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Censor for a Day

Your chance to classify a film

Twice a year the Classification Office runs a programme for senior Media Studies students called Censor for a Day. It is usually held during the first and second (or third) terms.

The event

The event takes senior high school students through the process of classifying a film.

Students are given an introduction to the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. The students then watch a pre-release film. Following a short break, students work through a modified consideration sheet which mimics the process used to classify publications. The day finishes with a discussion and questions.

Locations

The programme rotates between different regional locations.

Events are held in Term 1 and Term 2 (or Term 3) each year. The proposed locations for 2017 are:

  • Term 1 - Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin
  • Term 3 - Wellington, Auckland (3 events at different cinemas)

Invitations

Invitations are sent out to schools - let us know if you want to be invited.

Calls for expressions of interest from schools to participate in Censor for a Day are sent out a few months before each event. If you are a teacher and would like to receive an invitation, contact us to make sure we have the most up-to-date contact details for your school. The Classification Office runs a limited programme and seats fill up fast, so we encourage you to respond quickly when the invitation emails are sent out.

Explaining the legislation

OFLC presenter at Censor for a Day
At Censor for a Day Classification Office staff explain the legal criteria used to classify films

Having a go at classifying

Students completing the classification exercise at a Censor for a Day event
Students complete a written exercise in applying legal criteria to a film to assign a classification

Glossary

Pre-release film
A film that has not yet been shown to the New Zealand public

Our most recent event

The Term 2, 2016 Censor for a Day event was held at Event Cinemas Lower Hutt and New Plymouth, at Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North and Reading Cinemas Napier. Around 280 students from 15 schools attended. After spending the morning learning about the classification law, students watched the film Mr Right and undertook a classification exercise.

Results

Students were asked to apply New Zealand's classification criteria to the film and decide what classification they thought was the best fit. There was a lot of interesting discussion about how the classification criteria should be applied to the film and students chose a variety of classifications.

Read the full report

Mr Right movie poster

This sort of violent comedy — think 'True Lies' meets 'Grosse Pointe Blank' is tough to pull off, but Spanish director Paco Cabezas and screenwriter Max Landis ('American Ultra') nail a screwball fantasy vibe that stops just inches short of downright silliness.

Lou Lumenick, New York Post

Past events

Each time the Classification Office runs its Censor for a Day programme, we write up a report about who attended the event, the film we used and how the students classified it. Here are some of the reports for past Censor for a Day events.

A still image from the film of three characters on Waiheke Island with Auckland in the background

Term 1 2016: Orphans & Kingdoms

The Term 1, 2016 Censor for a Day event was held at Event Cinemas Lower Hutt and Tauranga, and Hoyts Te Awa Hamilton. Around 270 students and 15 teachers from 14 schools attended. Opinion about Orphans & Kingdoms was unusually varied – with the largest number of students choosing the uncommon RP16 classification (26%), followed closely by R13 (22%). Overall, a majority (56%) close a full restriction of some kind (R13, R15 or R16) and 40% chose the partial parental accompaniment restrictions (RP13 and RP16). Orphans & Kingdoms is classified RP16 in New Zealand with the descriptive note 'violence, offensive language, nudity, drug use and suicide'.

Read the full report about how students classified the film

A still image from the film of 3 young people - Jib, Diggy and Malcolm - standing with their bikes

Term 2 2015: Dope

The Term 2, 2015 Censor for a Day event was held at Event Cinemas Lower Hutt, State Cinemas Nelson, Reading Cinemas Dunedin and Hoyts Riccarton in Christchurch. Around 380 students and 15 teachers from 17 schools attended. A majority (77%) of the students decided the film should be classified R16, followed by R15 (10%) and RP16 (6%). Two percent of students opted for the unrestricted M classification (suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over). Dope is classified R16 in New Zealand with the descriptive note 'violence, offensive language, drug use and sexual material'.

Read the full report about how students classified the film

A still image from 'Ex Machina' of Ava, the humanoid robot looking at a face on a wall

Term 1 2015: Ex Machina

The Term 1, 2015 Censor for a Day event was held in the Wellington and Auckland regions at Event Cinemas in Lower Hutt, Albany, St Lukes and Manukau. Over 500 students and 30 teachers from nineteen schools attended. The majority of students (52%) assigned Ex Machina a restricted R16 classification. R15 and R13 were the next most popular classifications (each chosen by 12% of students). The Office of Film and Literature Classification has classified the film R13 with the descriptive note 'Nudity, offensive language and content that may disturb'.

Censor for a Day Term 1 2015 report (PDF, 1.59MB)

A still image from 'Housebound' of two of the main characters - mother and daughter - looking scared

Term 2 2014: Housebound

The Term 2, 2014 Censor for a Day event was held in Lower Hutt, Hamilton, and Tauranga. In total around 250 students and teachers from eleven schools attended. They applied the classification criteria to the New Zealand horror-comedy Housebound. The majority of students (52%) assigned Housebound a restricted R16 classification. R15 was the next most popular classification (15%) followed by R13 (12%).

Censor for a Day Term 2 2014 report (PDF, 1.17MB)

A still image from 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' of the hotel's concierge desk manned by Monsieur Gustave H. with Lobby Boy Zero Moustafa standing in the foreground

Term 1 2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Term 1 2014 Censor for a Day events in Wellington, New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Napier. In total 485 students and teachers from nineteen schools attended. After learning about the criteria used to classify films, they watched the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. The majority of students (62%) assigned The Grand Budapest Hotel an unrestricted M classification. R16 was the next most popular classification (17%) followed by R13 (11%).

Censor for a Day Term 1 2014 report (PDF, 761KB)

A still image from 'The East' of the main female character standing in the woods

Term 2 2013: The East

The Term 2 2013 Censor for a Day events in Wellington and Auckland. In total 691 students and teachers from twenty-one schools attended. After learning about the criteria used to classify films, they watched the film The East. While M was the most popular classification with students (46%), overall the majority of students thought the film should have a restricted classification. Restrictions included RP13, RP16, R13, R15 and R16.

Censor for a Day Term 2 2013 report (PDF, 1.21MB)

A still image from 'Trance' of a woman looking into many reflections in a mirror

Term 1 2013: Trance

The Term 1 2013 Censor for a Day events kicked off in Wellington, before heading south to Dunedin and Christchurch. In total 399 students and teachers from eighteen schools attended. After learning about the criteria used to classify films, they watched the film Trance. 81% thought that film should be classified R16, primarily due to the film's depictions of violence, cruelty, crime, and sexual content.

Censor for a Day Term 1 2013 report (PDF, 628KB)

A still image from 'Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter' of the main character sitting in a chair with his top hat pulled down hiding his face

Term 3 2012: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

In Term 3 2012 we took the Censor for a Day programme to Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga. In total 344 students and teachers from fifteen schools attended. They applied the classification criteria to the action/horror film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. A majority of students (85%) assigned the film a restricted classification, with R16 being the most popular choice.

Censor for a Day Term 3 2012 report (PDF, 699KB)