Richard Wolstencroft, director of the Melbourne Australia Underground Film Festival, was fined for screening Bruce LaBruce’s LA Zombie last year in defiance of a ban by an Australia film ratings board. In November of last year police raided Wolstencroft’s home and he was subsequently charged in a criminal action.
Although the maximum penalty could have been two years in jail or a $28,000 fine, a Melbourne Magistrate’s Court fined Wolstencroft $750, which will be paid to a Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. He escaped being given a criminal record and was given a diversionary order instead. He will however have to pay legal and court costs.
The gay porn film was scheduled for screening in July 2010 at the festival, but after the rating committe refused to give it a certificate Wolstencroft organised a “public disobedience freedom of speech event” at the festival in August 2010.
Wolstencroft reportedly told the Sydney Morning Herald that he felt “a little chastened” by the experience and is unlikely to be so confrontational again.
He will next hold a screening of The Advocate of Fagdom, a documentary about Bruce LaBruce, to raise funds for his legal bill.