Hong Kong International Film Festival

Sexually explicit photo left in film festival brochure

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 April, 2012, 12:00am

Brochures containing a sexually explicit still from a foreign film have been accidentally distributed to the public by organisers of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF).

The HKIFF was asked to cover the roughly one inch by two inch still depicting a sex scene from the film From Seoul to Varanasi after a complaint was lodged with the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (Tela) on March 14.

But only about 4,000 out of 90,000 copies have been masked with white labels. The rest have been shipped off and distributed across the city.

'We know there is some problem,' said Eddie Heung, a festival spokesman. 'Four thousand folders [copies] have already been covered, but as we are short of staff it's hard for us to arrange a pick-up of those in the shopping malls right now.'

About 90,000 brochures have been distributed so far to media outlets, screening venues and malls.

Normally, advertising related to category III films must be approved by the government's Tela, but the melodrama by Korean director Jeon Kyu-hwan was not given the adult label until March 23, after the festival had started. The HKIFF brochure was printed ahead of time, and was not checked. Of the 230-plus festival films, 43 are rated category III.

'Our programming people try and pick the best stills. They'd probably say it was artistic sense,' Heung said.

While film festival attendee 25-year-old Nova Hu agreed the image would be acceptable for the film festival, she said it was inappropriate that the brochure did not come with a warning. 'There should be something on the front of the brochure,' she said.

But Doris Wong, a 29-year-old film student at Baptist University, thought the government was overreacting. 'The Hong Kong government or even parents get easily freaked out when we talk about sex,' she said.

'They always try to hide it from kids, but what I think is they should expose it to kids so they won't be so curious about it and get a good education about sex.'