• Nolan Schmidt

FILM CORNER - Reaper Island Removed: How YouTube Removed then Reinstated an Award-Winning Short



Well, last month was an interesting one when it comes to the recut version of my first short film, Reaper Island.


Reaper Island: Redux was selected by the Magic of Horror Film Festival as part of their "Give Us Your Worst" Film Contest this year, and it went up against two other nominees to be awarded the worst. On the night of September 20th, Magic of Horror live streamed their award show (which they decided to do instead of having it be held in person due to the COVID pandemic). Near the end of their virtual ceremony, Reaper Island: Redux was announced as the winner of its category.


However, something else happened that very night for Reaper Island: Redux that I didn't expect.

It was removed by YouTube for violating their community guidelines.


I awoke to find an email explaining how someone flagged my video as inappropriate, and YouTube decided to take it down after believing that it "violated" their guidelines. Thinking it may have been a joke at first, I went to check my NHS Films channel to find...

It was indeed removed.


I had several questions for YouTube. What was in the film that it was deemed "inappropriate?" Was it the strong language in the film or was it the violence? If it was either, then YouTube should be cracking down on a good chunk of videos containing such content, which there is a lot of on their platform.


YouTube had been notorious of allowing really disturbing content under their radar that was geared towards children from 2014 to 2017 (which would be referred to as "Elsagate" due to some of the said videos featured Elsa from the Disney movie, Frozen).


I wrote an appeal claiming that the content in my short film was no worse than some of the other videos on YouTube that is considered worse. I even made a video entitled, "Where is Reaper Island: Redux?! (YouTube Takes Down an Award-Winning So Bad It's Good Short Film)," to bring awareness to what happened.


Honestly, I was even prepared to write a column here on Texas Free Press, but I waited to see what would happen.


I heard nothing back from YouTube. The film did get accepted at Cine Underground (in Italy) for their Old but Gold Night program, but no word from YouTube.


On October 2nd, I went to check out something on the NHS Films channel until I saw this...

Reaper Island: Redux was back on the channel!


YouTube didn't send me an email telling me that they reinstated my film, but it was a call to celebrate. I won my appeal!


I never would thought that something like this would happen. However, like a classic Hollywood movie, it ended off on a happy note.