One of the highlights of Erotika Cologne was for me bumping into so many talented women who work independently in the erotic industry. I met Anja from Self Delve who has been designing her own “Garden of Eden” range of dildoes for just over a year now. Her cucumbers, carrots and bananas are made from a choice of hard or soft silicon and they change color during use – due to body heat. The green bananas turn ripe and ready yellow after they have done their job of pleasuring. This quirky idea made me laugh, and laughter and fun are such key elements in a happy and liberated sex life that I have no doubt that her fruits of garden Eden will become a huge success. I also met for the first time the wicked women behind “Mail & Female” from Amsterdam – one of the first sex shops ever to sell sex toys and porn for women in Europe. They have now designed and created their own range of fantastic lingery “Love from Holland”. All the beautiful items are made from the softest and most comfortable material so that they can be worn all day long and not just for special moments. I am chuffed that I was given as a gift my two favorite items: an open-cup bra with matching peek-a-boo knickers which will be tried out and tested very soon.
It is always a pleasure to see Laura Meritt again, who also came to Cologne from Berlin for a fleeting visit to appear with me in a German TV special on porn for women that was shot during Erotika for “Frau TV” (WDR). I feel that our female network is a form of support that money could never buy. It lifts me up and carries me through when I need it most and makes me glow with happiness in the strong believe that we are at the heart of a revolution in the adult industry right now. It is done by women and for women and we are getting more and more that do our best in creating photos and films, toys and lingerie based on our intuitive knowledge of what women really want. Working independently, we may seem small and to the industry giants – even insignificant – but together we are strong and we make a change that can be seen and felt at trade events, in the media and your local sex shop. And if your local sex shop or online retailer doesn’t stock female-made films, toys and lingery and you would like to buy them, ask why they don’t sell what you want, so we can grow from strength to strength…
I am sitting on the plane right now, high above the Rhine and a beautiful sunset over Cologne. I am tired but happy. I even do not mind that I just had to pay easyjet £25 for excess luggage because my suitcase is so jam packed with press releases, lube samples and the latest vibrators from the trade show “Erotika 2008″. I have had the most amazing time. I went to Cologne feeling wobbly because in my gut I thought maybe this is my last adult trade show and maybe I will never create another erotic film. Not because I want to move on doing other things but because of economic necessity. For over four months I have been trying to find a distributor, I have written endless emails and done too many calls to even count – most of which were never returned. With only 800 copies of “Feeling it!” sold so far, my financial situation looked grim. Feeling the pressure of having to sell 10,000 copies just to break even and more if I would like to make a profit and invest into another film, I was at breaking point.
The night before the trade show I did not sleep. And then one meeting made me cry with joy and gave me back my wings. As it turned out, I am still owed money from a previous distributor for DVDs that were sold over the last two years during which I hadn’t been informed that reprints were made. So this unexpected income comes as a life-saver in difficult times. I have also secured distribution, although at smaller initial quantities than I hoped for. But it is a start rather than the end and that fills me with joy. I am so glad to be finally sharing some good news with you and to be able to promise that I will create another art-core film – my fourth – some time in the future.
It was also a lucky coincidence that the woman’s film festival was on in Cologne during my stay and I spent the evening and late, late nights glued to my seat in cinemas soaking up stunning and creative visuals from all over the worlds. I love to be inspired in this way, it is a real pleasure to see what other filmmakers come up with. So I am traveling home with a contract in my pocket, many ideas in my head and some lovely toys from sin five that I can not wait to test drive. Their designs are stunning and the vibrators are strong, silent and effective – what more can a girl ask for?!
Yesterday I did a photo shoot with Mistress Valkyrie who has become a dear friend! She wanted some “dark and feminine” pictures – its her passion and my speciality. So the shoot was a pleasure. I love doing shoots with no tight deadlines and tight outline of what shots are needed. This way its really playful, creative and liberating. We did over 600 shots and were lucky enough to do some in the garden as the spring sun came out. Valkyrie was in her riding outfit and later in a red leather dress, stepping out of a red mesh cocoon. Absolutely gorgeous. I don’t do enough photo shoots these days as most of my time is taken up with distribution of my films, research and PR work. So it is wonderful to do a shoot and take time in bringing out the many different faces of a beautiful woman and stern mistress.
