“Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel:
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life
for me – And I’m feeling good.”
(Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley for Nina Simone)
Christmas and New Years Eve are over but for me the celebrations are just about to begin. 2014 is a really big year for me: Ten years ago my first film Sexual Sushi appeared in the first German sex shops. I had shot the film in 2003 but could not find any distribution as my concept of art-core porn from a female perspective did not appeal to the mainstream market. The industry did not want innovation but only films created by the same old moneymaking formula.
The copies of my pilot (at the time still on VHS which seems unbelievable now) ended up sitting on some distributors’ shelves (or sometimes landed straight in their bins) until in 2004 when a journalist enquired about the existence of female-made porn in German shops, someone working at a distribution company remembered me and was brave enough to order my first ever 200 DVD units of Sexual Sushi. At the time I was still loading the discs into the DVD boxes by hand and packing every single parcel myself. Eventually more and more orders trickled in and Sexual Sushi became against all odds an unexpected alternative porn success – it turned out that the audience was and continues to be hungry to sample some sexual sushi on film.
A lot of interview requests followed and before I knew it I was in the limelight (at the beginning reacting to all this unexpected and a little intimidating media attention like one of my rabbits caught in the headlights) but then accepting and embracing the opportunity to share my views on feminism and porn with an ever-growing audience.
I never set out to found a porn production company. The film was a creative experiment my friends and I shot for fun, possibly as a one off. I never did any professional sales and marketing but somehow the interest in my films and vision grew.
Now ten years down the line I have published four more self-financed films as well as five Her Porn compilations featuring amazing erotic films from other directors from all over the world. I am about to go into post-production with my fifth film (S)he Comes, am planning to publish and distribute more female filmmakers and have already done a lot of interviews on feminist porn in the first week of the new year alone. I am grateful for all of this and want to use this as an opportunity to say a big thank you to the wonderful people that have been shooting and creating with me; the shops that bring my films to the ever growing alt-porn audience; to the viewers who watch my films and send me feedback and continue to be an inspiration; to the other amazing filmmakers that have been co-operating with me and have become part of the Her Porn series and last but not least to the film festivals and TV stations that have shown and honoured my work! Without you I would not still be here shooting porn from a female perspective ten years after I set out to follow my dream to change a stale genre and create a different kind of porn – without any funding or support. I make my films for you and hope that my new film will bring you joy, pleasure and lust!
This is also a huge year for me personally as in January I hit the big 50. Time to reflect, look back, celebrate but also look ahead and decide what I want to do with my time. I figure that at fifty I have most possibly already lived more than half my life, so I feel more of an urgency and need to make every second count and do things that are meaningful on the grand scheme of things. Some of you might know that I deeply care about animal rights and have spent a day each week last year working as a volunteer at an animal sanctuary. Animals can’t speak for themselves and my heart bleeds when I think about the massive scale and the many ways we are exploiting and torturing animals. I have always followed my heart and will continue to do so, be it with my work as an erotic filmmaker and feminist activist or my personal commitment to do my part in making sure that animal welfare on all levels becomes an integral part of our society.
There is a third anniversary coming up in 2014 for me: It was ten years ago in July that I met my partner en-route to the Big Chill festival on a ride share. As it turns out the ride we shared to the festival continues to the present day and into the future. Our relationship gets better and better all the time and we are so in love. My partner has been there for me and with me through many professional and personal ups and downs and that is a gift I treasure.
As a one-off special adventure, we are travelling at the end of February to an African nature reserve to observe wild animals quietly through our binoculars – no doubt in awe of the precious beauty of the natural world.
But before we leave I will have to go in hiding and be a hermit for a while to edit my new film, (S)he Comes! . There are literally hundreds of hours of footage to be viewed and edited and I love this process of creating a one-hour film out of dozens of clips of rushes. I feel like a naughty chef, creating a delicious visual feast out of lots of exciting raw ingredients.
So it might go quiet for a bit until I re-emerge in late spring with a brand-new film, a pocket full of sunshine, happy memories and many more new dreams.
I feel more positive, happy, energetic and grateful than I have in years.
This is a year to make dreams come true. And I will.
Happy New Year everybody!