Protest at board ban on gay film

The classification board has been accused of double standards for refusing to allow gay sex film I Want Your Love to be screened at queer film festivals, a decision Hollywood heartthrob James Franco labelled ''embarrassing''.

Jain Moralee, director of Sydney's Mardi Gras Film Festival, said the decision by Classification Australia to refuse to grant an exemption from classification to allow the sexually explicit feature to screen in three festivals meant the board was ''censoring the kind of sex we can see''.

''I wonder if we're talking about double standards here,'' Ms Moralee said. ''They are choosing not to engage with the context in which the film was to be screened and one has to ask if it would be the same if it were heterosexual sex that was being shown.''

Actor James Franco intervened in the dispute via a video post in which he said director Travis Mathews was ''using sex in such a sophisticated way'' and labelled the board's decision ''just embarrassing''.

Lesley O'Brien, director of the classification board, said in a statement on Tuesday that ''the film was not granted an exemption because to have done so would have been inconsistent with [the film festival] guidelines''.

She noted that a decision had not yet been made on an application for exemption by the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, which opens on March 14.

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