I just got back to Berlin and am a little low – I miss the creative buzz of this wonderful city and the community of (erotic) artists that welcomed me. I wish I could have stayed or wish even more that I could go back soon to shoot my fourth film. I found the locations and performers – now it comes down to money. And the big distribution deal that I prayed for has not taken off. It is absurd – I have tons of positive publicity which generates the demand from customers but at the moment “Feeling it!” is only in a handful of shops. I need to sell around 10,000 copies to break even and currently I am nowhere near this target. The sales figures are still very low at the moment, so there is no capital available to invest into the new film. The options I have is to find and investor or some sponsorship. I will not go back to my bank for a third credit again. There is no limit to my creative energy but I have to start watching how much money I borrow no matter how much I want to do the new film. I will have to be patient and wait for the big deal, an investor, sponsorship or all three of them… Its hard to keep on believing and working on a project without any finance in place. But I will not give up. If you know of anyone who would like to invest into my fourth film or a toy, lube or condom company who would possibly like sponsor me – let me know…
What a wonderful day it has been. And tomorrow I am going back to the UK and somehow I don’t want to. Wandered around in the morning and found by chance this fantastic cutting edge art installation. A huge slap of ice onto which the video image of a shivering naked man was projected. The ice melts slowly and the water is gathered into a tiny black lined pond onto which the image of a man floating in water is projected. The artist, Raphael DiLuzio (www.raphaeldiluzio.com) was there and he was so refreshingly unpretentious that he was surprised that I wanted him to sign a poster of the show. Then I went to check out the aqua Dom the biggest aquarium in the world into which one is transported inside a Plexiglas elevator. The aqua Dom is cool but somehow all the windows and doors of the hotel that are visible behind the aquarium ruin the illusion. My favourite item of the aquarium was the small display of jellyfish – they look like frozen in a timeless bubble.
I followed the venture into the underwater realms with the (in Germany) obligatory coffee and cake. Apple cake with marzipan and whipped cream – I could get used to this!!! Over coffee and cake I enjoy a peak at a photo book on pussies that Silke Maschinger who runs the erotic salon – a live talk show in Berlin – recommended. The book is called “Das Tor ins Leben” which means “the gate to life” and features stunning close up photos of pussies and forms in nature that are reminiscent of a vagina. The author and photographer Grit Scholz published the book herself to make sure it gets out there and maintain artistic freedom: www.lebensgut-verlag.de
The café where I look at pussies and eat cake is located in a Hinterhof – a giant square back yard which is a typical feature in Berlin. These huge backyards have become meeting points and lots of small independent businesses are blossoming here. I found a shop that sells only vintage dresses from the 40′s to the 80′s from America. It is called “Sterling Gold” and feels like a time wrap back of the fifties with its wonderful elegant outfits and excellent customer service: www.sterlinggold.de. I got myself this amazing short black number. I love one-offs. Its special. I often feel in England that most of the culture has been franchised whereas in Berlin each café, gallery and shop is unique usually staffed by the independent owners. This creates an eclectic mix of possibilities and I love choice because it is freedom.
In another backyard I found beneath a glass cube a fantastic hairdresser. The glass cube was surrounded by a minimalist garden. The blossoms that had just been drenched in a spring shower were so beautiful that I spent half an hour photographing them. I ended up getting an appointment at the hairdresser for 9 in the evening. When I got there the indie florist was arranging the most amazing flower instalment and a pastry chef who was having his hair straightened brought a raspberry chocolate cake for everyone to share. I had brought a bottle of wine that we all shared. When my appointment was finally over at midnight, a couple of people turned up with a bottle of vodka and we sat there and chatted for hours about sex, relationships, clubs, locations, porn and hot gay guys for my film. We sat chatted, drank vodka at a hairdresser at 1am – only in Berlin. I have completely and utterly fallen in love with this city and want to live here one day!
Yesterday was an exciting day. I got to see a really cool location – a 100 year old club with working table telephones. How wonderful, I would really like to shoot here, now it is just a matter of how much the location will cost per day. I will get on the case.
