Getting your film rated
All films that are distributed and/or exhibited in Singapore have to be classified and certified by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to “preserve the artistic integrity of the films, while protecting the young from unsuitable content. Viewers will also have more choices with minimal or no edits.”
While larger companies and film houses have these nitty gritty part of filmmaking down to a pat, how does a beginner get around it, especially if you’re indie, small-scaled and possibly flying solo?
To keep things clear and simple, I shall split the process up into two:
All films must fall into one of the five categories listed by MDA, namely: G, PG, NC16, M18 and R21, all of which, have a specific guideline, as listed on their website.
Also on the website is the nifty online tool for applying for classification online, which is the first step. You’ll need to first read the guidelines above, then decide where you film falls into, and submit it online. A (working) day after, you’ll need to print out the online form and bring it, along with a copy of your film, to the MDA Licensing office [address: 45 Maxwell Road, URA Centre, East Wing #07-11/12, Singapore 069118].
Your film will then be assessed by the Board of Film Censors (BFC) and the outcome can only be either of these ways:
a) They accept the rating which you propose;
b) They suggest a different rating, you make edits to your film to comply; or
c) They suggest a different rating, and you refuse it.
d) They suggest a different rating, and you appeal to the Films Appeal Committee.
Following which, you pay (of course).
You will be required to pay an amount for the classification process, and the rates is as follows:
a) For personal consumption: $1.80; or
b) For public exhibition: $40 per half hour block; or
c) For commercial release: $10 per half hour block
Certification is a separate matter, and require a flat fee of $5 per film.
The entire process should take about 2 weeks or so, but based on personal experiences, we have waited upwards of three-months, so it is best you check on the status after the 2-week mark.
This is a very short ‘how-to’ post, and is by no means exhaustive. If you have the time, check out the types of videos that are eligible for exemption, and good luck!