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New Law Improves Regulation of Public Exhibition of Films Published January 11th, 2016, 11:10 am

Businesses that are publicly exhibiting films in the Cayman Islands are following new guidelines, as The Film Exhibition Control Law (2015) came into effect on 1 January 2016.

The law, which was passed by the Legislative Assembly in June 2015, replaces the Cinematograph Law (2009) and designates a Film Control Board that has the authority to rate movies being shown in Cayman. The law also calls for the Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI) to license the premises used for the public exhibition of films.

Commerce Minister Wayne Panton said the legislation seeks to bolster the film industry in Cayman.

‘Government hopes to encourage a variety of businesses to operate on these shores and this legislation provides further clarity for film festivals and other public screenings that can be staged here and grant Cayman positive international exposure’, he said.

‘At the same time, the law calls for the protection of consumers by clearly identifying film content and building in safeguards against minors watching harmful material. Government is not taking away the role of parents in determining what constitutes appropriate viewing, but rather ensuring that parents can make better decisions regarding what films their children watch’.

On 16 December, Cabinet appointed Rita Estevanovich, Tonie Chisholm and Andrew Ebanks to the Film Control Board, for a period of three years. Ms Estevanovich is the chair.

Under the law, persons who intend to screen films that do not carry ratings, such as locally made movies, will need to contact the board in order to obtain a rating, so that the board can review the film’s content. There is a $25 fee to receive a rating.

Movies that are screened without any ratings will be deemed as unsuitable for children; premises are neither permitted to allow children to view such films, nor allowed to screen those movies before 7 p.m. Failure to abide by these conditions will result in a penalty of at least $2,000, and refusing to pay that penalty will result in an additional fine of $4,000, six months’ imprisonment, or both.

The board has the option of banning a movie from being screened if it is considered unsuitable for viewership in Cayman.

In respect to licenced premises, DCI has various powers to ensure compliance with the law. To apply for a premises licence, a person must provide DCI with a valid trade and business licence; and proof of compliance with relevant planning, building, safety, fire, and health codes. The licensing fee will vary between $100 and $1,500, depending on the cost of admission for the screening.

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