After the viewing I went shopping for food and champagne as in the evening I was holding my first Berlin casting party. I love these informal get togethers where the performers can get to know me and each other and I get an idea of what makes them tick. The wonderful belle who is on the cover of “Feeling it” helped me to create little delicacies such as asparagus wrapped in ham – all done by hand to feed the eye as well as the stomach and also make this a special event. We spent hours creating a mini buffet and then just before everyone got there, interviewing each other. I have started to create a sort of video diary to capture more of the key behind the scene moments such as the castings, trade shows etc. to give a more accurate reflection of what my work is about and all the many different aspects that eventually lead to a shoot. I want to thank Belle here for her continuing support and for shooting some really good footage having been thrown in at the deep end. I simply can’t film myself and can not afford to pay a camera person to follow me on all the different trios and ventures, so we need to improvise.
Gisele came to get to know the other women. Firelilly came too – she is a Berlin based performer who loves to play with fetish and fire – literally and she will be a real asset for the team ! and then there was Clare – a queer porn film maker who has created a short film about her and her lover. A round of talented and interesting women but – sadly no men. This is an ongoing theme in my productions… there are always plenty of fantastic women and we have a real shortage of hot, liberated men who are good lovers and enjoy treating women how they deserve it – as queens. My only explanation for this is that the average guy who wants to be in a porn films has fantasies about coming all over a woman’s face which will not happen in my films. And the good looking, sexy nice guys would love to come and play but are too shy to be filmed… It’s difficult as I do not want to recruit full time porn performers as I think they will probably have been trained to fake it and not feel it and will not enjoy one of my less structured and more improvised shoots where the sex is about pleasure and not performance.
In the hope that the men will come too, we shared our ideas and fantasies. I shared my new scrapbook with the girls and we brainstormed ideas for characters, outfits and scenes – some of them scorching hot and scandalous. I cant wait to start shooting and I hope that some time this year it will happen.
I am in wonderful Berlin, Berlin to find locations, performers and general inspiration for my next film – a burlesque erotic adventure… Yesterday I met Gisele for the first time – a wonderful young woman with esprit. She is French Canadian and has just moved to Berlin. Gisele picked up my casting flyer weeks back in Brighton and now we finally met in Berlin. She loves expressing herself through dance which is one of the reasons that makes her an ideal player for the new film. I love the fact that she is so beautiful, fresh faced but also open to naughty adventures and experimentation. We got on like a house on fire. Unfortunately her boyfriend will not be able to join the new film cast as he has a teaching position and obviously can not risk losing his job in exchange for an erotic adventure.
It is so inspiring to meet like minded people and get out of the UK and away from my computer for some real encounters. This is how I work best in dialogue, creating a mutually inspirational and supportive creative family. This family always changes from project to project. This is why it is hard work and takes many months to find the cast for my films. But this is also what keeps my work exciting and the films unique and refreshing. Every film is different and I want to keep it this way.
Last night I went to see “Ambrosia” (Nectar of the gods) – a new erotic dance show created by two guys who used to work with cirque de soleil. The show was wonderful – creating subtle erotic scenarios with the use of exciting props and a variety of dance styles. There were men in heels (oooohhhh yeah), a contortionist, whips, bondage, white wax on a black chest and a lot of extremely skilled dancing ! The highlight was two gorgeous guys (one black, one white) dancing the tango together and ending it in a passionate kiss… I think I will never tire to watch two guys play together. I went backstage after the show to chat to Patrick and Johan King – the choreographers, main dancers and directors of this brand-new dance troupe. These guys have been working on this show for eight months and invested all their savings into the show with the aim to make erotic dance art accessible to a wide range of people who might never ever in their lives venture into a fetish or swinger club. I am a firm believer in networking, sharing skills and inspiring each other. It is fantastic to meet other people who follow their dreams and put their money where their mouth is so groundbreaking ideas can be out there rather than stay forever locked up on somebody’s brain. I hope to work with Brian and Johann – I will shoot their show for them and they will help me with their choreography and possibly dance for me as well. More info: www.ambrosiaberlin.com
I was not even sure if I was going to go to the screening of two of my short films at the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at the BFI in London but I am so glad that I did. During the last few weeks life has been tough due to a relationship crisis and distribution problems of my latest film. I found it hard to motivate myself to go out to network and party, be strong and be positive.
