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Lusty Norwegian teens too much for US pastor

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Alma (Helene Bergsholm) prepares for a party in “Turn Me On, Dammit!”, a film by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen. (Photo: New Yorker Films)
16:07 CEST+02:00
An Alabama pastor has succeeded in his attempts to block the planned screening of a coming-of-age Norwegian drama film due to what he perceived as its inappropriate content.

Methodist pastor John Kearns contacted the Tuscaloosa Arts Council after seeing an advertisement for the movie Turn Me On, Dammit!, news site AL.com reports.

Affronted by the film’s apparent focus on the sexual awakening of a 15-year-old girl in a small Norwegian town, he asked organizers not to show a film he complained was "not in step with community standards".

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Arts Council said it had agreed to axe the screening of a film written and directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen.

"Due to the misunderstanding surrounding the theme and content of the film, the Arts Council and Bama Theatre have made the decision to cancel its screening, whether represented by the Council or outside entities. We hope this decision represents the wishes of all our constituents."

In what she described as a “dangerous precedent”, outgoing Arts Council board president Rebecca Rothman said Mayor Walt Maddox had personally contacted the council to ask it to rethink its plans to show the film, AL.com said.

"The Arts Council receives city and county funding. We are in the midst of a big fund-raising effort for the new cultural arts center. We were put in a very difficult position,” Rothman told the site.

Reacting to the decision not to show her film, Systad Jacobsen said it was “sad” that anyone would judge the film without actually having watched it.

“Had they done so, they would presumably have expressed themselves differently after seeing that it actually has a Christian conservative message about waiting,” Systad Jacobsen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

“It's not our intention to offend anyone, and I don’t feel that the film is particularly offensive when compared to half-naked Rihanna album covers and the like,” she added.

Olaug Nilssen, the author of the book on which the film is based, described the situation as laughable.

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“I have to smile when I hear this, but first and foremost I consider it regrettable that such a sweet and innocent film gets censored in the US, especially when the reason appears to be the threat of funding cuts,” he told NRK.

Turn Me On, Dammit! (Få meg på, for faen) has been very well received by US critics, with Systad Jacobsen winning a Best Screenplay Award at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.

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