It has been an amazing year for women’s porn. I am happy I could contribute in various ways to what feels like the breakthrough of the genre in Europe. I am particularly proud of publishing the first ever feminist porn compilation “Her Porn, volume 1” which has been a huge success. Throughout curating this exciting compilation many fantastic friendships with fellow filmmakers were born.
I am grateful to count the accomplished queen of women’s porn Candida Royalle, the creative grand mistress of “porn noir” Maria Beatty and the inspiring Marianna Beck as my friends.
A personal milestone has been to work my way through 150 hours of behind the scenes footage shot during the last three years, to create my very personal documentary “The Joy of Porn” which premiered at the pornfilmfest in Berlin. It felt good to look back and realise how far you can go when you believe in your dreams and do everything you can to make them come true. But this is not just about me, my friends and performers in my films and our dreams and fantasies as 2009 was the year I started to actively mentor new female filmmakers with the “Petra Joy Award”. I would like to thank all the amazing women that did submit their erotic films to my first ever award for new filmmakers and congratulate the talented winners! It has been a pleasure getting to know you and with the support of my sponsor pjur encourage you to make more erotica from a female perspective.
It also feels good to become more actively involved in the distribution of alternative porn and help fellow female filmmakers to get their films sold and seen in Europe. I am distributing Marianna Becks’ film “Free Love” (U.S. Title was “Urban Friction) about the adventure to enjoy an open relationship. As of now “Dirty Diaries”, a feminist porn compilation from Sweden is also distributed by me in all German speaking countries and I feel honoured that the producers trust me with getting this exciting project out there.
The sisterhood is getting bigger and stronger – we are a force to be reckoned with. Not only do we inspire and support each other as filmmakers but are using our contacts as business women to actually build up an alternative distribution network that spans the world. Rather than letting men in suits decide if our films make it to the shops we sell them to the shops ourselves. I would like to use this opportunity to thank Candida Royalle for distributing my film “Feeling it!” for me in America.
Not only do women network and distribute each other’s work, we also started to celebrate our creative achievements. This year the first feminist porn award of Europe, PORYES happened in Europe and it was a special event for me as I was honoured alongside other filmmakers that I count to be my friends: Candida Royalle, Maria Beatty, Annie Sprinkle and Shine Louise Houston.
On a personal note, my dwarf rabbits had really cute and fluffy babies this year, so it was an all round fertile year!
I look forward with joy and excitement to 2010: With the input of more up- and coming female erotic filmmakers, I will publish “Her Porn, volume2”. I look forward to my presentations and workshops that I will give in Valencia and Vienna (so far). With the help of a sponsor I hope to run another erotic short film competition and award more talented first time female filmmakers. The topic and prizes should be announced soon – keep an eye on: www.joyawards.com
If all goes well I will also shoot at least one new film – finances permitting. What it is about is a surprise. After having been featured on three prime time TV programmes in Germany, many women and men applied to star in my films – so it will be exciting to cast some new faces for a film. I am buzzing with ideas.
I also hope to have a two week holiday for the first time in three years some time in 2010. And as I now have a personal assistant, the lovely Saskia I hope this will happen. It is lovely to see the team grow and work with people who share my vision. I would like to say thank you to my fab graphic designer Ray, my editor Paul and my webmaster Tony. Well done, guys – we like men that support female sexual liberation and porn by and for women!
Thank you all for supporting me by reading my blog, writing to me, buying my films or co-operating with me creatively! It is for you that I do what I do and it makes it all worthwhile to feel appreciated.
I hope the peaceful Christmas magic will reach you very soon and wish you an exciting and erotic, happy and healthy and successful 2010. Enjoy!
Since Berlin, I’ve been flooded with press inquiries and have been running through the footage I shot there, including the Petra Joy Awards. I have been viewing and editing non-stop. So I have had no time to share my adventures in this blog until now but you can now view videos of my time in Berlin. The videos will take you behind the scenes and show you the wild and wonderful journey that took place that week. The videos are available on my YouTube channel right now.
