Super 8 Filmmaker John Porter, Toronto, Canada



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Ontario Film Classification Act 1984

24-page article by Taryn Sirove, in Wreck Journal, 2008

Bill 82 - An Act to Amend the Ontario Theatres Act
by John Porter 1985 Photo
(The Funnel Newsletter, Volume 6, #3, Jan-Feb 1985)

Bill 82 actually expands the powers of the Ontario Censor Board while renaming it a "Review Board". The new law was written in response to last year's court defeat of the old law by the Ontario Film and Video Appreciation Society (OFAVAS), which includes representatives from The Funnel Experimental Film Theatre, The Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC), and Canadian Artists Representation Ontario (CARO). The new law received 1st Reading last May, then with elections imminent it received 2nd Reading in late November, then "public" hearings, Final Reading and the vote by early December.

The Standing Committee on the Administration of Justice conducted the "public" hearings (with minimal advance publicity) for a total of 7 hours over 3 days, December 5-7. Under Chairman Kolyn the all-male committee often talked among themselves and made other noise during the presentations (a parliamentary tradition). Each presenter had 15 minutes to speak and another 15 to answer the committee's questions. In favour of the Act were: a Hollywood-based distributor; The Citizens Against Violent Pornography; Roman Catholic and Anglican Bishops; The Video Retailers Association of Canada; the Police Pornography Department; and a York City Alderman / ex-ACTRA President who wants our censors to ban "Hollywood garbage" but he reads the Toronto Sun daily news tabloid.


Opposed to the Act were: OFAVAS (see photo below) which was denied its question period due to time constraints; CFMDC; The Canadian Civil Liberties Association; a human sexuality psychiatrist; The University of Toronto Faculty Association; an "uneducated" private video store owner who made an eloquent attack on Ontario police tactics; and representing the national Feminists Against Censorship, Susan Ditta who gave the most passionate and sympathetic argument for independent film & video artists who do their own distribution and exhibition.

Generally, the pro-censorship speakers were thanked by Kolyn for their noble and important sacrifice of their time and effort, while the anti-censorship speakers were simply told "Thank you. We have received your argument.". Of course these hearings were not meant to change anything, but only to create a proper "image".

Bill 82 was debated December 13 in Provincial Parliament with no advance publicity. MPP Julian Reed (Liberal Party, Halton-Burlington) who spoke out at the hearings, continued his impassioned condemnation of the Bill calling it a "fraud". MPP Marion Bryden (New Democrat Party, Beaches-Woodbine) announced that her party would vote against it, but obviously resigned that it would pass, she gave dry arguments against specific parts of it. Generally the debate was plagued by gross absenteeism from all parties (85%) and inaudibility due to rude, simultaneous talking. Three Conservative Party Government MPPs did their Christmas card mailing at their desk. The Bill was passed December 14, 1984.

An in-depth review of this event will be written by Nancy Kembry for Fuse Magazine.


The Ontario Film and Video Appreciation Society (OFAVAS)
presenting its brief at public hearings into a new Ontario film classification law,
at Queen’s Park Legislative Building, Toronto, December 5-7, 1984.
L-R: David Poole (CFMDC); Anna Gronau (The Funnel); Cyndra MacDowell (CARO).
(photo by John Porter)



WRECK: graduate online journal of art history, visual art, and theory,
Volume 2, number 1 (2008), including the essay

"Freedom, Sex & Power:
Film/Video Regulation in Ontario"

by Taryn Sirove, Ph.D. Candidate,
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

with 3 photos by John Porter (1982-1984) of the
Ontario Film & Video Appreciation Society (OFVAS)
at The Funnel Experimental Film Theatre, Toronto,
and the Ontario Legislature, Queen's Park, Toronto.


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