Cambridge director’s new film to be given age rating by councillors

Writer/director Ben Crowe (left) on set with Indea Barbe-Willson, who plays the lead role in Verity'

Writer/director Ben Crowe (left) on set with Indea Barbe-Willson, who plays the lead role in Verity's Summer. - Credit: Archant

COUNCILLORS are set to step into the DeLorean time machine and travel Back to the Future to decide the rating of a prospective film for Saffron Screen.

Uttlesford District Council’s licensing committee has been given the task and is a throwback to a practice common in the 60s and 70s.

District councillor Keith Eden, a Saffron Screen board member, will act as an adviser to the committee as members seek to judge what rating should be given to the independent film Verity’s Summer.

“It is quite unusual and certainly unique for Uttlesford,” he said. “It takes me back a bit because I remember it being done by local people when I was younger.

“A filmmaker would often be able to get it to a wider audience by having it classified at a lower age rating locally than perhaps it would be nationally.”

Cllr Eden said award-winning director Ben Crowe’s intention was for the film to be shown on the arts house circuit rather than in the major national cinemas like Cineworld.

Verity’s Summer is a coming-of-age story about a 16-year-old girl who must confront the secrets of her father’s time in Iraq when an ex-soldier turns up in the small Northumberland coastal town where they live.

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Mr Crowe, who lives in Cambridge, told the Reporter the film was to be shown at around a dozen cinemas across the country. He said asking local authorities to license the film was cheaper than approaching the British Board of Film Classification.

“Many of the local authorities we approached didn’t know they had the powers give permission to show films under the Licensing Act because this is quite rare,” he said.

“What we’re doing is quite a new low budget strategy but in another way it’s old-fashioned because it was something filmmakers did in the 50s and 60s.”

Saffron Screen’s Rebecca Del Tufo told the Reporter the film was “in the mix” to be shown in the independent cinema’s summer programme but that nothing was set in stone yet.

“It’s very intriguing and almost a step back in time to have the local council given responsibility to decide on an age rating.

“I remember hearing stories from the 70s about how some films were banned in one town but allowed in another depending on what the council had decided,” she explained.

“Ben was originally hoping we could show it on the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on March 20 but unfortunately our programme is already agreed up to April.

“It is in the mix to be shown in May/June as part of an independent summer of British films we’re looking into putting on, although nothing has been finalised yet.”

The licensing committee will make its decision about the rating of Verity’s Summer next Monday.