Following the success of Her Porn Volume 1, I’m busy curating the second volume. Seeking out fellow feminist porn filmmakers is always a treat, and this installment promises to deliver another set of dynamic videos and amazing directors. Some of the filmmakers include Anna Brownfield from Australia with her fab indie film “The Band”, all of the winners of the Petra Joy Awards, Samantha Linton from Canada with “Man Of My Dreams” and many, many more. Most of the featured filmmakers are previously unpublished in Europe. The target release date is March 2010. If you haven’t seen Her Porn Volume 1, you can find it here.
I’m proud to announce that the Swedes are coming! I’m branching further out into distribution with “Dirty Diaries” (2009), a new Swedish feminist porn compilation made by women for women. I think Dirty Diaries will be a porno classic. Of course, it’s exciting to become a representative for other female directors. Distribution is a key issue – without it you can’t sell your films, make production costs back and finance more films. It took me almost two years until my first film “Sexual Sushi” got into the shops. Five years down the line I now have good contacts to buyers especially in the German-speaking countries. I am proud to be able to provide a service to up-and-coming female filmmakers that I wish were available to me when I was starting out. Like I trust Candida Royalle with the distribution of my film “Feeling it” in the States, Mia Engberg and the Swedish Film Institute are trusting me to exclusively distribute this work in German-speaking countries.
Mia found 12 female filmmakers to shoot what they felt was a feminist porno on their mobile phone cameras, and the result is exciting and inspirational. For couples and women, this is a treasure chest of erotic creativity, individuality, and variety. This release is a great way to get to know fresh, talented females who are sharing their erotic fantasies – without shame. The film will be available soon from my online shop. If you are interested in further information or placing an order, don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. Find out more about the “Dirty Diaries” at www.dirtydiaries.se.
I know it’s not yet December, but today I’ve taken the time to put my Christmas decorations up. As I have been flat out the last few months working 12 hour days and most Saturdays, I needed something to remind me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have only had 2 weeks of holidays in the last 24 months. The Christmas tree is my daily reminder that I just have to push through another few weeks before I can take a breathe and enjoy the holiday: a girls’ night-in with champagne in front of the open fireplace and a candle-lit hot tub session with my boyfriend – I long for all of that and more.
The mad rush towards Christmas is on. I hope you, like me, have a special reminder that there’s a holiday filled with warmth, love and joy just a few weeks away.
After 4 months of trials and tribulations surrounding the Petra Joy Award (I will not bore you with the details with the many of what went wrong), the four winners have been awarded and celebrated in Berlin in the sold-out Movimento cinema. We had many amazing submissions from all over the world and the jury discussed long and hard about whom should win the prizes because all films were special in their own way.
The winners are Louise Lush (First Prize), Lola Clavo (Second Prize), Linsey Satterthwaite (Third Prize) and Cora Emens (Special Jury Award).
Even though the creative style of the films varied there were some similarities in the films: One prevailing element of many films was the expression of what women want in bed: The first and third prize (“That’s what I like” and “I like it when”) both expressed visually and verbally what turns some women on. The common message is: the shame is over – women can now talk freely in public about what they desire sexually by making a film about female sexual pleasure. Some of the filmmakers such as Linsey Satterthwaite and Cora Emens decided not just to direct but also star in their films – an experience that both women perceived as extremely empowering.
The winner of the second prize, Lola Clavo portrayed sex and love as a power struggle in her experimental film “La Lucha” – with subtly blurred images and an impressive sound-scape.
The special jury award went to “Cora’s memoir – the rose” for the fearless and fun depiction of a very personal erotic memory of the film’s director who also starred in her movie. In an ageist society the film shows that a pleasurable and joyful sex life for women does exist for women who are aged 50 plus.
Before we set off to the cinema for the screening of the films and the award ceremony, I threw a mini party for all the winners and their partners and the girls had their make-up done by a pro. I like the icing on the cake and the cherry on top, so I decided last minute that I would hire a stretch limo for the girls as a surprise and take them around Berlin and to the cinema in style.
It was such an amazing feeling when we got into the limo to drink champagne and toast each other – a spirit of sisterhood and women getting together to celebrate their sexuality and sharing their vision with the world rather than hiding away. I hope that for the winners as well as me this will be a night to remember.