But I did it and had one of the best nights of my life. Violetta had a bad cold but decided to come anyway to see herself on the big screen in the UK for the first time and no doubt meet other sexy women. We met at Victoria train station in the Ladies’ loos where we got changed. We started to feel the buzz as the taxi took us past Big Ben and the London Eye to the BFI. It’s London, a film festival and we are here!!! All the shows of the first evening of the festival, including the slot “female fantasies” that showed among others our short films “Sailor’s Bride” and “Cruising” were sold out. The foyer was buzzing with people and there was excitement in the air. We met up with the wonderful Emilia Ren (who has been in two of my films) who we see far too little of. The mum of one little boy (to be one year soon) is busy studying for her exam to become a fully qualified herbalist. But tonight none of this mattered. Violetta’s cold, my money worries, Emilia’s exam stress all faded into the background as we were lead to our table where the BFI laid on a posh dinner for us. The programmer of the event Kyle Stepahn and Dominic Buchanan treated Violetta, Emilia and I like queens. Needless to say we lapped it up like cats would cream.
We were treated to a few bottles of champagne and felt Very Important People indeed. What a thrill to be wined and dined and have been chosen to exhibit our films at such a prestigious event. We all could not stop smiling and lets be honest knocking back the champagne. I don’t drink much but was really nervous and the champagne helped to settle my nerves.
After dinner we met up with another sister of our erotic film family – Valkyrie who stars in “Feeling it!”, she joined us as we were taken to the green room (it was NOT green but mirrored all around which would be fabulous to shoot in I could not help but notice) but there was not much time to enjoy more drinks as we were ushered into the sold out cinema and introduced to the audience.
We talked about our philosophy, hopes and dreams on stage and were joined by Florence Fradelizi and her lover Catherine Corringer who both make hot Lesbian films together.
The whole slot of “Female Fantasies” was an exciting selection of shorts featuring completely different female desires and dreams: The “girls who like porn workshop” from Barcelona showed a scene between two women shot in an almost empty room under bright lights. There was no atmospheric lighting and no set as such – just a small stage on which the girls who were totally into each other tore each others clothes off. They were definitely feeling and not faking it and because no styling had gone into the set, it really came across that the chemistry between the performers is the most important factor in making exciting porn. I was also impressed by Florence Fradelizis short film. Florence shows her fucking her girlfriend with a strap on in a toilet – so it is not just me who has fantasies about cruising in public places ,). My short film “Cruising” (excerpt from “Female Fantasies”) that was shown features also a woman with a strap-on in a public male toilet but she has three guys at her whim rather than a girl or few. The lesbians in the audience were shuffling in their seats as it took a while until my main female performer enters the scene and of course they did not get turned on by watching three gay men make out. Hats off to Kyle Stephan who selected my film to be shown as it is not “lesbian” but very queer indeed. It is great that it is shown to offer the audience a choice of gender fluid erotica.
From an artistic point of view I also liked Catherine Corringers “This is the girl” – a scene that involves boxing gloves, a head dildo and female ejaculation . It is beautifully shot, intimate and intense. I can’t help to think what a great DVD the short selection would make to represent a huge variety of female sexual desires and techniques. I wish I had distribution power and publish such a joint effort DVD – it would be truly unique and an eye opener to so many people.
When “Sailor’s Bride” (excerpt from “Feeling it!”) was shown it was particularly exciting for Emilia as she had never ever seen the rushes or edited version of this film because she wanted to save the moment for the big screen. She loved it and the audience loved it too even though compared to what else was on show my “Sailor’s Bride” is very “femme and vanilla”.
After the screening Valkyrie’s friend whisked us away in his black Porsche to Valkyrie’s gorgeous flat where we drank champagne and talked until 4 in the morning about porn, female desires and relationships.
It was a great night that I will always remember. I want to take this opportunity to thank the LGFF for having us, and my girls for coming along to this much longed-for celebration of our hard work. Here’s to many more nights like this to come in the future…
There are lots of more exciting screenings and events happening at the BFI. They will also show one of my porn parodies “Girls and Vegetables” on the 2nd of April at 23.00 in cinema number two, after “In search of the wild kingdom”… check out the whole programme: www.bfi.org.uk