2008 was, as Queen Elizabeth once famously said, an “annus horribilis” — which, for those of you who don’t speak Latin, means “horrible anus.” After being surrounded by a long string of deaths, estate entanglements, failed marriages and job losses, it seems the coming year can hardly go any worse.
Yet on my own career front, things are hopping, and I’ll be spending January 2009 getting no less than three feature film projects lined up for development. Which doesn’t mean any of them will end up on the new-releases shelf of your local video store any time soon (or ever), but at least they’re over the first hurdle.
Among them is Sex Tape, my Telefilm-backed project that I just signed a first-stage development contract for. The contract was the usual mumbo-jumbo of legal clauses and ass-coverings, but then I came across one particular paragraph that caught my attention.
Article 7c reads: the Project will not contain any element of serious and gratuitous or explicit and excessive violence, and any element which is predominantly characterized by the undue exploitation of matters of a sexual nature, or matters of a sexual nature and one or more of the following subjects: crime, horror, cruelty and violence, or any other sexual offence under the Criminal Code or any matter which is libelous, obscene or in any other way unlawful.
Well where’s the fun in that? I’m concerned I may already be in breach of contract based on the title alone. I was so tickled to get a green light on a movie called Sex Tape during the Harper administration, and now I’m being told I can’t put anything really horrible in it. Gratuitous sex and violence is what good cinema is all about. Trust me on this one, I’ve seen a lot of movies.
I can’t help but wonder if Article 7c is a recent addition to Telefilm contracts in light of the Young People Fucking kerfuffle when the Conservative Government’s collective head exploded over what Canadian tax dollars were bankrolling. Never mind that the offensive part of that film began and ended with the title, it’s not like any of Harper’s minions were ever likely to attend a screening of the thing to confirm their moral indignation was merited. Much as good cinema runs on gratuitous sex and violence, good politics runs on gratuitous moral indignation.
I guess I’ll just have to water my story down in the name of getting a smiley-face government-office rubber stamp of approval. Sex Tape is now about little bunny Froo-Froo who hippity-hops her way down to the mayberry bushes to eat some magic truffles that make her wigglely-wagglely ears turn all pink and polka dotted, much to the amusement of all her cuddle-bunny friends who are ever so busy nibbling their way through farmer McTavish’s cabbage patch, the naughty wee rabbits! Then, and only then, is little bunny Froo-Froo caught performing fellatio on Reginald Q. Raccoon down in the glory-holed toilet stalls of the bus depot for twenty bucks and a rock of crack. But it all ends happily ever after when little bunny Froo-Froo gives birth to a litter of coke-addicted mixed-race bastard pups who are all sent to the animal shelter for euthanasia and wind up getting sold under the table to a team of pharmaceutical research technicians for product testing and vivisection.