Porn Film Festival Berlin 2016

Posted at 11:17 on 21 Nov 2016 by Pandora Blake

This year I took the train again to the Berlin Porn Film Festival, a habit I began last year and which I mean to continue. It's a ten or eleven hour journey across northern Europe, and I vastly prefer it to flying: I like the armchairs and reclining seats of the Eurostar and high speed ICE trains, with hot coffee brought to your seat, and fast, free wifi which is unconstrained by the adult content filters now ubiquitous in the UK. I like not having to do airport security, or waiting at boarding gates. For ten hours it's just me, my laptop and my books, as the autumn fields and grey skies of Belgium and Germany whip past at nearly two hundred kilometres an hour.

That space and time to reflect has become a necessary ritual for me before the film festival, which is so crammed with social and sensory overstimulation. The linear, methodical journey by train feels more like a pilgrimage than the stop-and-start process of air travel; there's something satisfyingly complete about watching the horizon blur by. And at journey's end, I find belonging, acceptance. Here is the community queer pornographers lack the rest of the year, dotted around the globe as we are, turning Twitter into our shared office. Here, I'm neither shocking nor extreme. Sometimes I struggle with the unspoken suspicion that I choose this life because some part of me is attracted to rebellion, to the feeling of being outrageous; but when being among my people brings me such happiness, that suspicion is silenced.

This was my third year at the festival. Some part of that powerful sense of belonging was born last year, when I was awarded First Prize in the Short Film Competition for Houseboy, my BDSM romance about the teething pains of a queer poly household. That recognition, coming at a time when this film - along with the rest of my website Dreams of Spanking - had been outlawed by the UK government as too extreme to be tolerated, kept me afloat during my legal struggles. It also explains why I feel more at home in Berlin, at least for the week of the Porn Film Festival, than I do in the UK, which seems determined to criminalise my sexuality and my self expression. True, Germany already has mandatory age verification for online porn - a spectre currently looming over the UK - but at least they don't place prudish limits on the activities consenting adults can watch or film.

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Tags: Ms Naughty, porn, Porn Film Festival Berlin, porn screenings, queer porn

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Smut screening in Melbourne

Posted at 23:41 on 1 Feb 2016 by Pandora Blake

I was very lucky to be invited to attend a sexy film screening in Melbourne the weekend after I arrived, organised by Gala Vanting and others. I was impressed: it was a central, friendly setting with two screens, comfy seating, food and drink, and good vibes. No embarrassed jeers and nervous laughter from this audience; here was a collection of smut fans who were open to being stimulated and confronted by filth of all flavours.

By a happy coincidence, this event focussed on kink and fetish (my favourites!), although I can’t exactly imagine Gala curating a vanilla programme. Since I was going to be there, she included a film of mine and a Q&A, which was good fun - plus I got to raise awareness of porn censorship, which was very relevant since almost all the films screened that night would now be illegal to distribute in the UK.

It was an incredible programme. Some of the films I’d seen before; Action Painting and Expiatory were both in the short film competition in Berlin last year. They had struck me then - to the extent that I was enthusiastically describing the latter to some Melbourne friends a couple of nights before the screening, and then when we got there I was delighted to learn I'd be able to share it with them after all.

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Tags: Australia, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, fetish porn, Gala Vanting, Goodyn Green, Inside Flesh, Manuela Kay, Maria Beatty, Melbourne, Miss Alyx, Mollena Williams, porn screenings

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