I can’t believe its December already. This year just flew by and I feel that my feet have barely touched the ground. It was a flurry of flights, festivals, trade shows, workshops, meetings and TV interviews.
I have enjoyed reaching out and connecting with other female erotic filmmakers. Some of them have become good friends and we inspire and support each other in many ways.
I am very much looking forward to make these filmmakers and their unique films heard and seen all over Europe with my upcoming DVD compilation: “Porn for women”. I would like to show the great diversity in female directed porn – each of us has focuses on different female fantasies and creates films with a very unique creative hand-writing. It feels great to be connected to such a strong network of powerful women who all are helping to transform the adult industry and empower and liberate women. Together we are not just strong but unstoppable. It is an honour to be the curator of this exquisite compilation that will enable many viewers to discover more great films from a female perspective.
I am also pleased to represent the fabulous Marianna Beck in Europe and help her to get distribution in the UK and Germany. Her films are artistic, creative and sensual and deserve to be seen in Europe. I feel like an archaeologist discovering and unearthing buried treasures. In the eighties I watched a lot of porn and found no films that I liked. Twenty years on I have the pleasure of viewing more and more films that I enjoy and would like to share with other women. For five years now I have been doing my own distribution and PR and I am so pleased that the time has finally come to share the contacts and skills I have with other female directors that are coming in from the cold.
I feel that my work as a curator is a natural progression of my work as a director and teacher. The time has come to take a deep breath and harness all my powers in order to put porn for women on the world-wide adult map.
2008 might not have been a rewarding year financially but I have gained things money cannot buy: friendships and awards that feel that my vision and mission is being seen and heard and understood. In times of this economic crisis, it is more important than ever to count our blessings. And I count them every single day.
I am happy that the seeds I have sown for many years have flowered and are now bearing fruits.
And in the New Year they are ripe and ready for picking. I hope you will share them with me. I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a creative, prosperous and exciting 2009!
I overheard someone the other day speaking about Buck Angel – the man with a pussy – calling him “sick and twisted”. She said angrily: “She claims to be a man but it is bullshit. She has a pussy so she is a woman pumped full of hormones. It’s disgusting, really”
I am always surprised by the strong reactions anybody provokes who dares to question gender stereotypes and indulges in some form of “gender bending”.
My strap-on scene in “Female Fantasies” caused a big stir and was censored by one of my biggest distributors. And that was just a woman wearing a plastic cock for a bit of role play. But to see some hunky men sucking a (plastic) cock worn by a gorgeous feminine woman was more than the allegedly-liberal adult industry could handle. In straight porn, women are supposed to be ultra-feminine and men are dominant super studs – there is no room for any play with gender roles.
We hold on to our perception of what it means to be male and female as if we don’t have a choice to reinvent ourselves every single day – no matter if we were born as a woman or a man. What makes a man a man? It is not just his cock. We are more than our reproductive organs and gender is a state of mind.
If Buck Angel feels like a man, let him be a man. He has got the muscle, attitude and way of life. Good for him that he did not choose to have his vagina transformed into a fake penis just to conform to what we expect a man to be. Why would he swap a giant clit that gives him multiple orgasms for a fake penis that can neither become fully erect, nor ejaculate and that would give him far less pleasure than his pussy?
Another gender-bending hate figure is Thomas Beattie who decided to utilise his womb in order to give birth to his children. Thomas is similar to Buck a “FTM” (female to male transsexual). He had his breasts removed and has had hormone therapy but never wanted to have a hysterectomy and labiaplasty. He wanted to have the choice to have children with his wife who was not able to have children naturally anymore.
He chose to physically mother and psychologically father his children. The world has been up in arms since the story of the “pregnant man” broke and YouTube is inundated with hate messages from “real men” ridiculing and abusing Thomas. Not only did he have the audacity to preserve his pussy but he kept his reproductive organs as well, and the public demands him to make a final choice: Be a man and get a cock, or stop taking hormones and live your life as a woman who is not just allowed to be expected to become a mother. Thomas pushed the envelope even further than Buck.
