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USA Distributor Of Aussie Hit 'The Sapphires' Faces Charges Of Racism, Sexism For Changing DVD Cover

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 6, 2013 at 12:14PM

So, here's the deal... I'm just not in the mood to get worked up over matters like this today, so I'll give you the goods, and you guys can debate/discuss if you'd like.
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The Sapphires

So, here's the deal... I'm just not in the mood to get worked up over matters like this today, so I'll give you the goods, and you guys can debate/discuss if you'd like.

In short, Anchor Bay Entertainmentthe American distributor of the Australian film The Sapphires has put itself in a bit of a jam, and is having to apologize for the Stateside DVD cover of the film, which was altered dramatically from the Australian DVD cover of the film - a move that drew strong criticism of the company.

I think the images speak for themselves, as you can see below - the Australian version of the cover on the left; the USA version of the cover on the right. You can see why Anchor Bay was criticized for the move - one that has been labeled sexist and racist.

Anchor Bay Entertainment said in a statement that it "regrets any unintentional upset" caused by the DVD cover, which will be on USA store shelves today, adding that "new cover art is being considered for future replenishment orders.

The Weinstein Company acquired global distribution rights to the Australian film, after it screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012, and released it in theaters to strong box office.

The Sapphires is inspired by the real-life story of a soul singing quartet comprised of 4 Aborigine women (all sisters) who were the heroines of a play in which writer/director Wayne Blair was an actor in 2005.

Fast-forward 7 years later, and that experience was been reimagined as a feature-length film.

Branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes, the film's full synopsis reads:

1968 was the year the planet went haywire. All around the globe, there were riots and revolution in the streets. There were hard drugs, soft drugs, free love and psychedelic music. There was the shock of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations. And dominating every other news story… There was Vietnam. For four gorgeous young women from a remote Aboriginal mission, 1968 was the year that changed their lives forever. Sisters Gail, Julie and Cynthia, together with their cousin Kay, are discovered by Dave, a down-on-his-luck Irish musician with attitude, a taste for Irish Whiskey and an ear for Soul Music. Dave steers the girls away from their Country & Western origins then flies them to the war-zones of South Vietnam, where they sing Soul Classics for the American Marines. On tour in the Mekong Delta, the girls sing up a storm, dodge bullets… And fall in love.

The Sapphires stars Chris O’Dowd, Aboriginal actress Deborah Mailman, pop singer Jessica MauboyShari SebbensMiranda Tapsell, and Tory Kittles.

It was a box off smash in Australia - the best opening for an Australian movie in almost two years at the time - and was rewarded by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.

Here are the 2 DVD covers side by side - again, the Australian version of the cover on the left; the USA version of the cover on the right.

Watch the trailer for the film below; and underneath you'll find an additional clip:

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm..., WTF?


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