sex scene in BananasProposed federal legislation with a name like the Children's Safety Act sounds like something no one would oppose. However, this huge bill related to sex-crime issues includes at least one nasty surprise for mainstream filmmakers. If the bill became law, any film or TV production that shoots a simulated sex scene, even a non-explicit scene, would have to file the same paperwork that porn film producers must file now for scenes of actual sexual activity. The Section 2257 paperwork requires the names and ages of everyone involved in the sexual scene. The idea behind this provision is to further prevent child pornography.

Sound innocuous? It's just one more little bit of paperwork, right? Wrong. First of all, the law would be retroactive to 1995. It might be easier for distributors to cut such scenes out of existing film prints than to bother with a bunch of federal forms. It could be Joe Breen and the Production Code all over again.

But here's the biggest impact: Federal and many state tax incentives for productions exclude productions that file Section 2257 forms. So if your production contained one lingering love scene, even with clothed actors, you wouldn't be eligible for those tax incentives. That's going to hurt productions as well as the film industry in those states. Will we see more films shot in Europe, or an increase in family fare? A similar law was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal court in 1988, so who knows the ultimate effects (if any).
categories Movies, Cinematical