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Feminist porn: ideas and challenges

Public Provocative Porn - photo by Pandora Blake

Last week I was in Toronto for the Feminist Porn Awards and Feminist Porn Conference. I'm still reeling. It was an incredibly intense few days crammed with every kind of stimulation, from the sexual to the intellectual. I was challenged and inspired as a filmmaker, turned on by screenings of uber-hot new porn, affirmed in my politics and given a sense of community. We didn't win an award, which given the quality of the other winners is perhaps not surprising. I came away full of inspiration and ideas for ways to raise my game.

Here are the winners. So much impressive, progressive, beautiful work. Click, watch, be inspired and get horny. (Complete list of Feminist Porn Awards Winners 2006-2014.)

The 2014 Feminist Porn Awards

Sexiest Short
No Artificial Sweeteners
Sonya JF Barnett (The Madame)

Sexiest Short
Trains | Paul Deeb (Pillow Book Productions)

Best Boygasm
Bed Party: Eden Alexander & Sebastian Keys | Shine Louise Houston (Pink & White Productions)

Steamiest Straight Movie
The Temptation of Eve | Jacky St. James (New Sensations)

Golden Beaver of Canadian Content
Power at Play | Carey Gray (House of Switch)

Best Direction
Sexual Freedom (Sex Stories 3) | Ovidie (Frenchlover TV)

Feminist Porn Awards Smutty School Teacher Award for Sex Education
Tristan Taormino’s Guide to Bondage for Couples | Tristan Taormino (Adam & Eve)

Hottest Dyke Film
Hard Femme: Lesbian Curves 2 | Courtney Trouble (TROUBLEfilms)

Honorable Mentions
Something Better: Performers Talk About Feminism & Porn | Ms. Naughty (Indigo Lush)

Best Slumber Party Ever | Samuel Shanahoy (tee vee dinner)

Doing It Again Vol 1: Playful Awakening | Tobi Hill-Meyer (Handbasket Productions)

Honorable Websites
www.juicypinkbox.com
www.naughtynatural.com
www.welovegoodsex.com
www.wendywilliamsxxx.com

Hottest Straight Vignette
Xconfessions | Erika Lust (Lust Productions S. L)

Hottest Lesbian Vignette
Women Reclaiming Sex on Film | Madison Young (Madisonbound Productions)

Hottest Kink Movie
Rubber Bordello | Soma Snakeoil (Snakeoil Media Productions)

Tantalizing Trans Film
Trans Grrrls: Revolution Porn Style Now! | Courtney Trouble (TROUBLEfilms)

Heartthrob of the Year
Zahra Stardust

Movie of the Year
Silver Shoes | Jennifer Lyon Bell (Blue Artichoke Films)

It's always an exhilarating feeling to be challenged to improve. But I didn't only critique my own work - I also did a lot of thinking about the way the awards privilege certain types of porn over others, and how we need to bridge the gaps between the fetish porn community and the feminist porn community. The films that win awards are mostly queer, documentary or gonzo style films which are concerned with authenticity and realism; when they are kinky, they are overtly consensual, and never explore fantasies of coercion or non-consent.

I came away determined to convince the feminist porn movement to open its doors to fantasy fiction and consensual non-consent, and acknowledge that spanking, punishment, bondage and other fetish fantasies can be produced in ways that are ethical and feminist too.

All this thinking was emotionally challenging, but it laid a strong psychological foundation for the feminist porn conference, where I was invited to give two presentations. I decided to not only discuss the questions raised in my own work, but to challenge the community to open their minds to other ways of doing things. In both presentations I made bolder statements than I'd planned about the ways in which feminist porn as a genre runs the risk of homogenising itself - and everything I said was received with curiosity, interest and support. I felt welcomed and validated, and I was glad the risk paid off. I'm hopeful that working together, this is something we can fix.

The audience at the Feminist Porn Awards and Gala 2014 - photo by Kristy Boyce

I'm still processing everything I took away from the conference: the inspiration, the motivation, the ways I can change and improve my work. I came away with a huge to do list of radical film-making ideas, marketing and business development ideas, new distribution channels, plans and projects. I don't know when I'll have time to do it all but the injection of enthusiasm is very welcome!

I'm currently in LA, staying at the beautiful, cosy, sunlit little home of Alex Reynolds and Paul Kennedy, and enjoying the Californian spring weather which feels like the height of summer - a wonderful contrast to the icy winds of Toronto. I'll be shooting plenty of content while I'm here, and hopefully finding time to keep up with my video editing too. I'm typing this on a brand new laptop which I've bought for the purpose, and it's a good step up; it's going to make everything easier to be able to work on photos and video while on the move.

I also shot three scenes in Toronto, with heart-throbs of queer porn Zahra Stardust and James Darling, as well as a solo scene in collaboration with feminist porn pioneer Ms Naughty. I've already started processing the previews and can't wait to give you a taste. Watch this space.

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