Buck embraced being a man by living out his very active, ‘male’ sex life in full view of the public. Thomas is allowing himself to take the gender bending even further by utilising his womb rather than paying a surrogate mum to mother his and his wife’s baby. He is a man yet he chooses to become a biological mother and focus on his family. And that is something those ‘real men’ cannot accept or respect. They want him to be in a nightclub, get pissed, watch strippers and crack jokes about gay men. But the times are changing and more and more people stand up to be whoever they want to be – call it male or female, transsexual or third gender or simply a free, individual and unique spirit.
In the animal realms gender is much more fluid. At any stage in their life fish can swap gender and they often do. My boyfriend had three swordtail fish in his aquarium: two female and a male. When the male died, one of the females did her very own gender reassignments by growing a swordtail within a week. I therefore christened him “Buck”. And it’s the male seahorses that give birth.
For a long time I was optimistic. The talk of the “credit crunch” is everywhere and I thought as I have no property to sell it won’t really affect me. I will be OK, slowly making my way out of red and into black figures. Things were looking up: A few weeks back I was delighted to sign a distribution deal with a big record company and film distributor for my soft films. My friend Ian, a gay erotic film producer, hooked me up with them and I was so happy to finally have found a company that would get my films into high street shops such as HMV and Virgin. The soft cuts were made, a new BBFC license was paid, new covers were designed and a print run was done. All of this is not cheap and comes in at around two thousand pounds per film. But I was optimistic that I would not only make my money back but eventually make a small profit too and that without me having to pack boxes and write invoices.
On Tuesday Ian and I went to meet the sales team of the company to firm up the “Feeling it!” soft-cut release. Everyone was in high spirits for the year that lay ahead and the team was very appreciative of our chocolates and bucks fizz. Smiley faces all around. We chatted briefly about the fall of Woolworth and an attached multimedia company but when it came to discussing a contract renewal for next year, we were assured that all would be well. The happiness did not last. Not even 24 hours.
The next morning, when I opened my mail box I found a mail from the distributors stating that the company had gone into administration and will not be able to pay me or Ian for any of our sales. They will also withhold our remaining stock and if we get it back at all after two months we will have to pay a fee for the packing, handling and delivery.
My whole world came crashing down. It’s not just about the stock and the price for the print run as such. It is also about the huge investment I made to do the soft cuts and get the BBFC licence in the first place. I would not have done that if I had not been sure to finally have found an efficient company that could represent me and generate some serious sales.
Now I don’t even think that I will ever do a print run of “Feeling it” in the soft 18 rated version, so the re-edit, BBFC license and cover re-design were all for nothing.
I have tears of anger and frustration in my eyes. This is the second time that a company that owed me a lot of money had gone bust. A few years back I was owed a large amount by a publishing company for articles I had written and lots of photos I had taken. I always delivered way before my deadline, worked my ass off typing and photoshopping until the small hours and then I did not get a penny. What an easy way out for them – they just don’t pay their debts, shed them like an old skin and then start afresh without being weighed down by the red numbers. Very convenient for them but terrible for all the little sole traders and companies that are left to pick up the pieces and pay the price. Because there is no easy way out – we still have to pay our bills that allowed us to create a product for them to sell. It really sucks and it is not what I needed a few weeks before Christmas.
I tried to contact everyone of eight the sales team members that we met on Tuesday but they have except one all been let go – just like that, without any notice. I am deeply shocked and sorry for them. And it leaves Ian and I in limbo because we have no one to communicate with.
I can’t believe that this is happening. It just seems so unfair. And the collapse will continue; without stock we cannot trade and supply stores with our goods and the customers will not be able to buy any of our products, even if they wanted to. It’s a lose-lose situation.
They call it the “credit crunch”. But it’s no joke. This is not a “credit crunch” but a full-on recession that has hit the UK and me.
The first part of a special feature in which Petra discusses “What Women Want”
I just got back from Erotica in London – the UK’s busiest and biggest adult life style show. It has been an amazing experience and I am so glad that I was invited to take part giving my seminars “How to shoot your lover! Erotic film making for couples”.
From the opening on Friday at noon until closing time Sunday at 8 pm the show was buzzing with people and a really happy, playful, sensual vibe. An unbelievable 100,000 people came through the doors of Olympia in three days. There were at least as many women as men visiting the show and loads of couples browsing. Somehow our tiny velvet clad booth became a magnet attracting literally thousands of people to stop by and chat about my concept of art-core porn.
