It may be useful for companies to receive an indication of the age rating content is likely to receive in advance of its completion and, if relevant, what changes might be required to obtain a particular rating.
The advice we offer is not binding. We reserve the right to reach a different decision when the content is submitted for classification in its final form. This may occur if the finished version is significantly different in terms of content and (particularly if released in cinemas) has a stronger impact than was evident from the advice viewing.
Content may be submitted directly uploaded to Horizon, on DVD/Blu-ray, via FTP or on DCP. Although content must be playable, it doesn’t need to meet the same technical specifications as works submitted for formal classification and may display on screen logos and other text. Although we accept advice submissions in black and white and/or with incomplete sound and picture, the lower the quality of the version submitted, the less helpful any advice we give may ultimately be.
We also consider scripts for advice.
Any content submitted for advice does not need to be retained by the BBFC and may be collected by the customer upon request following the age rating decision. Any advice submissions not collected will be retained for two months, after which time they will be destroyed.
Companies who wish to submit content, complete or otherwise, for an advice screening should make an entry on our client portal, Horizon
If you do not have an account please complete our Customer Account Request form.
We don’t issue any formal paperwork or certificate for content seen for advice.
Where changes are made to content in line with the advice given (e.g. in order to achieve a particular age rating) the fact that such changes have been made, together with a clear indication of their nature, will be published on our website when the finished version is eventually classified.
We intend our advice service to help ensure that distributors get their requested rating if it is viable. Distributors should use the advice service if they are concerned about whether a film will achieve their desired rating, or if the only available version of the film is unfinished.
The BBFC will trial converting advice submissions of completed, finished film to formal submissions under certain conditions, to consider whether to make it an official new service. The policy only applies to theatrical features.
Sometimes, distributors submit a finished version of a theatrical feature for advice for one of the following reasons:
to get advanced notice of the likely category
to ensure it will achieve their preferred category
to assess what changes we may require for it to achieve their preferred category
However, if the work appears finished and no changes are required or cuts are not viable and the distributor requests that we convert the advice submission into a formal classification and is able to confirm in writing that the version we viewed for advice will be the version they release in cinemas, we can convert the advice submission into a formal submission.
The benefits of this process are:
it saves the distributor money
it saves us theatre space and CO resources required for a confirmatory formal viewing on films which exactly match the version we viewed for advice
We need, however, to avoid an incorrect version of the film being released, or a version with an incorrect rating to an audience for whom the film is inappropriate.
Therefore, if it is discovered that a distributor has released a version of a film that differs from the version we viewed for advice and converted into a formal submission:
we will revoke the classification we gave to the version incorrectly released
we will require the distributor to make a new formal submission of the version released, for which we will charge a full fee
In order for an advice feature to be eligible for conversion into a formal submission, it must meet the following criteria:
The release date is at least 21 days after the day on which we viewed the film for advice
The distributor’s request for conversion from advice to formal classification has arrived with us no more than seven days after the day on which we viewed the film for advice
The version we viewed for advice must be the final, finished version that the distributor will release theatrically in the UK, with the distributor confirming this in writing. If the distributor has made any alterations, the distributor has waived the option of receiving a conversion to formal classification
The viewing team must also be satisfied that the version seen for advice is finished; if they have reservations about the distributor’s claims, we may refuse the request to convert the advice submission to formal classification
We must have viewed the content in the format and setting in which the distributor is set to release it (i.e. cinema conditions, with no DOGs/watermarks or time codes on screen)
The version we viewed for advice must not require any compulsory cuts
The distributor must not make any cuts or changes to the version we viewed for advice either based on the advice feedback or for any other reason
For script advice, you do not need to create a submission in Horizon, instead please email the script to email@example.com, we will ask our Compliance team to read through the script and have our Finance team raise the necessary invoice. Advice will be given as soon as possible, but not before the invoice has been paid.