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Edited videos stirring up controversy
By JANICA LOCKHART
Husband and wife Jeff and Emily Hannah have become mini-celebrities in the local media world.
They have been featured on three Seattle television stations and two radio stations because they own a new video store in Federal Way, Clean Hits Video.
But one big difference between Clean Hits and other local video stores is that Clean Hits doesnt carry films that have sex, violence or bad language. Theyre all edited for that type of content.
If a customer rents a film at Clean Hits Video and has a problem with the movie, Hannah says, then Clean Hits will have an editing company cut out certain scenes.
To have the film edited, Hannah buys a copy and sends it to a company that has editing technology. The Hannahs and the company, which they would not name, decide on what parts customers would find offensive and have them removed. The original copy is then destroyed.
Even though certain scenes are removed, Hannah doesnt believe the film is being ruined.
The storyline is not being changed when a film is edited, he said. We are providing an outlet for people to see the film.
Emily Hannah said edited versions are shown on television and airplanes, and Clean Hits is not the only video store in the country to edit films.
In editing, its offering American society a choice, she said.
Other films not edited include G-rated and some PG-rated films, such as the Star Wars trilogy and The Rookie.
Lord of the Rings, though, has nothing missing. The main theme of violence cannot be edited out, said Jeff Hannah.
Customer George Smith said his family never watched R-rated movies until he started going to Clean Hits.
It is nice to watch a decent movie without the violence, Smith said. Even the ones edited for TV are bad.
Clean Hits carries more than 300 edited-movie titles, and the Hannahs plan to start carrying more DVDs.
Jeff Hannah came up with the idea for Clean Hits while going to a video store in California that carried films with certain elements removed. He said he loved the fact that the violence, sex and bad language were edited out.
So on Aug. 30, the Hannahs opened their store at 1105 S. 348th St. Since then, theyve been asked by the media about removing certain elements of such R-rated films as Schindlers List and Saving Private Ryan.
On one radio talk show, callers defended the choice to have those films edited, Emily Hannah said.
The Directors Guild of America, which represents Hollywood directors, said in a recent statement that directors have exclusive right to their original work and that editing the films is not a part of the First Amendments right to free speech.
Clean Flicks, a Colorado-based chain of video stores in western states, recently filed a lawsuit against 16 movie directors, including Steven Spielberg, to have the right to edit what they saw as objectionable material from the films that they carry.
Clean Hits is not associated with Clean Flicks.
Emily Hannah said stores like hers and her husbands rock the entertainment community when they pop up.
I hope they (Hollywood) see the need for better entertainment, she said.
Staff writer Janica Lockhart can be reached at 925-5565 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.