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Friday, 15 September, 2000, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Directors call for tougher ratings
Scene from Gangster Number 1
Directors want detailed content labelling for movies
Top Hollywood director Rob Reiner has called for a stronger system to protect children from harmful subject matter in films.

Reiner, who directed Misery and When Harry Met Sally, made his announcement as a spokesman for the Directors' Guild of America (DGA) at a press conference on Thursday.

It follows the publication of a US government report criticising the the entertainment industry for marketing violent fare to children - in the wake of the shootings at Columbine High School last year.

We believe there are steps we as an industry can take to ensure our movies are seen only by the audiences for whom they are intended

Rob Reiner

The DGA press conference was called so the 10-member enquiry team, including Reiner, could present its own findings and recommendations in the debate.

Reiner began by saying: "We believe in freedom of speech and expression as social values of the highest order."

But then he added: "At the same time, as responsible members of the community, we believe there are steps we as an industry can take to ensure our movies are seen only by the audiences for whom they are intended."

The US government report was conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and ordered by President Clinton.

It found a "pervasive and aggressive" marketing of violent movies, music and electronic games to children.

President Clinton praised the FTC report saying: "They're trying to sell their movies and other products to the very people they themselves say shouldn't see them."


Reiner, whose credits also include This Is Spinal Tap and A Few Good Men, refuted this criticism.

He said the DG fully recommended introducing a more elaborate ratings system taking in all media, including film, video games, TV and music.

Rob Reiner
Reiner has made a wide range of movies across all genres

Such a system, he said, would give consumers more information about content, the reason for the rating and serve both the entertainment industry and the public better.

Currently, the ratings set by the Motion Picture Association of America do not include details of the content or the nature of material.

The PG-13 rating cautions parents that "some material my be inappropriate for children under 13", while an "R" warns that anyone "under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian".

The directors were particularly critical of the NC-17 rating which states: "No-one 17 and under admitted".

They said it was an "abject failure" because it denied adult projects publicity and put them in a distribution "ghetto".

They added that many NC-17 films, never intended to be seen by children, were also cut and edited and given an "R" rating.

As part of the DGA recommendations, cinema owners and distributors would also bear responsibility for protecting children from unsuitable material.

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See also:

14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Censors relax film guidelines
12 Sep 00 | Americas
Hollywood denies 'selling violence'
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