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August 13, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

The MPAA’s appeals board has rejected The Weinstein Co.’s efforts to overturn an R rating meted out to its upcoming documentary The Tillman Story for “excessive language.” Producer John Battsek and director Amir Bar Lev personally appeared before the panel to make their case that young viewers not only be allowed to see their movie but that they should be encouraged to do so. The decision would also appear to dash hopes of the filmmakers to distribute the film to schools following the theatrical release. The documentary concerns the friendly fire death of former NFL star Pat Tillman in Afghanistan in 2003, the alleged efforts by the military to cover up the true cause of death and characterize it in heroic terms, and the counter-efforts of Tillman’s family to learn what actually occurred. The Hollywood Reporter said today (Friday) that the ratings board particularly objected to a scene in which Tillman, as he is being fired on by fellow American soldiers, shouts “I’m Pat f***ing Tillman.” The trade publication quoted director Amir Bar Lev as insisting that the documentary “is not an anti war film. … We’ve had very positive response from veterans.” In a statement, Harvey Weinstein said, “These ratings need to not only be based on content but also context. This film needs to be viewed as a historical document that can serve as a learning tool in schools across the country.” The film is scheduled to open in New York and Los Angeles on August 20 and expand on September 3.