It was such a pleasure and buzz to meet so many women and men who are hungry for erotic delicatessen such as my first film “Sexual Sushi”. Most of the people who came to chat with us never liked or had enough of mainstream porn and were looking for something more creative, arty and sensual. Having only dealt with wholesale buyers in the past I am used to be told that my films are only for a insignificant niche market, difficult to promote and hard to sell. Erotica told a different story: the buyers wanted the films and they were chuffed to meet me and two of my most amazing performers who have worked with me from the start: Emilia Ren and Violetta Storm. I have never done so many signatures in my life like in the past three days: Emilia, Violetta and me seemed to constantly sign one of our DVD’s and it was an honour to do this for so many nice people.
I have said for quiet some time now that the future of the adult industry will be to celebrate a return to sensuality, rather than just promoting hard and fast sex; to create erotic films that are upmarket artistic and creative rather than just showing assembly line fucking. The future buyers for adult products are liberated women and couples who had not enough choices of sensual toys and films in the past.
The women and couples who are ready to enjoy a new kind of porn are not a niche market – they are a force to be reckoned with and tired of being patronised by an male dominated industry that refuses to change and grow.
One afternoon we had an interesting visitor at our booth. A large lady wearing a bight pink T-shirt with the slogan “Jesus loves porn stars” – Violetta though it was a joke, but it wasn’t. They were there to save the fallen girls who got into the porn industry and to rescue victims of porn addiction. The Jesus lady left soon enough when she realised her stereotypes of women being victims in the adult industry and all porn producers exploiting human beings did not fit our mission: we empower women who choose to be and see our films, have not made a profit with our films and generally encourage people not to just copy what they see in porn but to make their own and have sex in their unique individual ways. But she would not leave without firmly pressing a bible into Violetta’s hand. She could not believe her eyes and nor could I when I went onto the company’s website where they sell “online recovery courses” for porn victims at $180 a go.
Violetta decided (no surprises here) not to spend her hard earned cash on the recovery course but on three brand new pairs of high heeled shoes. She loved them so much that she broke them in at night when we were lying on our hotel beds trying to relax after 12 buzzing hours on the show. I invested into three new masks for my dressing up box and treated myself to an amazing black corset that is encrusted with crystals, created by the designer who did create the outfits for Moulin Rouge.
I am very happy right now. It has been a great few days that were worth all the time and energy we whole heartedly put into it.
After a long year of hard work with no (financial) profit so far, this was just what I needed – the feedback of the people who want sensual porn that they can enjoy together without being alienated by fakeness and extreme sexual stunts. The future of porn is in sensuality, art and creativeness. We are the future ! I would like this opportunity to thank everyone who came to my workshops and the booth to encourage me to keep up what I am doing ! Thank you for chatting to us, sharing your erotic ideas, come to be cast for a shoot and supporting us buy buying our films. Thank you o the Erotica organisers to put on such an amazing events with many new attractions such as the sumptuous VIP lounge, sexy men in hot tubs and a huge variety of seminars that enable people to explore their sexuality even further.
It is the night before Erotica. My flat looks like a warehouse that has been hit by a hurricane and my mind is buzzing. The phone has been ringing non-stop today and my inbox is overflowing following our being featured today in the Metro newspaper. It is my first big piece of publicity in the UK and it is great that finally Violetta’s and my mission to liberate and empower women to make their own adult films is being heard and seen. I spent the last 3 weeks preparing for this huge show and have worked day and night to make it all happen.
I am exhibiting with the support of six gorgeous friends and we all will be there to meet women and talk about female fantasies and porn for women. I will be teaching two workshops a day (twice as many as last year). One will be on how to make your own creative porn and the other on the female perspective on porn.
Night after night I have viewed literally hundreds of porn films to find creative clippings for the presentations, packed 200 goodie bags for all the women (thank you to my sponsors Pjur lubes and Lovehoney), and I have written ten page hand-outs. Phew! Now there not much more that I can do except hope that I will get a good night’s sleep before packing up the van bright and early to head up to London to set up the stall and the be a guest at the UK porn awards.
I am sure I will have wild dreams tonight – in anticipation of Erotica and of course the awards. Thanks if you voted for me and supported me.
