The filmmakers of “The Tillman Story,” about fallen U.S. soldier and pro football player Pat Tillman, are appealing the MPAA ratings board decision to give the documentary an R rating for “excessive language.”
Appeals hearing is set for today in Los Angeles. The Weinstein Co. releases the film in theaters Aug. 20.
“Tillman Story,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was directed by Amir Bar-Lev and produced by John Battsek.
Bar-Lev said the film’s language isn’t gratuitous. He added that the restrictive rating will prevent young people, who are the very people who should be exposed to a great American like Pat Tillman, from seeing the film.
In the film, Pat Tillman’s family fights to learn the truth about his death while serving in Afghanistan. Tillman was killed by friendly fire, although the Bush administration initially insisted Tillman was killed by enemy forces.”Of course there is excessive language,” Battsek said. “This is a film that follows a truly exemplary family torn apart by the death of their loved one and the barrage of government deceit they encountered in their pursuit of the honest truth. We should be looking at this film as a way to show our younger generation the power of true family values and the sometimes unfortunate failings of our government.”
Harvey Weinstein said “Tillman Story” is one of the “most important films I’ve distributed in my career, and I want my teenage daughter, and the nation’s young adults, to be able to watch Pat’s story. We need to learn from this story, and limiting who can see it is not the answer.”
“Tillman Story” is the second documentary in recent weeks to spark a ratings appeal.
Filmmaker Yael Hersonki was unsuccessful, however, in convincing the ratings board to overturn the R rating for his Holocaust documentary “A Film Unfinished.” Rating was given for “disturbing images of Holocaust atrocities, including graphic nudity.”
Hersonki, distrib Oscilloscope Laboratories and Warsaw Ghetto survivor Hana Avrtuzky argued that the ratings board should consider the context of the images and, like Bar-Lev and Battsek, argued that younger people should be allowed to see the film for its historical significance.