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Law may end film censorship in Chile

'Pepi' debate helps spawn legislation to be intro'd in Parliament

SANTIAGO — The storm of controversy over Pedro Almodovar’s 1980 pic “Pepi, Luci, Bom y Otras Chicas del Monton” is driving new legislation to eliminate film censorship after more than 30 years.

Chile’s Consejo de Califacion Cinematografica (Cinema Ratings Council), the government-appointed board responsible for film censorship, met recently to review a draft of the legislation that would put an end to censorship, directly affecting international distribs and pay TV operators.

In late July the CCC and the TV regulatory agency Consejo Nacional de TV (CNTV) went head to head over the issue after local cable provider VTR went unpenalized for the May airing of the Almodovar pic, which has been banned in Chile since 1982.

Pay TV loosens up

The CNTV has since argued that the broadcast did not violate censorship laws, which have been loosened for pay TV providers since the introduction of decoding boxes.

A new anti-censorship law will likely be introduced in Parliament next month. Before it’s submitted, the legislation will be fine-tuned with the input of “actors, directors, producers, government authorities, and international human rights leaders,” said Ernesto Galaz, judicial director for the Ministry of the Secretary.

Government sources and industry execs in Chile remain optimistic that, under the leadership of recently elected Socialist President Ricardo Lagos, the end of official censorship in Chile is imminent.

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