In my mind I am writing and rewriting my list of things to bring over and over again:
DVD spinner… passes… car pass… Horizontal Banner… 2 X Vertical banners… Table… 3 chairs… pillows… Suitcase with materials… Table displays: acrylics + Deco… Awards… red columns… DVDs (4 titles)… Posters/Frames for table… 2 laptops… discs clips !!!!… Notes presentations (DOUBLES !!!)… projector… projector screen… goodie bags… VOD vouchers… guild book… playing cards… still camera… video camera… clothes suitcase… material suitcase… food and drinks… Fridge…
I am sure I have forgotten something. There must be something. And I will probably only realise it when I am in London. But we will manage somehow.
Sometimes (always, actually!) I wish I could clone myself, so that one of me could be on the Erotica stand whilst the other one teaches a workshop and the thirds watches the Erotica shows sipping champagne. My boyfriend tells me he would like me cloned too. But it is not possible, so I will have to run on turbo-power to sparkle through the next few days.
If you are heading to Erotica come along and say ‘Hi!’ to Violetta, me and the team. We are at booth H4 and the times of my free presentations are available in my diary and at the Erotica website.
See you in London!
An in-depth interview with Petra discussing her films.
The third pornfilmfest has been and gone and for me it was the best so far. It was an honour to be invited to all three festivals and show my films to a large audience in a proper cinema. Unfortunately the last two festivals passed me by because of a whirlwind of media commitments, I finally had time this year to really enjoy the festival.
Juergen Bruening, the curator and his team put on such a fantastic event: three cinemas with a total of six screens, showing erotic films, porn and documentaries about sex for five days nonstop. The screenings were backed up with a huge variety of presentations, workshops and fantastic all night parties.
The Wintergarten Cafe in the Movimento cinema in Berlin Kreuzberg became a hub of creative activity with filmmakers and performers from all over the world exchanging ideas, contacts and dreams. I never spent a single minute alone there, as thanks to the previous porn film festivals the family of filmmakers has grown so much and I am part of it for good.
It was great to meet Karen, all the way from Australia where she runs a website with film reviews and further info on porn for women (www.forthegirls.com). We have been in touch many times by email and she has always been really supportive so it was great to say “Thank you” in person. I enjoyed meeting Maria Llopis from Barcelona again, a radiant experimental erotic filmmaker. I spend many hours in the cinema watching films that have no distribution in Europe and can usually just not be found and seen. There were real diamonds to be found in the short film competition. I adored an Indonesian film called “Hula-hoop Soundings“, featuring a girl with a hula hoop talking dirty, an American film called “The Window” featuring three hot men leaving their inhibitions behind and playing in the windows in full view of the neighbours and an Argentinean animation with the title “The blindness of the woods” done in the style of 70’s Scandinavian porn.
It was a pleasure to watch a lot of hot porn and if you know me, I guess you will not be surprised if I tell you that most of the films that I loved and that tuned me on were gay films. I really liked “Too hot in Tel Aviv” from Roy Raz – three short stories shot in a very refreshing way all with handheld camera and focusing on the gorgeous men involved rather than just their cocks and asses. It was also great to meet Todd Verow who produces mainstream porn but also expresses himself with autobiographic experimental films that always surprise in their unique look and feel. His new film “Where your heart should be” premiered at the pornfilmfest. (www.bangorfilms.com)
It was so exciting to meet other filmmakers after their films were shown and be able to chat to them in the cinema and then later at the night bar until the early hours. The night bar happened every night at the Tek Mer, an ex-Turkish supermarket that was still open for business a few weeks back. During the pornfilmfest it became a centre of alternative erotic culture. And what a tonic the nights at the night bar were, especially after the blunt boredom of the Venus. In true Berlin style I had the pleasure to be part of a lot of unforgettable party nights. My favourite night at the night bar was the Thursday when everyone in the bar seemed to be an erotic performer or filmmaker. There was a bed next to the dance floor and it did not take long until two guys got it on and then they became three and ultimately four guys. It was so hot and sexy to watch them giving each other pleasure live, because in swinger clubs or fetish parties man-on-man action is always taboo which really annoys me. I loved the fact that the guys did not do a performance on stage but just enjoyed playing even though people were watching. It’s not often a straight woman gets to watch a posse of hot men making out just inches away from me and I loved it!!!!
