Tag Archives: Candida Royalle
The 7th of September 2015 was a very sad day for many women, feminists and erotic artists around the world. As the news spread that Candida Royalle died at her New York home, her Facebook page has been transformed into a colourful kaleidoscope of an amazing life. Every few minutes someone new leaves a tribute for this truly exceptional woman that paved the way for porn from a female perspective and opened doors to the many feminist pornographers – myself included – that followed in her footsteps. All the pictures posted show a radiant woman with a smile that said “I love live, will live it to the full, let’s go and have an adventure!”
Believe it or not, there are still members’ clubs that are reserved for men only. It is not just a lot of golf clubs… until a few years ago the porn industry was also an almost exclusively men-only affair, at least behind the camera.
When I tried to get my first-ever erotic film “Sexual Sushi” into the shops 10 years ago, I hit a wall of male resistance. I went to Europe’s biggest adult trade show, the Venus in Berlin, with my Palm Pilot in my pocket and every single business meeting I had was with a smug guy in a suit laughing at my concept of “art-core” porn. They did not get it: a porn film without major porn stars or money shots? An alternative porn that featured abstract, arty scenes as well as plenty of authentic sex between a couple that were clearly very much in love and blissfully unaware of the camera? They looked at me as if I was an alien before their eyes wandered off to the topless waitress serving us or one of the many live sex shows that surrounded us. I walked away empty-handed – no production or distribution deal. No further interest. They ticked me off as a curiosity.
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!
I just returned from two jam-packed weeks in Berlin where I attended the Venus trade show and the fourth pornfilmfest, won the poryes award, hosted the Petra Joy Award and was followed around non-stop by endless TV crews.
It has all been really exciting but as I never got to sleep more than 5 hours a night it has been exhausting. All work and hardly any play and it was weird having to turn down so may kind offers for cups of coffee or glasses of wine because I simply did not have any free time to socialise… Let me fill you in on new and exciting events and encounters that have inspired me:
For the first time ever they had at the Venus (biggest adult show in Europe) a “Ladies only” area where men stripped. It was just a small cordoned off area and the 15 minutes show only happened twice a day but it was a start. The showroom was packed with eager women who enjoyed the hunky guys’ acrobatic and full strip. Unfortunately women tend to still be shy about their joy of watching guy candy and it was really difficult to find women who would talk to me on camera about the pleasure of watching a guy strip. It is as if many of us are still ashamed of our voyeurism and I hope that this will pass and one day we can just talk about what turns us on without fear or shame. It is good to see that the industry finally realises that women are voyeurs too and I hope more of this kind of events will finally happen all over the world. These shows were the only thing that excited me about the Venus. I did not find any new toys and was quite shocked that apart from the plastic surgeons advertising their breast enhancements, this year one surgeon was advertising labia reduction. He handed out roses to passing women as if to say: “Here, have a rose and buy a designer vagina – never mind the pain”. I am fully aware of the impact cloned teenager vaginas as seen in porn have on women who wrongly assume that they pussy is not beautiful enough. This saddens me. I am all for variety and personally find fleshy labias more womanly and sexier than tiny teeny pussies.
It was a nice contrast to the Venus show that mainly caters to men to meet other female erotic entrepreneurs at the Plastixx dildo factory one evening after the show. This is an annual networking event hosted by Stephanie Doerr, a dildo designer and every year more and more women who make or sell erotic toys, films, magazines, books come to network with other women and exchange ideas. The following night it was a pleasure to meet more like-minded women at the first European Poryes Event where my friends Candida Royalle, Maria Beatty, Annie Sprinkle and Shine Louise Houston as well as me got honoured for our films with a trophy in the shape of a giant sparkling oyster. It is wonderful to see that we all get together to celebrate each other, our work and above all female sexual liberation and pleasures. It was lovely to catch up with Candida and Maria who I had not seen for a while and Candida and I spent the next evening having a girls’ night in with a bottle of bubbly and a wonderful exchange of ideas. I am so happy to be able to count Candida as such a close friend – her support gives me strength and picks me up when I most need it. It is also very exciting that shortly Candida will publish my film “Feeling it!” in America under her Femme Productions label and I thank her for that.