It was a fantastic buzz when we arrived at the cinema there was so many people and so much press everywhere – but it stressed me a bit that there were so many cameras. This was a very personal event for me and I wanted the people who bought tickets and the filmmakers themselves to enjoy it in a relaxed manner…I did not know who most of the cameras belonged to and was worried that people will perceive the event as a media circus when it was meant as a revolutionary grass roots event celebrating and supporting new female talent. It was bad enough that due to a legal battle with a German magazine that had copyrighted the term “Joy” I had to rename my award into the “Petra Joy Award” which drew more attention to me than I am comfortable with. I did this competition so that the focus is on new emerging talent. It is about the joy of giving , passing something on to other women rather than just publishing my very own vision over and over again.
To me this evening was the highlight of my ‘career’ as an erotic filmmaker. Five years ago I set out to make my first film with a bunch of friends and one camera in my bedroom – a few award-winning films, one book, film compilation, documentary and many workshops later I am finally able to pass the batton on to the next generation of female erotic filmmakers. I am really proud that I was able to inspire these women and hope to be a catalyst for many more films that are being made. It is a great feeling that the genre ‘porn for women’ will continue to exist in Europe – even if I never did never shoot another film. We have done it – women are finding their visual language and expressing all their different fantasies on film. I am so glad I made my dreams come true and hope many women will do the same. Walt Disney used to say: “If you can dream it, you can do it!”; I say: “If you can dream it, you can shoot it!”.
All winning films will be published on my forthcoming compilation “Her Porn, volume2”. Out in Spring 2010. You can read more about the winners and their films, as well as viewing clips of the winners, at www.joyawards.com
PS: After I said at the event that I now want to focus on another matter close to me heart: the environment, rather than just and exclusively on ‘porn for women’, the rumour mill went into overdrive that this was my good-bye and I will never ever shoot another erotic film. This is not true. I would love to shoot another erotic film and hope to be able to finance it. But there are so many other talented women creating porn for women right now that it is OK for me to diversify which missions I use my talents for!
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank all submitting filmmakers, my sponsor pjur and the pornfilmfest Berlin for being our host.
I am happy that more and more amazing films are arriving that show fresh new insights as to what women find erotic . I am glad that I am able to inspire women to express themselves. It is a huge step for women not just to say: “Yes, I am watching porn!” but to go one step further and to actually make their own film, share it with the public and talk about it.
But it has not all been sweet scented roses – my short film competition seems to have stepped on some sensitive toes. One company threatened to sue me for the use of the name “Joy Awards” and as I do not have the financial means to battle this out in court, I had to rename the “Joy Award” to the “Petra Joy Award”. I am not too happy about this as I do not want this to be all about me, Petra Joy but about the JOY of female self expression. But after the initial bill of my solicitor cost me a small fortune, I had to count my losses and move on – even though my solicitor assured me that I could win this case if I was prepared to invest considerably more money and time. One month from the event I was not prepared to do anything that could endanger the event. So the “Petra Joy Award” it is.
More problems came from an unexpected quarter:
I was criticised by some women who are actually fighting for the same causes as I do for timing my event badly and stealing the publicity from their event. I was shocked by that accusation especially as I had suggested to the very same women to join forces and create a shared event. My offer was rejected. I think, the more the merrier: The more of us say and do things, the more likely it is that we will be heard and seen. The more likely it is that people understand we are not a one-off phenomenon but we are here to stay. Women want porn from a female perspective and this desire is here to stay.
Sometimes it can be frustrating when I feel attacked from various sides and I wonder why I do what I do – a non profit making event to mentor new female filmmakers. But then I get an email like this and it makes it all worthwhile. Sarah who just finished a film (her first ever) for the competition wrote to me:
“Whatever the outcome of this effort I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it! Having only been filmed for the first time in June of this year it was all a little daunting but I do like a challenge! We have over an hour of out-takes and had to do it all over two sessions. I had no idea of the work that goes into these things and also exactly how un-glamorous it can be…and we are just amateurs! Should the opportunity ever arise, I would love to come and see how a professional production is created!”