Sunday night was a highlight too. At first I invited Belle and Mia Magic – both performers in my current release “Feeling it!” – to dinner, followed by our film showing on the largest screen of the Movimento cinema. The cinema was sold out and I was really happy and excited that 150 people had paid €7 to see my film on the big screen. Those are the moments me and my team work for. The magic moments money can’t buy. To be seen and heard and understood. To inspire the viewers and get immediate feedback so we can grow and develop. After the screening we had a glass of champagne and stayed on for some very interesting Q&A’s and then joined the pornfilmfest team at the night bar. It was my night again as the very hot Brent and Skunk put on a gay show and we ended up chatting all night about male sex objects for women. They both would love to model and perform for me and are flattered to turn women on. Brent just wrote in a follow up email to me:
“It seems to be taboo for a woman to say that she enjoys watching two guys making out and this is made worse with the fact most porn is made by straight men for straight men. I think Women see things different to men and this should be reflected in the Porn for Women…”
Wise words indeed and I look forward to future co-operations with Brent and his playmates.
It was also pleasure to meet the fabulous Lazlo Pearlman – a man with a hunky tattooed body, a gorgeous face and a – wait for it – pussy! Lazlo is an FTM (female to male transsexual) and is proud to be enjoying the best of both worlds… I greatly admire gender pirates like Lazlo who do not conform to gender and role stereotypes and choose to be whoever they want to be and in the process break all moulds.
This is what the pornfilmfest is all about: challenging stereotypes, breaking taboos and ultimately broadening our horizons. I am signed up for that mission too and together we will continue to change the world – even if it does not pay.
More info on the festival can be found here: www.pornfilmfestivalberlin.de
I just hope that the festival will continue as no-one can afford to work for nothing; or worse – pay to work. So I wish the teams lots of (financial) support, so that their ground breaking worr may continue for many more years.
I had it all planned out: A ‘women only’ event. Women getting together to talk about ‘porn for women’. I wanted two male butlers in the buff serving strawberries and champagne. The butlers being the “eye candy” for the girls – showing off their biceps, pecs and bums, serving the women in a polite manner. Women first. Women on top.
Little did I know that the bar where I was to run my event was a bar where men normally have a post-wank beer after they have enjoyed some solo play time in the sex cinema. A venue that clearly caters for men and their desires with larger than life photographs of female porn stars on the walls and no indication of male sex objects on display whatsoever. It took all afternoon to transform the venue and make it more attractive and comfortable for women. We covered the slot machines and swapped the beer pads with rose petals and feathers. Eventually the butler arrived (my hosts supplied me with one rather than two eye candies). Whilst I was briefing him on how to treat the ladies and kitted him out with a short black waiter’s apron, cuffs and a bowtie I was in for a nasty surprise.
The butlers in the buff are about showing off the best features of a well toned guy in a cheeky yet non-offensive way. They go down a storm at many events all over the UK and I had one in my orgy scene in “Feeling it!” I had sent the organiser the pictures displaying the best features if the butler – covered at the front with a black apron put displaying his naked, sexy peach bum at the back. However to my surprise the hosts of the vents did not share my enthusiasm. They demanded that the sexy butler would wear a cheap and cheerful pair of boxer shorts to cover up his best bits, as they considered his bum to be “rude, dirty and offensive”. I was gobsmacked. In this very venue female porn stars regularly display themselves more or less in full frontal nudity and only 15 meters away hardcore porn was playing in the sex cinema to entertain the male crowds suddenly a double standard was applied: naked women being considered as “normal and sexy”, semi nude men being considered as “dirty and vulgar”.
I tried my best to stand my ground and give the girls the eye candy that they deserve but even though the event was based entirely on my concept, I was told by the organisers that in their venue they called all the shots and so the butler ended up looking mediocre in a rather unsexy pair of baggy boxer pants.
This is not the first time I encountered this double standard – two years back a big distributor cut my male bisexual scene that they considered “dirty”. This very scene won this year “best bi scene” at the feminist porn award at Toronto. And many women including me really enjoy watching men make out – just like most straight guys enjoy girl-girl action.
The other day I met a TV producer in Cologne and told him about the growing trend in Germany of young women editing alternative erotic magazines featuring nude men. The ‘Jungsheft’ is an art-core publication from Cologne and has become a cult publication cult all over Germany. It is edited by two women and features photographs of ordinary nude men, some with erections. The comment of the male TV producer says it all. Without batting an eyelid he said: “It is obvious that this magazine is read mainly by gay men”. I was speechless.
