TORONTO, November 21, 2001 ( – An Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB) ban on Fat Girl, a controversial film screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has survived an appeal by the film’s distributors backed by leading Canadian filmmakers. The ban was placed on the film since the distributors refuse to cut scenes showing a 13-year-old and 15-year-old in nude sex scenes. The ruling by an expanded panel of the board was 3-2 against the film, with the two dissenters taking the unprecedented step of filing public dissents.

Dissenting board member Sara Waxman wrote: ‘‘This intelligent handling of a controversial subject, adolescent sexuality, does not glorify or glamorize the subject. If anything, this is an anti-sex film.’’ Board member Roger Currie felt ‘‘the nudity in question was not gratuitous and was a legitimate choice for the filmmaker to make. I feel strongly that in such a situation, the board should exercise discretion.’’ Noah Cowan of Cowboy Pictures, which is releasing the film jointly with Lions Gate Films, was incensed by the decision and is considering appealing the decision to the courts. ‘‘There is the option to appeal the decision to the Canadian courts. We’re going to consult with the group of supporters we assembled and decide what to do from there,” he said. The Ottawa Citizen reports that Cowan said the firm is also considering “some form of civil disobedience.”

OFRB chairman Robert Warren explained the decision on the film saying, “There is a scene where a 15-year-old is [shown in] full frontal nudity in a sexual situation and also a 13-year-old girl with partial nudity in a rape scene. That contravenes a section of the Theatres Act.” Numerous letters from LifeSite readers went in to the board to encourage it to stand firm in its rejection of the film. Warren responded to the letter of one LifeSite reader saying, “It is good to hear from people that agree with our decisions. We usually only hear from those that want us to rubber-stamp everything that is submitted to us.”

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