This Film is Not Yet Rated | 2006
The MPAA, a lobbying organization for the movie industry, maintains a rating system first implemented in 1968 by longtime president Jack Valenti. This system, with its age based content classification using letter grades G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 (formerly X), has become a cultural icon. But behind its simple façade is a censoring process kept entirely secret. Board members are anonymous; deliberations are private; standards are seemingly arbitrary. Thus, the trade organization for the largest media corporations in America also keeps a trademarked lock on content regulation over our most unique and popular art form. Filmmaker Kirby Dick asks whether Hollywood movies and independent films are rated equally for comparable content; whether sexual content in gay-themed movies is given harsher ratings penalties than their heterosexual counterparts; whether it makes sense that extreme violence is given an R rating while sexuality is banished to the cutting room floor; whether Hollywood studios receive detailed directions as to how to change an NC-17 film into an R, while independent film producers are left guessing; and finally, whether keeping the raters and the rating process secret leaves the MPAA entirely unaccountable for its decisions.