “The subject of our film was football players and soldiers. It will come as no surprise that football players and soldiers speak this way. We had no choice. This is a documentary.”
Bar-Lev maintains that the R rating will make it harder for young people to see the film and learn about Tillman’s story of giving up a promising football career to fight for his country in the wake of 9/11. Doc also explores the Tillman family’s fight with Army and Bush administration officials to uncover the truth about his death.
“Young people are the subject of all sorts of sanitized versions of what soldiering is like and what war is like,” Bar-Lev said. “We’ve been screening the film since January. Time and time again, veterans and people currently in the military have thanked us for our truthful portrayal of war and of the military people who serve our country.”
At Thursday’s hearing, the appeals board took statements from Bar-Lev and Battsek. CARA was represented by chairwoman Joan Graves.
A successful appeal requires a two-thirds majority affirming that the rating is “clearly erroneous.” The objective of the appeals process is to ensure that the rating system remains consistent and credible, according to the appeals board.