“Waste of time”: BC regulator forcing Rio Theatre to censor film at festival

Tonight is day one of Dan Savage’s Hump, a film festival showcasing amateur erotic short films at the Rio Theatre, and Consumer Protection BC is forcing the theatre to censor a portion of it or face the consequences.

A three-minute-long short film is at the centre of this controversy.

Corinne Lea is the CEO of the Rio Theatre, and she put out a statement on Thursday afternoon with an update on the festival and the order to censor the film.

The Rio Theatre has just been informed by Consumer Protection BC that they are censoring Dan Savage’s HUMP! film festival that opens tonight at the Rio,” she said.

The Rio has been informed if we proceed without censoring the film, we could lose our licence and face possible criminal charges,” Lea added.

A little later, Lea said, “I’ve just been informed that the film that has been removed is a same-sex married couple who are expressing their love through consensual bondage.”

Hump is a 19+ event and takes place between April 11 and 13 in Vancouver.

Rio submitted the program to BC Consumer Protection “at its request,” Rachel Fox, a Rio programmer, told Daily Hive.

BC Consumer Protection told the Rio in a letter that it was bothered by the three-minute short film called The Reward, which included a scene “that spoke to bondage.”

“That was the wording in the letter,” Fox added.

“What they said verbally was that it showed non-consensual bondage.”

In response, Fox told Daily Hive that all the content in all the films is completely consensual. Fox said the short film in question would have to be removed for them to screen the festival.

Fox and Lea have both stated that this is the first time this festival has ever faced any sort of censorship, and it is shown globally.

“They’ve never been hit with censorship,” Fox said.

“This is such an overreach. It’s a waste of time. It’s like five people in an office with nothing to do,” she said, audibly frustrated.

Before the Vancouver screenings, Hump was shown in New York and Berlin, and following Vancouver’s event, it will be heading to Philadelphia, Toronto and Columbus.

Ridiculous. Sorry you have to deal with this garbage,” a Rio follower said in response to the censorship.

We’ve contacted BC Consumer Protection for more information. We’ve also contacted Savage for his thoughts on this first-time censorship of his event.