The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is marking its 100th year in 2012 by resurrecting its
historical Theatrical Black Cards. Beginning in January cinema-goers across the UK will see updated versions of the vintage Black Cards ahead of all 2012 theatrical releases. The six retro designs based on those used in 1913, the 1940s, 1960s,
1970s, 1980s and the present day will be released as a series with each design appearing for two months at a time.
The first retro card to be show in cinema's in 2012 will be based on the 1912 theatrical card, first shown in 1913.
Other activities taking place to mark the BBFC Centenary year include a film season at the BFI; an exhibition about the history of the BBFC; and a Centenary book mapping 100 years of film classification and controversy.
David Cooke Director of the BBFC says: The BBFC's Centenary is a chance for us both to look forward and to celebrate our past. We are constantly striving to develop new services; provide the public with fuller, richer information; and to
improve our efficiency. At the same time, we recognise our duty to explain our history, and we do a lot of this, particularly with schools and teachers. The retro Black Cards are a way of celebrating our history. I think they're pretty stylish too
Established as the British Board of Film Censors in 1912, the BBFC was designed by the film industry to ensure uniformity in film classification and was a reaction to the 1909 Cinematographers Act whereby all Local Authorities had the power to
provide or withhold licenses for cinemas in their area.
Areas of notable interest in the Board's history include T.P. O'Connor's 1916 list of 43 grounds for deletion, intended as a guide for Examiners; the shifts in public opinion and changes in the law over the decades; and the classification of
various controversial films from Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange to the video nasties of the 1980s.
Today the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent, private, not for profit company which classifies films, videos, DVDs and certain video games, advertisements and trailers under the Video Recordings Act (1984).
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