I cannot wait to view all the films and award the winners with their trophies and of course the cash prizes sponsored by pjur. The best film will also be seen on “Her Porn, volume two” and short clips will be available on the website: www.joyawards.com
It has been a while since I have been on here sharing my experiences. I was just so busy I could just not think even think straight. Since I was mentioned in the German ‘Marie Claire’ the media interest has been incredible. And many days were spent consulting TV producers and giving print interviews… But I had a mini-break last weekend staying at a holistic spa and now I am back – ready to share some thoughts with you.
After 4 months of work my documentary, “The Joy Of Porn” is finally ready. I managed to condense 150 hours of footage shot during the last three years into one hour of my personal journey as a feminist pornographer.
It was a strange experience to edit a film about me, my allies and my mission. Normally I am strictly behind the camera and that goes for my work in television as much as for my work as an erotic filmmaker. But somehow I felt that this story of female empowerment and friendships that have managed to change the adult industry and public perception of porn is worth telling.
Most of the footage is fly-on-the-wall filmed by my partner and friends – whoever had two free hands was handed the camera to shoot what was happening and on some adventures Violetta (who is starring in my films) and I filmed each other as we could not afford yet to have someone travel with us for the purpose of filming.
But this way we got very intimate footage that a TV crew could have not achieved in the same way.
On Thursday evening I will throw a party for all the lovely people that have worked with me over the years. It is the fifth birthday of “Strawberry Seductress” my production company and we will celebrate with champagne, canapés and the private preview of “The Joy Of Porn”.
I am incredibly nervous about this – much more so than if I had shot another erotic film as this film is very personal and so close to my heart.
But it will be a pleasure to get everyone together for a big bash as it’s been a while since we all partied together. The official world premiere will be on the 14.10.2009 at the Berlin Pornfilmfest at 23:00 at the Movimento Cinema in Berlin. More info here: www.pornfilmfestivalberlin.de
I am not yet sure where this film will be available but there will be a trailer up on the news page shortly.
The deadline of my erotic short film competition for women is still 6 weeks away but I am eagerly awaiting submissions. I can’t wait to see as many different female visions of erotica on film as possible.
I understand that for many women this is a big step – it is one thing to watch erotic films and another to direct your own. Candida Royalle once told me : “For women to get behind the camera and take control of the reins of productions is a huge step. It is bold and courageous. It says to the world – we like sex, in fact we like it so much that we chose to make a film about it…” and she is right. Directing your own erotic film puts you and your erotic pleasures first and it is gutsy to share this with the world. But I do truly believe that the time has come for women to do just that – without shame or fear expressing ourselves as men have done for decades.
So come on, sisters what are you waiting for?
Submission Deadline is 30th September 2009. I can’t wait to see your films, no matter if they were shot on your mobile phone or a bells and whistles camera – it is not technical perfection we are after but a creative expression of female desires.
More info on the competition rules and a submission form is available here: http://www.joyawards.com
I spent the first part of this year creating my compilation “Her Porn” which is a celebration of the female pioneers of porn from a female perspective. To look back and take stock also made me look ahead and think about the future of this genre and new generations of female erotic filmmakers. I truly believe that we will become more and more. This is not a flimsy fashion that will soon subside.
If more women get the chance to portray female sexuality in their own, unique way, and their work will be seen and heard, then we will be unstoppable. And maybe one day, 50% of erotic films (or even more) will be made by women, allowing us to get a balanced perspective on female and male sexuality and desire.
I believe in creativity and innovation. I have always wondered why the adult industry has until now never run a competition for new directing talent as any industry, especially a creative one, will benefit from fresh talent who dares to break the mould. Change is growth.
Sometimes you have to stop wondering and waiting for a change and just do it yourself. I am therefore proud to announce that with the support of my sponsor pjur (www.pjur.com) and with the hospitality of the pornfilmfest (www.pornfilmfest.de) in Berlin I am now running an international short film competition for first-time female erotic filmmakers. The topic is “What is erotic to you?” and I think that the more women share their insights with us, the better… We pretty much know what turns most guys on but what women find erotic is still mostly ‘terra incognita’ to us.