The following week we both went to the pornfilmfest – my fourth and Candida’s first. The opening film “The Band” from Anna Brownfield, a talented Australian filmmaker was a blast – it was a rock and roll comedy with lots of creative explicit sex scenes thrown in (including a cross-dressing male rock star and a woman fucking a guy with a strap-on). I am pleased to say that Anna and me really clicked and I will be showing one of her scenes on my forthcoming release “Her Porn, vol. 2”. It really does happen all around the world right now: women getting behind the camera and showing the world what turns them on! This year 40% of all films at the pornfilmfest were shot by women which is fantastic. Unfortunately I was not able to see as many films, do any workshops or go to all the fab parties as I did last year because I had tons of TV crews in tow that were documenting my work and the preparations to the Petra Joy Awards ect. I know it sounds glamorous but it isn’t – it is hard work to things over and over again for the cameras and always being asked the same questions over and over again (the first one always being “What makes your films different from mainstream porn?”). It does not give me a kick to be on TV. I am a private person and really cherish the time away from the limelight walking on my local beach or pottering in my garden. But I mustn’t grumble – as it is illegal to advertise for porn this kind of publicity is essential to let women know about my films and spread the message that films that show female fantasies do finally exist. But in the next few months I will take a break from all the media attention – I just crave some experiences without the cameras recording and documenting every moment of it. No TV shoots until the new year (I already turned one production company down today).
There were three trends at this year’s pornfilmfest: 1. More and more filmmakers reject the crisp, clear high definition look in favour for grainy and rough around the edges footage shot by a mobile phone or webcam. 2. Music and sound-scapes have become really important. Many films use tailor-made music and complicated sound effects that support the film in an exciting way (we have come a long way from badly dubbed porn and cheesy wallpaper music). There were loads of films featuring bands and rock music – ‘rock porn’ seems to be the latest alternative porn genre. 3. We are seeing more varied depictions of male sexuality in ‘straight’ films – the prostate is not a taboo anymore and strap-on action or cross dressing for men are casually thrown into the films as part of a varied sex-scape.
It was also interesting to see how many female filmmakers are now documenting the female porn revolution: Ovidi and Anna Brownfield interviewed me and I interviewed Shine Louise Houston and Anna Brownfield. Everyone is working on their own documentary about porn for women making the topic accessible to more and more people.
The pornfilmfest was a huge success the cinemas were generally sold out and there was such a buzz in the air and it was fantastic to meet some of the 140 filmmaker that were present. We have become an international porn family – inspiring and supporting each other. I cannot wait to return to Berlin next year hopefully not just for the pornfilmfest but also to shoot a new film – if I can raise the money….
A big part of the pornfilmfest for me this year was the award I was giving to the winners of my erotic amateur film competition for women. But as it was so huge and so many exciting things happened, I will write a separate blog just about the Petra Joy Award 2009 – so read on…
It is with great pleasure that I received the invitation to the “Poryes “event in Berlin. This event is organised by the sex positive activist Dr. Laura Meritt and her team and is the first feminist porn award in Europe. The award ceremony and big bash celebrate pioneers in feminist porn. My dear friends Candida Royalle, Maria Beatty and Annie Sprinkle will receive an award as well a myself and Shine Louise Houston from America who I have not yet met.
Of course it is symbolic that the event happens during the Venus show – Europe’s biggest adult trade show – that is still firmly in male hands, catering almost exclusively to men and their desires. It is hard to be taken seriously as an artist or businesswoman in this world that still likes to reduce pretty much every woman to objects. But sometimes even women and feminists do not value our efforts to express female fantasies and portray a more accurate and humane image of (female) sexuality.
