>Um. Pornography is in focus?

>A twist on an old joke has cropped up around CineKink, surfacing more frequently around festival submission time:

“What’s the difference between art and pornography?”

“Pornography arrives with its 2257 compliance properly identified.”

Bah dump bump.

Anyway…an expansion on some of the topics we discussed during our recent SXSW panel, The Porn Police: Know the Rules, an article by attorney Alan Levy has just been published in The Yale Law Journal.

First tracing the history of federal 2257 record-keeping regulations and its recent judicial back-and-forths, the article then goes into the implications that they present to all filmmakers, including those working with actual and with simulated depictions of sexual conduct.

Mainstream filmmakers should be especially concerned with the language of the most recent published § 2257 regulations, in which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrote, “Section 2257A requires that producers of visual depictions of simulated sexually explicit conduct maintain records documenting that performers in those depictions not be minors.” Does this mean that a noted film such as Taxi Driver, in which a twelve-year-old Jodi Foster portrays a thirteen-year-old prostitute, is unlawful? What about the more recent controversial film Hounddog, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and portrayed twelve-year-old Dakota Fanning as a rape victim? Even a film nominated for Best Picture at the 2008 Academy Awards may be affected by § 2257A. Atonement has one scene of explicit simulated sexual conduct involving actress Juno Temple, who was seventeen years of age at the time of filming.

While filmmakers working in the adult arena are, for the most part, all too aware of the regulations, their existence seems to escape notice of documentarians who occasionally stumble into the realm of actual sexual conduct. (And again, we ask, what the hell does that mean?) And with the expansions presented by 2257A, a huge new class of fiction filmmakers is folded into the mix.

For all, it is critical to know both the rules and the risks – and to work together in protesting their chilling presence.

To read more of Alan’s article: How “Swingers” Might Save Hollywood from a Federal Pornography Statute


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