PFFBerlin is on this week, marking my (and several other folks’) first appearance on the big porno screen. When Bobby, Chica and I marched our cameras up the hill back in February, we had no intentions whatsoever beyond the creation of something pretty. What we ended up with was the Hilltop Agony series, which you can see over at Beautiful Agony if you have too much on to make it to Berlin later this week. We were so damned proud of its excellence that we decided that now was as good a time as any to start entering our stuff in international festivals. I have been making porno for several years now for the same old audience, and that bores me sometimes, so I’m keen to start getting involved in what else is happening in dirty pictures worldwide. In some ways Australia is culturally isolated – no one seems to think that anything comes from here so they don’t bother even looking down to our corner of the map – so I think the most effective way to still be able to participate in modern international erotic production is to get involved with the things that are far far away. So Berlin is a tiny tiny step towards that, for me at least.
Schöne Schmerzen (Beautiful Agony) has three screenings at Berlin, and is being screened with In Search of the Wild Kingdom, a Pink & White production. Pink and White is pretty well-known as some of the only decent and conscientiously-produced dykeporn out there, and while I don’t always care for their aesthetic or narrative choices, I respect what they do and feel going being attached to them in two screenings – I think the audience they will draw is a good one for exposure to what Agony does.
The other screening is in conjunction with a lecture by a film theorist called Stephan Wolf entitled ‘The Privacy Of Porn: All Is Intimate, Nothing Is True.’ I’m quite sorry to be missing this, as it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about for awhile now but have little suitable vocabulary to describe. From the description on the PFFBerlin website:
Truth, but a deceiving one, authenticity, but a false one, all intimacy – ruined? What is left of “private” when there’s a camera around, some director or even some emcee to conduct? We may draw nonpoint lines of demarcation between private and public, between un-, semi- and commercial – and discard them again.
The company I work for produces things which are sometimes described as ‘reality porn’; the contributors to its websites are ‘not models’ or ‘not porn actresses’. In many ways it depends on the demarcation between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ to exist, and as I think Wolf will perhaps argue, the whole concept (phenomenon?) of ‘private porn’, on the surface, facilitates that distinction. But then there’s that problem presented by the camera, by a capturing device, by an awareness that someone else is watching or has watching or is going to watch. So what does it mean to call something ‘private’? How far can you really go to simply ‘capture’ something, to filter out all consciousness of the act of capturing, to make it so that anyone is ever ‘just watching’? Wolf is open to suggestion: ‘But – perhaps we disclose hidden hints for some antitheses together?’, and I’d love to be there to give him a few.
But since I can’t, I will just say this: I’m proud that something which evolved so organically and experimentally ended up on an international screen. I’m excited that a whole buncha people are gonna see something pretty we made. And I’m encouraged by the fact that pornographic innovation is celebrated by things like Berlin, because I’ve got a whole lot more of it in myself, and I’m always trying to figure out exactly where to stick it.