James Franco ‘gifts’ his film to the MQFF
In a coup for Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Hollywood star, James Franco, has announced the premiere of his new film, Interior: Leather Bar, to replace I Want Your Love, which was recently banned by the Australian Classification Board.
The Academy Award nominated actor James Franco, co directed Interior: Leather Bar with Travis Mathews, who was also the director of I Want Your Love.
The Melbourne Queer Film Festival said that Franco and Mathews have ‘gifted’ the film to the festival in response to the shock banning of I Want Your Love.
MQFF director, Lisa Daniel, said:
“It's a huge coup for us to be able to screen James and Travis' brand new film. Given the recent banning of I Want Your Love, a film about censorship couldn't be more topical”.
Franco recently spoke out about the decision by the Australian Classification Board in an online video protesting the ban.
“This just is such a disappointment to me and seems really silly,” Franco said. “The reason I approached Travis to make a film (Interior. Leather Bar) was because of his work in I Want Your Love,” he said.
“It’s very short-sighted and very hypocritical... Frankly, adults should be able to choose. They’re not going in blind. I don’t know why in this day and age a film that is using sex – not for titillation but to talk about being human – is being banned. It’s just embarrassing. I hope you’ll re-consider”.
I Want Your Love was refused exemption from classification by the Australian Classification Board. There is no appeal process and the festival has been informed that even if they paid for it to be classified it would be denoted as X 18+ and not able to be shown.
Interior. Leather Bar has been a huge hit at the Berlin and Sundance film festivals. It examines the making of the 1980 film Cruising, starring Al Pacino as an undercover cop investigating a murder in the NYC gay leather bar scene.
Cruising was plagued with controversy, and its director was forced by US censors to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit material. Those 40 minutes have never been screened publicly – in Interior. Leather Bar Franco and Mathews set out to reimagine what might have transpired in those lost scenes.
(Image: still from Interior: Leather Bar)