Movie star brands Warwick council ‘communists’ as film row heats up

The decision to ban four 1980’s classic films from Warwick’s film festival has caused outrage that has spread all the way to the corridors of Westminster and to Hollywood.

Even American film star Corey Feldman took to Twitter after hearing his 1985 cult children’s classic, The Goonies, had been cut from the free screening list, as we repoerted online and in last week’s Courier.

The film is rated 12 by the British Film Classification Council which means the district council has ruled it cannot be shown in a public area such as Market Place for the Warwick Food and Film Festival in August. Also removed from the open-air screenings due to be shown between August 21 and 25 are Dirty Dancing (12A), Jaws (12A) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, rated 15.

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Organisers of the Warwick Rocks food and film event - which last year brought 30,000 people into the town centre - have been left baffled.

Especially as at last year’s festival they were able to show the PG-rated Tom Gun in Market Place without any complaints from 2,500 viewers.

When Goonies actor Corey Feldman heard about the ban he tweeted: “About the silliest laws I’ve never heard! #Community views #regime #Free Thinking #Truth #Duh! #Mercy.”

In the meantime Chris White MP has written to Brandon Lewis, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which includes the protection of Britain’s high streets.

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Mr White, who lives close to the town centre and was among those in the crowd enjoying Top Gun last year, said: “This decision by the district council is very heavy-handed.

“Any reasonable person would think where’s the common sense? The Warwick Rocks group are volunteers raising the profile of the town and bringing more visitors in.

“We’re not talking about The Exorcist or anything that would cause nightmares. I was among those watching Top Gun last year when there were no problems or complaints. So what has changed this year?

Mr White has written to Mr Lewis to see if he is prepared to get involved. Some wonder if a few judicious cuts could be made to the films allowing them to go ahead.

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But Cllr Stephen Cross (Con, Warwick North), the portfolio holder for culture, said while he is keen to work with the organisers to help them deliver a second successful food and film festival, he must remain firm on the rules on parental guidance.

Cllr Cross said last year the council did not pick up on potential licence breaches on other free films and so no enforcement action was taken. But this year the organisers had advertised the films they wanted to show well in advance even though they had not requested a licene.

Cllr Cross said: “If the films were being shown on private land and not a public highway, this would not be an issue.”