I can’t believe that this prejudice still prevails. Let me spell it out loud and clear: women are voyeurs too. And straight or bisexual women enjoy looking at nude hunky men as much as men have been enjoying seeing topless girls in their daily paper for decades now.
What does it take until female fantasies and desires will be taking seriously? How much longer until an erotic photo of a well toned guy is just seen as that – a photo of an attractive man to be enjoyed by whoever- rather than being labelled “gay”?
Sometimes I feel we still have a very long way to go…
I did not enjoy visiting this year’s Venus adult trade show in Berlin. It felt like being catapulted through a time warp into the 80′s with its outdated representation of women and sexuality. Even on the trade and press day the halls were filled with middle-aged men, equipped with telescopic cameras and plastic steps in order to get a better look or shot of the women that happened to be stripping on various stages. Whereas Erotica at London promotes a more sophisticated style of eroticism with headliners like Dita van Teese attracting a 60% female crowd, the Venus in Berlin still displays Pamela Anderson clones that masturbate in the shows pretty much nonstop whilst looking increasingly fed up. None of this is shocking or new – just hopelessly outdated and boring. I was wondering – why is there not a greater variety of women performing on stage, where is the guy candy and why is there not an area somewhere aimed at women? This year they had for the first time a ‘fetish zone’ and a small ‘gay area’ but there was nowhere for the female (trade) visitors and press to meet, network, shop and be entertained. When I bumped into the female sex shop owners, toy designers or journalists, we all agreed to meet at a networking event outside of the Venus. Somewhere where we could breathe and just be rather than having to be bombarded with siliconed clone bodies and the entourage of the flash light popping press pack that always follows.
In this context I felt uneasy with the idea that I could do an autograph session at one of the event lounges. But I thought its worthwhile to give it a shot to help putting female porn directors firmly on the map – even within a mainstream, male-oriented event. But my idealistic spirit was quickly dampened: At the venue I was to do a signing, there were sex shows on nonstop in front of a packed room and my presence was not promoted in any shape or form. I was neither announced on the Venus website not on the venue’s daily time sheet – so I wondered how people are going to find me or even know that I was there. What I would have loved is if there had been a women’s lounge – one area where the erotic entrepreneurs could have met to network and interested women from the public could have met us to exchange ideas. An area with male staff, a complimentary glass of bubbly and a chocolate fountain. An area that was not tucked away at the back somewhere but that was clearly visible and promoted very well. An island for women who are revolutionising the sex industry. One day we will be able to mix and mingle with the mainstream male adult industry but for now an island amongst the sea of male oriented mainstream sex products would be progress.
I ended up standing next to plastic bar table with a little spotlight on me in a room full of men that had come to see women masturbate. When I was eventually announced by the compere, he came out with the unforgettable and highly symbolic phrase: “We have got a young woman here today. Her name is Petra Joy. And how could it be any other way – she is a porn performer and you can get her autograph here”. My mouth just dropped. The crowds of men turned around to look at me. They had no clue who I was or what I stood for and I really did not want to give autographs to them because they thought I was an up-and-coming porn star.
What shocked me most of this announcement was the arrogant and patronising way in which the bloke made it clear that even in the 21st Century most men firmly believe that there is only one role for women in the adult industry – in front of the camera as performers. With one sentence all the woman that work their asses off as dildo designers, sex shop owners, magazine editors, photographers and filmmakers were made invisible. As if I and we simply did not and will never exist.
To these representatives of an ancient adult industry, female erotic entrepreneurs are not just a new and emerging face of an increasingly erotic culture, but a weird phenomenon not to be talent seriously. These patriarchs of porn, hinder the industry to develop, grow and embrace female talent that dares to do anything else but fuck on film.
The remark was also an insult for the porn stars that currently are or will be in the future active behind the cameras writing scripts or directing. It’s all about possibilities and choices. If the possibilities are not offered there are no choices for women. And maybe this is the reason why it has taken so long for women to emerge and make their mark on the industry with their vision of erotica and sex. It is not by chance but through necessity that these women are independent entrepreneurs who put their money where their mouth is. Within the Jurassic sex empires that still reduce women to their bodies alone, there is no room for freethinking female spirits.