Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

The Australian Classification Board is unmoved by James Franco’s YouTube plea to reverse the ban on I Want Your Love, the gay-themed drama written and directed by his friend and collaborator Travis Mathews. Last month the board nixed the film from appearing at several fests including Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival and the Melbourne and Brisbane Queer Film Festivals. Festival films usually are exempt from classification but the board’s director Lesley O’Brien tells Deadline the film did not meet the board’s fest guidelines because, had it been classified, it would have been tagged X 18+ (Restricted) due to the “prolonged scenes of actual explicit sexual activity.” As the film wasn’t classified, the fests cannot lodge an appeal to the Review Board. O’Brien said the film could still be submitted for classification but the clear implication is that it would be rejected unless the explicit scenes were cut. Franco did get support from Greek/Australian author Christos Tsiolkas who accused board members of  taking “homophobic and anti-sex positions”. Tsiolkas wrote The Slap, which Universal Television and Matchbox Pictures are developing as a miniseries for NBC, and Dead Europe.

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