Only two years ago the German feminist magazine “Emma” stated: “Porn for women is a myth”. Not so. I myself was very active in the anti-porn movement of the eighties. I still do not like a lot of misogynist porn that I see but the time has come to be heard and seen by creating alternatives rather than leaving the creation of erotic films exclusively in male hands.
As a woman and a feminist it feels good to be celebrated by other feminists who do appreciate the work we are doing to inspire and empower women. To be a feminist does not mean anymore to be against any kind of porn but instead to appreciate the films that genuinely portray female sexuality, that respect the performers’ boundaries and promote safe sex.
“Poryes” says “Yes” to free-range, female-made porn that meets certain criteria. And it feels good to say ‘Yes’ rather than ‘No’ all the time. It gives us a choice and to have a choice is empowering. We can take it or leave it, rather than being excluded.
The other night I went to see “Sister Sledge” play and their anthem is still playing in my head:
“We are family, I got all my sisters with me!”. And this is what it feels like right now: We are connecting and building networks world-wide: The female filmmakers, performers, sex shop owners and the sexual teachers. For a long time America was ahead of us. Now Europe is catching up. Fast. And together we are unstoppable. We are family!
For more info on the “Poryes” event and tickets to the amazing event, look here: http://www.poryes.de
I nearly spluttered my soya latte when I opened today’s paper – there was a full page ad featuring a hunk with tool belt and the tagline read “I’m free”. This was an ad for Allied Carpets offering free fitting when buying a carpet. We are so used to seeing women and female bodies selling anything from car tyres to power tools that it almost seems normal that free sex is part of the package in most ads.
I have never been comfortable with women being objectified – reduced to their bodies and stripped of their personalities. And it’s certainly not a solution to objectify men but it makes a refreshing change to see male sex objects in the mainstream. It opens our eyes to what it feels like being a woman being confronted daily with images of women that are available at no cost. But it also reflects a cultural change, a subtle shift of women wanting to be the voyeur, enjoying looking at and fantasizing about hunky men. Women being subjects and men objects – for a change.
I also enjoy porn scenes that turn standard role perceptions upside down and reveal how dated they really are. I adore the scene “Not so tender is the night” from “Ecstatic Moments” by Marianna Beck. It features a naked man on stage in a nightclub being cheered on by randy women who want to watch him play with himself and come. All the women in the audience are well known feminists and accomplished fighters of female sexual liberations such as Betty Dobson and Candida Royalle. You will be able to see this previously in Europe unpublished scene on my brand-new compilation HER PORN (out in May).
I have just been watching “Stud Hunters” again, Candida Royalle’s masterpiece on a porn director and her leading lady that set out to find the perfect stud for the new film production. The casting scene s are hilarious featuring a huge variety of male wanna-be porn stars from geek to gorgeous. They are asked to strip for the women and talk about their special talents. The climax of the film is when the female director test drives a chosen few beautiful men all at once. Rather than this becoming the usual mainstream porn gang bang scenario, it is the woman who calls the shots throughout. And all the men are eager to please her and respect and adore her like a queen bee. It is a really empowering film, playing with porn clichés, allowing men to become objects of desire and empowering women to be voyeurs and pleasure seekers. I will definitely show clips of this film in my documentary on porn from a female perspective that I am working on right now. I have just digitised 100 tapes that I shop over the past 12 months and really look forward to create a powerful documentary that sheds light on female fantasies, pleasures and desires. So keep an eye on this space.
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.
