Posted at 14:51 on 28 Mar 2017
by Pandora Blake
When I started making spanking films I never once imagined that I would get a chance to screen them at the British Film Institute. Porn - especially queer porn and fetish porn, and Dreams of Spanking is firmly in both camps - is in many ways innately counter-cultural. When I launched the site I didn't expect the draconian criminalisation that would follow; but equally I didn't expect that queer porn, specifically my queer spanking films, would be considered cultural enough to be shown somewhere like the BFI.
It's a bittersweet juxtaposition, perfectly illustrated by something I noticed when I arrived at the BFI for Flare, the LGBTQ film festival, at which I was taking part in a panel discussion around how porn law affects queer porn. The banner across the Flare reception desks proclaimed the sponsors of the event; and there on the left was the legend "Supported by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport." How ironic that the very department of the civil service supporting this event is the one which introduced a statutory instrument in 2014 criminalising many forms of queer porn, including my own. It was surreal to speak about that criminalisation, to a sympathetic audience eager to learn how they can resist state oppression, at an event supported by the very public body responsible for that oppression. For me, that dissonance aptly summarised the widening gap between legislation imposed from above by those who have no clue about sexuality or sex work, and an increasingly open-minded public who mostly consider the sex lives of consenting adults to be their own damn business.
Before the panel proper, I recorded a video interview alongside queer porn icon Jiz Lee, and Chocolate Chip, who stars in Snapshot, the new "porn noir" sexy whodunnit by Shine Louise Houston, with questions asked by Flare programmer Jay Bernard. Jay is one of the curators of the festival, and they did an amazing job co-ordinating the Sexit panel and programming queer films that center people of colour. The interview was intended to be streamed via Facebook Live, but apparently the BFI is an old old building with shitty connectivity, so it was recorded instead - I'll link the video as soon as it's available.
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Posted at 11:09 on 10 Mar 2017
by Pandora Blake
I'm writing this blogpost on my way back from Switzerland, where I've been staying in Lausanne for five days for La Fete du Slip. Apparently it's the biggest festival of its kind in Europe after the Porn Film Festival Berlin - I'm told that six thousand people attended this year. It was my first time there. I was invited to accompany the screening of my film Please May I Come, Mistress, and they kindly offered some help with expenses which made it possible. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet members of our extended international porn family, discover hot new films, and visit Switzerland for the first time.
I’m always curious to visit new places. Lausanne is a small town on the Swiss bank of Lake Geneva, with the French Alps decorating the horizon. It’s hilly, each incline a hidden third dimension invisible on Google maps, but quickly discovered puffing up and down cobbled streets, or trying to work out a way between different levels of roads and bridges on foot. The central streets are paved and tidy, with restaurants, little shops and all the other trappings of a wealthy town. Other areas - like Arsenic, the venue hosting the porn film screenings - are more like the cities I’m used to, with large concrete infrascructure, graffiti and somewhat more urban decay. Even by London standards it's very expensive. Food and drink costs over twice what I expected, and I still hadn't got used to it by the time I left.
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