A Week at the Berlin Porn Film Festival

October 31, 2014
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Last week, I went to Berlin for the ninth edition of the Berlin Porn Film Festival, since two of my films were screened in the ‘female porn’ and ‘straight porn’ categories.

The festival began on October 22nd and opened with the screening of the Japanese movie R100. After 100 minutes of dominatrixes, BDSM, monsters, third degree humor and special effects, we were all very excited to dive into this pool of uninhibited talent. The atmosphere was electric and cozy and everybody was just waiting to be amazed. And we were.

120 films were screened over five days at the Moviemiento cinema, which opened in 1907 and is now the oldest operating theatre in Germany, giving the event a nice vintage feel.

A Week at the Berlin Porn Film Festival
Lucie Blush. Photograph by Lucie Blush

It was a pleasant experience to be amongst this gathering of porn enthusiasts, who don’t feel the need to laugh awkwardly when you mentioned anal sex or squirting. The cold pushed us all into the tiny lounge in the cinema where we all got started on our networking, with friendly debates on porn and sex, while drinking ‘FritzCola’ and occasionally sneaking out to the kebab place for a treat.

Among the screenings were not only feature films but also short films and documentaries, from queer to straight, trans and even mainstream films.

This year, more than 50% of the filmmakers were women! We saw the best work of brilliant filmmakers, such as the folks from Four Chambers, Michelle Flynn (Light Southern), Courtney Trouble, Petra Joy, Maria Bala, Lola Clavo, Pandora Blake

The crew also organized a discussion about ‘arthouse’ porn that blew my mind. A panel of porn workers including famous French director Ovidie – who was also there to present her latest film Pulsion – debated with the audience about the problem of authenticity, mentioning the un-credited and censored body doubles who worked on the sex scenes in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, as well as French lesbian film Blue Is The Warmest Color in which they used plastic genitals. We agreed on one thing, that’s not porn.

The program also included ‘Filmmaker in focus’ sessions, featuring American Shine Louise Houston who talked about how it all began and how she set up the CrashPad Series and PinkLabel TV. We listened to Bright Desire’s Ms. Naughty, who’s been shooting porn for fourteen years and told us about the various difficulties of making feminist porn happen. This was one of the last sessions of the week and everybody was starting to release the stress from the overwhelming activity. We watched Dear Jiz, a short film with queer porn star Jiz Lee, who was also there, and both filmmaker and actor were obviously touched by seeing their beautiful film on the big screen together. It was a precious moment that marked the end of a beautiful week and showed how collaborations between filmmakers of this new porn generation are important to creating awesome content and making it accessible to a wide audience. I understand why this festival is one of the biggest in Europe and I have to say it is crucial to the inspiration and growth of alternative porn.

A Week at the Berlin Porn Film Festival
Photograph by Berlin Porn Film Festival

Anywhere I turned, there was an interesting person, either a filmmaker, artist, performer, or simply an interested party. The atmosphere was friendly and allowed us all to really get to know each other.

So far, this has been the most popular edition of the festival with 1,179 visitors. The tenth anniversary, next year, promises to be grand, maybe even forcing the cinema to build an extra room.

From Friday, the event started attracting the ‘weekend crowd’ and the already packed rooms saw the arrival of people who came only for the novelty. Despite a few uncivilized individuals, everybody seemed happy with the screenings and the streets were full of people commenting on their favorite parts.

However, keep one thing in mind. You might not believe me, but there is such a thing as ‘too much porn’. Watching full sex scenes without wanking was often a bit heavy on the eyes and maybe selecting only the best parts would be a good idea, but seeing people gathered to watch porn in a sex-positive, clever way was truly inspirational.

The festival parties lived up to their reputation. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but trust me on this, it was awesome.

Here’s to the same time next year!

Dear Jiz from Ms Naughty (Louise Lush) on Vimeo.

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