An Australian film school has issued an apology after a production of ‘Abracadabra’ was deemed to be too dark for children.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) released a statement on Tuesday saying it was “deeply concerned” about the controversial film, which features black characters and no white protagonists.
The film was filmed at the Academy of Cinematic Arts and Science (ACPAS) in Melbourne in 2014, where students of the prestigious Australian Film Institute (AFI) were also enrolled.
The production was produced by the Melbourne-based production company Blackbird Films and was made available for free download on the Internet.
The company said it was concerned that “in a production which includes the black characters of many of the characters depicted in the film, a darker tone would be appropriate”.
“We apologise to all of our customers for any concern this may have caused,” Blackbird wrote on its website.
The ACPAS told Al Jazeera it had not seen the film but would “review” it.
“We are deeply concerned about this film, and have received the relevant representations from the producers,” it said in a statement.
“This was not the intention of the film.
We take any complaint of this nature very seriously and we are working closely with the producers to make sure this does not happen again.”‘
Cinematically Correct’ for ChildrenThe film features a group of black kids and their white classmates, and follows them on their journey from “Abraconabra” to “the land of the living”.
The group eventually discovers that their world is populated by people from a different race called “The Other.”
The film is set in a world of dinosaurs and other creatures from the film “An American Werewolf in London”.
The production, which also features an American actress, was filmed in Melbourne’s suburb of Port Hedland, and the film’s director was a former student of the ACPAs.
The academy was forced to apologise after it was criticised by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for not allowing “the audience to experience the emotions of the black children and their black peers as fully as possible” in the script.
The Australian Academy of Film and Television Arts (AABTA) issued a statement in December after the academy received a complaint from a black actress who said the film was too dark.
The statement said that while the academy accepted the apology from Blackbird, it “was unable to agree with the producer’s intention to change the content of the movie”.
The ACMUS is a national association for the teaching of film and television arts in Australia.