I am hoping for many exciting submissions in any genre or style – the more creative colours of the rainbow the more sensual flavours, the better.
The best three films will be shown in a cinema in Berlin during the pornfilmfest in October. This also where the winners will receive their trophy, the brand-spanking new Joy Award and prizes. All three winners get cash prizes plus a goodie bag from pjur. The best ten films will also receive a signed copy of “Make your own adult video” and a copy of my DVD compilation “Her Porn” and the chance to be published in my upcoming compilation “Her Porn”, volume two.
From years of battling the odds, I understand how hard it is to raise finance for a film and get your first work published and distributed, especially if your film questions clichés and breaks the mould, so I really hope that through my mentoring and the sponsorship from pjur we will discover some new female talent and make more female fantasies seen and heard.
I am honoured that I will be supported in the jury by two extraordinary, talented and pioneering women: Maria Beatty, the award-winning fetish filmmaker and creator of the genre “porn noir” (www.bleuproductions.com) and Nicole Ruediger, one of the founders, editors and publishers of the “Jungsheft” (www.jungsheft.de) – a cult magazine featuring nude and masturbating guy candy for their female readers in Germany.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the award’s sponsor pjur who have already supported me in the past by donating samples of their fab “pjur woman” lube for “Her Porn”. I also want to thank Juergen Bruening and the team of the pornfilmfest for letting us host the awards ceremony in Berlin during this exciting film festival which manages every year to bring erotic and porn onto the big screen in cold out cinemas.
Walt Disney used to say “If you can dream it, you can do it!” – my slightly adapted version is “If you can dream it, you can shoot it!”. I really hope you will make your dreams come true and express yourself in your very own erotic film – I am so glad I did shoot and publish my erotic films – it has been a really empowering experience. And I hope it will be the same for you. See you in Berlin!
More information on the award is available here: www.joyawards.co.uk
Turns out things aren’t as bad as I thought. I heard back from my solicitor and he advised me that titles are indeed copyrighted – even if they were not registered.
Phew, what a relief!!! He will now act on my behalf and make sure that that porn film will not be distributed (at least in Germany) under my title.
Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed from the “big” industry, kind of like a little David and they are the Goliath. This scenario might be true often enough, but not always; there is such thing as justice and I am so glad that in some ways the law protects creative people from being ripped off.
So it’s all good today. The sun is shining in my garden, my bunnies are frisky and I’m smiling again.
Enjoy these daffodil-days and the spring magic!
Did you know that only 6% if Hollywood directors are female and no female director has ever won an Oscar? This percentage falls even more when it comes to erotic films and awards – women directing sex films and wining adult industry awards for them are still a tiny, creative minority.
All our life we are being told that “women are just not visual”. It is one of the most annoying prejudices I have ever heard. As a photographer and filmmaker I am highly visual and always have been. I got my first camera on my 6th birthday and spent many weekends of my teenage years in the darkroom processing my photography. But then I had been lucky because my parents never told me that as a female I was not visual but fed me a huge variety of visual art and most importantly encouraged me to make express myself with my own images.
I think the reason why a many women relate more to literature than films – be it porn, documentaries or feature films is not because they “are not visual” but because most of the films we see have been produced and directed by men. They feature heroes rather than heroines and show the world through the eyes of a man. No matter if it is a porn or a feature film – these films do not express what women dream and fantasize about and therefore so many of us can’t identify with them and don’t enjoy watching them. At least if you read a book you can create your own images in your mind when you bring the characters to live rather than having to just consume how a film represents the leading female and male characters. There is such a big difference between the female and male gaze. If you let a male and a female cameraperson shoot a fashion show you will end up with completely different footage. This different perspective is enhanced in porn where female fantasies are often the opposite of straight make fantasies: women would like to see two guys going down on them in a threesome, men would like to see two women giving a guy a blowjob. Straight men would like to see a woman masturbate or two girls having sex; straight women would like to watch a man masturbate and two guys making out. The straight female gaze is a lot closer to the gay male point of view: for both of them men are the objects of desire.
