Leonie Rae Gasson's 'Rein' Loses Creative Scotland Support

EDINBURGH, Scotland—Creative Scotland, a publicly-funded development body for the arts in Scotland, has announced that it has officially withdrawn its support for a controversial 45-minute art film by Glasgow-based director Leonie Rae Gasson.

The project, entitled "Rein," won an award of £84,555 for its development and production.

According to local news reports and tabloids, the project was initially presented as an art film exploring "dyke sexuality." Critics began calling on Creative Scotland to pull support due to "non-simulated" and "hardcore" sex scenes featured throughout.

"Following a review of the application, assessment, and contractual agreement regarding the project 'Rein,' Creative Scotland has made the decision to withdraw support for this project and will be seeking recovery of funding paid in respect of this award to date," reads a press statement provided by Creative Scotland. In terms of background, the organization explained that "Rein" was awarded funds through the Open Fund for Individuals on January 29 following an application, assessment and panel decision.

The contract, says the organization, requires that no changes are made to the project without prior written consent, and the project funding recipient cannot change the subject material of the initial pitch. Creative Scotland alleges contract violations.

"Failure by an award recipient to comply with the conditions of the funding award entitles Creative Scotland to require repayment of any funding received by that recipient," says Creative Scotland.

BBC reports that "Rein" attracted controversy over the subject matter. Meghan Gallacher, MSP, a conservative (Tory) deputy leader in the Scottish Parliament, called on the Scottish government to strip funds of the project. 

Creative Scotland awards projects independently of the government's involvement, reports the BBC.

Gasson's description of the project presents the film as a "pro-sex and pro-sex worker project." 

"If you are selected to be in the cast, our intimacy coordinators will support you to more clearly identify your detailed needs and boundaries with the sexual aspects of the work," said Gasson, via the BBC.

A gossip column for The Spectator, a pro-Tory political magazine, mocked Gasson's project and Creative Scotland pulling support.

At the time of this writing, the "Rein" website is completely down.

It isn't unheard of for public funds to be awarded for projects that are viewed as "pornographic." AVN reported in 2022 that Lustery was awarded funds from a German public service broadcaster to produce a pornographic work.

Lustery founder Paulita Pappel directed the project, which is available on Lustery POV.