By Brendan Swift

FedFest will revamp its entry guidelines after winning film Spider was controversially not shown at the Melbourne short film festival.

It followed a ruling by the Classification Board on March 7 that Spider could not be shown at Federation Square due to its MA+ rating and scenes that were “strong in impact”.

Three other short films that were screened at the festival on March 15 were also required to have coarse language removed: The Cook, Numurkah and How Much Do You Love Me.

The FedFest judging panel were informed of the circumstances before selecting the competition winners on March 13 and the festival audience was informed before the screening, according to director Simon Ford.

“I made the decision to keep Spider in competition as a judge’s award in the overall best film category, as Nash Edgerton, the film’s director, had already been notified as a finalist,” he said. “I adhere to my decision.”

The film has been posted on its website along with Mr Ford’s full statement.

The FedFest entry guidelines, which were previously on its website between October last year and January this year, did not contain criteria regarding content, rating or classification.

Mr Ford said next year’s FedFest will require all films to be rated no higher than PG or M, contain no coarse language, and require approval by the classification board and Federation Square before being approved for entry.

He also said the judging panel (Madman Entertainment’s James Hewison and Nick Batzias, producers Jason Byrne, Beth Frey and Lizzette Atkins) effectively managed any personal conflicts of interest.

Mr Byrne did not vote on three films entered in the competition because he had produced them, Mr Ford said.

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