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Durban Fest Cancels Screening of a 2nd Film, but for Benign Reason

Pic is pulled because board has yet to see Michael Winterbottom's "Look of Love"

The 34th Durban Intl. Film Festival has cancelled a screening of the Michael Winterbottom film “The Look of Love” because it has not yet been classified by the South Africa Film and Publication board. However, another screening of the film is scheduled for Sunday, July 28.

The action follows the sudden cancellation of the opening night film, “Of Good Report,” directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka, as reported in Variety on July 19.

The Winterbottom cancellation is not the same thing as the “Report” incident. In the cancellation of the July 18 screening of “Report,” the board had refused to authorize any screening of the film, claiming it would constitute a criminal offense. In the Winterbottom case, they didn’t refuse to authorize the film; they simply hadn’t seen it yet.

In a statement, the festival said the screening was cancelled because “we were unable to send a screener in time to the Film and Publication Board as per their request. As the film has not been exempted from classification, we were unable to screen it. The film has not been classified by the Board. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

Of Good Report” was among seven festival films that the board’s classification committee had requested to view, based on the films’ synopses.

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“The Look of Love” is about Paul Raymond, who owned several strip clubs and a porn publishing empire in the U.K., and became known as Britain’s richest man. Steve Coogan stars as Raymond.

Qubeka and the UKZN, the body that oversees the fest’s organization, said last week that they intend to appeal the decision on “Report.” If that fails, the pic’s producer, Mike Auret, himself a lawyer, will take it to the Constitutional Court, labeling the board’s action “unacceptable and embarrassing to South Africa.”

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