Showing, studying and making films at school

If you are screening a film to students

We'd like you to read the following:

  • Be aware of the content of the film, as well as the rating/classification and descriptive note. You can search our database of film classifications here.
  • Unrestricted DVDs have green or yellow labels (anyone can watch these DVDs). A red label on a DVD means there is a legal restriction on whom it can be supplied to. Find out more about New Zealand's classification labels here.
  • It is illegal to supply or show a restricted DVD to anyone under the age on the label. This includes clips from restricted films. Teachers or parents cannot give permission for an underage student to watch a film restricted to people over the age on the label.
  • You can seek an exemption from the classification so that you can legally show a restricted film to underage students.

If you have not seen the film yourself, it is worth looking at reviews or reading synopses and content advisories on sites like the Internet Movie Database.

It is a good idea to seek permission from parents before showing a film at school. However, parents cannot give you permission to show a restricted film to an underage child.

If you or your students are selecting games or films for a unit of study or research

We have some suggestions:

  • We have comprehensive case studies on selected films/games/books on our student website which include all the documentation on those titles. Check out the student website
  • When selecting films, students will get more information if they choose a film that has been seen by the Classification Office (e.g. any R13, R16 or R18 film), rather than a film cross-rated from an overseas decision (e.g. most unrestricted films). In addition, films classified before 1994 (eg Heavenly Creatures) do not have reasons for their classification recorded, as the former Film Censor's Office did not provide written reasons for classification decisions.
  • Ideally, students should choose a film or game they are legally entitled to have shown to them. We also strongly recommend students do not select banned games or films for research projects.
  • We are happy to provide information on why films received a certain classification.

If your students are making films to screen to others

You need to know the following:

  • Some films, such as unrestricted films "directly related to the curriculum of pre-school, primary, secondary or tertiary educational institutions" do not need to be labelled. A full list of the types of films exempted from labelling can be found by reading section 8 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.
  • Schools should apply for labels for student-made films if they are intending widely screening, distributing or selling copies of the films. Contact the Film and Video Labelling Body if this applies to your film.

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