I have just returned from a trip to Amsterdam where I met and interviewed the fabulous Candida Royalle for my upcoming documentary on female pornographers. Candida who has been producing and directing sensual porn for women in the States for two decades now is not only a pioneer but veteran when it comes to visualising erotic female fantasies. Over the past few months we have become pen or rather keyboard friends, writing to each other regularly to network and inspire each other across the Atlantic. As Candida was in Amsterdam to work with the designer of Natural Contours, a female friendly sex toy line she helped to create, I thought: this is it let’s meet and share that long overdue glass of champagne. We did meet and got on like a house on fire. It was wonderful to talk to Candida about female friendly toys, what women want in porn, designer vaginas and the future of the adult industry. In her two decades of creating alternative porn Candida has gained so much insight and wisdom that I was blessed to capture on film. Look out for the documentary that I aim to complete by the end of this year. It will feature many of the female key players when it comes to porn: Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle, Anna Span, Maria Beatty and many more.
I was delighted that through my networking with the female run alternative sex shop Mail and Female they found out about Candida’s visit and decided to invite her for an evening on porn for women. And what an amazing event it was. It was full house with 75 women attending, swigging champagne with raspberries and exchanging ideas on what makes sex films porn for women. Ella, the porn expert from Mail and Female put together a show reel of lots of different porn clips from female directors to illustrate how many different visions of female porn there are. The different approaches form the directors were mirrored in the response of the audience: some women liked it rough and ready with a good pinch of humour and some liked their porn to be arty, sensual and subtle. I loved Candidas’s attitude: “Don’t ever make a woman feel bad if she does not like porn, not even female made porn. Tastes vary and what is too hard woman is too soft for another. It is OK to not all agree on what turns us on!”
Mail and Female were one of the first mail order companies to cater for women who wanted to buy sex toys and porn online and are celebrating their 20th birthday this year. To celebrate their success they are putting on more events with women from all over the world. On the 19th of June Annie Sprinkle will teach breathing techniques that support orgasm and on the 9th of August I am invited to give a presentation on how to make your own creative porn.
There are a lot of exciting events happening right now in Amsterdam; one of them being “Pinched”, an alternative Erotica festival peaking on the 21st of June. There will be many exciting discussions and performances and I will be doing an open casting.
After my visit in Amsterdam I feel truly inspired and enriched. To meet Candida, the Mail and Female posse and Marije Janssen, the organiser of “Pinched”, made me realise what I have been sensing for quite some time now: porn for women is unstoppable. There are so many women working on female focused erotica right now that neither the adult industry nor the mainstream press can call us a niche phenomenon. We work on these films around the world and around the clock and what makes us a force to be reckoned with is the fact that we are all connected right now. We talk to each other, we listen, we learn and we co-operate. Now that we have found each other the sky is the limit! Sisterhood is powerful. Work co-operations emerge and friendships grow. As a parting gift Candida gave me a signed copy of her fabulous book “How to tell a naked man what to do!” (you never stop learning) and I gave her home made English strawberry jam. I have a feeling we will be friends for life.
Last night Violetta came over. We had an Easter roast and knocked back a bottle of red Russian Krim champagne. I am so blessed that most of the performers of my films have become such good friends that we regularly socialise.
Violetta and I were both very excited; just in time for a lovely Easter surprise a package had arrived from New York: Candida Royalle, a true pioneer of female friendly porn, sent us her latest films. We watched “Aphrodite Superstar” the first film of Candida’s new line “Femme Chocolat” showing mainly gorgeous coloured men and women enjoying passionate sex.
We really like this film – the beautiful colours, funky editing and very erotic and beautifully shot sex scenes were a pleasure to watch and there were many moments where we did not just view the film with our professional, analytical eyes but got turned on as well. That usually means it’s a great film! Thanks to Candida for having become such an interesting, entertaining and supportive pen-friend of mine, as well as being a supplier of exciting porn for women. More information on Candida: www.candidaroyalle.com
Violetta and I also had fun doing a photo shoot with burlesque portraits of her – just for a laugh. I love those free time creativity projects most as there are no outlines or deadlines. This way we often get the most creative results. The picture you can see here shows Violetta catching a rare ray of spring sunshine and wearing nothing but pearls and blossoms from my garden.