The director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival was fined $750 for an illegal screening of Bruce LaBruce’s avant-garde horror film LA Zombie.
Richard Wolstencroft was sentenced to pay the sum to the Royal Children’s Hospital as punishment for screening the film, starring gay porn model François Sagat (pictured), in defiance of the Australian government’s film classification board. The film was initially slated to be screened at the festival in July 2010, but Classification Australia refused to grant classification to the film, making it illegal to screen publicly in Australia.
Rejecting the prohibition, Wolstencroft held a screening, which he called a “public disobedience freedom of speech event,” on August 29. In November, police raided his home and threatened to confiscate every DVD and computer in the home until they were satisfied with his claim that he destroyed the only DVD copy he had.
“I am giving some serious thought to holding the next MUFF in exile,” he said.
The maximum penalty for the illegal screening was two years in jail or a $28,668 fine. To defray his legal costs, Wolstencroft is holding a fundraising screening of director Bruce LaBruce’s documentary The Advocate of Fagdom. This time, it’s all legal.