28 GENIUS INTERVIEW Erika Lust
Erika Lust is an icon of feminist porn filmmaking. She makes the films she would like to watch herself. But in a world of mass piracy, her artisanal approach to adult content is under threat ERIKA LUST I DECIDED TO CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE PORN AND AN ADULT CINEMA THAT REFLECTED MY VALUES
FEED: How did you start out in adult video?
features before starting my audio-visual project XConfessions in 2013. XConfessions is an online community of filmmakers, performers, artists and consumers looking for something different from their porn. Every month, myself and guest directors pick two anonymous fantasies shared by the public and turn them into captivating, explicit short films. FEED: What effect do the larger tube sites have on indy sites like yours? Are they a vehicle for promotion or do they just steal audience? ERIKA LUST: The pirating business model which has taken over in recent years with the rise of tube sites such as Pornhub, YouPorn and RedTube has decimated the industry and put many production studios and performers out of business. Whether you’re a performer or a production company, if the content you create is uploaded onto tube sites, it doesn’t matter how many times it is watched, you will not get a penny from those views. This, coupled with the fact that many content creators, especially smaller independent producers, simply don’t have the time or resources to trawl through these sites looking for their pirated content, means the business is far less lucrative than it used to be. If people know they can watch it for free then they are not going to pay
ERIKA LUST: As I was growing up I reached the point, like many other young adults, where I wanted to explore my sexuality more. I felt intrigued by pornography but I had the biggest disappointment when I actually watched some films. I felt aroused physically but I was also uneasy. I just could not understand it. It was basically men having sex to women and women engaging in sex for men, without intimacy, context or cinematography. At university I studied political science and gender studies and it provided me a relevant base of knowledge on which I could subsequently build my adult cinema. I didn’t start studying filmmaking until I moved to Barcelona after my degree. I had read Linda Williams’ book Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of The Visible and it really inspired me. I understood that porn was not “just porn” but a discourse on gender and sexuality. I decided to create an alternative porn and an adult cinema that reflected my values, with my gaze. So I started to direct the adult movies I would enjoy myself and that I thought other women and men looking for something different would also like, and from there Erika Lust Films grew. It started slowly with my first film The Good Girl, which was a humorous take on the classic pizza delivery boy porn trope. I made four more adult
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