New Independent feature challenges stringent MPAA guidelines
FREE THE NIPPLE, the new indie flick from debut filmmaker Lina Esco, which delves into the backward censorship laws in America, ironically faces a similar scenario as the characters depicted in her movie. Historically the MPAA has generously handed out NC-17 ratings to independent filmmakers who have chosen to show the most natural thing in the world, nudity and sex. Yet this same institution is allowing more violence than ever in PG-13 films. FREE THE NIPPLE, now facing an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, is embracing a new avenue of creative freedom through crowdfunding, a medium made relevant to the film industry by names like Zach Braff and Spike Lee, who have achieved success in obtaining financing for their films outside of the traditional Hollywood system.
Esco's controversial film based on the true events of two women who ignite a revolution to fight the backward censorship laws in America, stars Lola Kirke, Monique Coleman, Casey Labow and Janeane Garofalo. Esco says "Today, there is more violence in PG-13 movies then in R-Rated films, and an average child in America sees over 16,000 murders on TV by the age of 18. With the amount of gun violence and mass shootings in the US we need to take a deep look into how films and TV affect our youth and our culture. What's more obscene: a murder or a nipple?"
The MPAA, which rates every movie in the US before being released to theaters, is infamous for forcing the hands of big name directors to cut violence and sex from their films. Even moguls like Harvey Weinstein and some the world's biggest actors and filmmakers have publicly gone to war with the MPAA to fight for their artistic freedom. Most recently Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street was forced to cut sex scenes and nudity before its Christmas day release.
To bypass the MPAA's rating system, Esco has teamed up with the new crowdfunding venture Fundaything.com as a next level marketing and distribution
platform to reach the audience directly. "I want people to see the film I intended to make not some Puritanical version that the MPAA feels is appropriate for American audiences," Esco explained. "With this platform I can market my film and connect with the audience without being censored in a country that ironically prides itself on freedom."