For so long women always have been the objects of desire especially in porn that now when we see a man in that position it causes a stir in the (porn) film industry. The reality is that women ware voyeurs too but until more and more women are starting to direct and shoot films we will still see the world from a male perspective.
I am just as annoyed by porn that reduces women to a canvas of male cum as I am with the wave of recent so called “chick flicks” (all produced and directed by men”) such as “Confessions of a Shopaholic” or “He is not that into you” that reduce women to mindless, needy and week creatures who just want a husband and the latest pair of designer shoes. Where are on the big screen and in porn films representations of women like me and my girlfriends: successful and independent women who know exactly what they want and get it not by submitting to male fantasies of what it means to be female but by living out their own fantasies and making their own dreams come true?
We live in a visual day and age where we perceive most of our information and entertainment not through words but images. So not to know how to create images is a form of “illiteracy” and leaves women speech- and visionless. Over 50% of humankind is female – so in an ideal world at least 50% of films should be created by women reflecting the female perspective on life, love and sex.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I can confirm that the woman’s film festival “Birdseyeview” in London has invited me to take part in a panel discussion on “Sex on the screen”. The festival, celebrating female filmmakers, kicks off on the 5.3 and my panel discussion happens at the ICA on the 11.3. at 9 pm. More info on the film festival here: www.birdseyeview.co.uk
It has been an exciting few weeks. I have been working on my compilation “HER PORN” non-stop. Not a day went by without me talking to some of the fantastic directors featured on this DVD. One day I am chatting to Candida Royalle and the next I am talking to Maria Beatty or emailing Shu Lea Cheang. I feel the other directors are more than just fellow erotic filmmakers but have become good friends. And it is so uplifting that we are now all supporting each other in matters such as distribution, on a regular basis.
It is such an honour to be working so closely with such talented women. I am so happy that everyone I did approached has agreed to co-operate and become part of this compilation. It will be very special indeed, featuring rare diamonds of female-made erotica. I am particularly proud that the double DVD will also feature interviews with all the filmmakers. This way the viewers will not just be able to enjoy the many different artistic hand-writings but also get to understand each filmmaker’s philosophy. It seems that when it comes to porn for women the philosophy behind the films is essential and women would like to know what the director’s are all about.
I hope that this compilation will not just sell in licensed sex shops but also be a teaching tool in seminars on “feminism and porn” that currently run at many universities Europe-wide. I have been approached by six different individuals who are writing their MA thesis on the female perspective on porn. Porn by and for women is extremely relevant because it is part of the feminist fight for equality. To finally have films available that represent how we women see our sexuality or men rather than always being bombarded with sexual images that were done by and for women is one step further on the path to sexual equality and liberation. Women feel empowered when they see natural looking performers being satisfied orally and they enjoy to sit back, be a voyeur and watch a guy strip and play with himself. But the men (who are ready for it) can be inspired too – they finally get to see a more realistic representation of female desires and fantasies. So if we are open to the change it’s a win-win situation.
I have great hope for this compilation. I would like to make clear that there are not just a few women out there shooting porn or that this is a recent phenomenon. The truth is that there are many of us and some women have been producing and directing porn for women for decades now. Until now it was hard for all of us to find distribution, so we were not heard or seen. I want to change that. Some of the filmmakers who feature on the compilation have no distribution in Europe or the UK yet and by including their masterpieces I want to put them on the map of discovery. The discovery of female sexuality and erotic art.
Apart from working hard on creating this unique compilation I have also been working my ass of in the gym. I finally invested the money to join a fab gym with a pool and am spending every free minute there: Pumping weights until I am sore and swimming like a true aqua girl I am sweating and recharging at the same time. I have also given up eating meat (I used to be veggie for 25 years and somehow due a hectic work schedule during the last years succumbed to eating meat again) and drinking booze and none of this feels like a sacrifice but like a fresh and clean start. I feel amazing, strong and positive. By taking care of myself I feel I have more to give to my projects and all the wonderful people I am connected with. I am hungry for more: life and love, creativity and adventures, fulfilment and joy. I believe again. The future is bright and has begun right now.