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Interview! Erika Lust Talks Feminist Porn



    Erika Lust is amazing as a feminist pornographer. Starting in only 2004, her films became explosively popular within several months. Why? She has a unique, sexy and dare we say, lusty, style. Lust Films has had prolific success and as you'll see Erika's passion is likely the biggest reason for the success of Lust Films. And what better way to solute this gorgeous, talented and incredibly smart woman than finding out more of her perspective on why she's so passionate? Read on!

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    1. What is your definition of ‘feminist porn’?

    Feminist porn is in direct opposition with most of the other kinds out there. It’s mission is to represent the female voices that are so absent from mainstream porn, yet so needed in order for pornography as a whole to represent anything close to an actual, positive sexual experience. Feminist porn is created in an effort to give power and importance to women’s sexuality.

    2. What are the major differences between the porn you make and mainstream, male-dominated porn? How do your films aim to challenge stereotypes?

    There are so many differences; I hardly know where to start! The whole reason I decided to make films is because of what I saw lacking in the mainstream industry. What’s immediately noticeable is the technical quality – I shoot everything with top-notch HD cameras, give major importance to lighting, and invest my time in finding great locations, sets, and musicians for the original soundtrack during a lengthy pre-production phase.

    Another large part of pre-production is casting, which I spend more time on that I expect any mainstream director to. I’m not particular about looks so long as they are natural, people like you and me, but am very specific about attitude when I interview. Do they like their job? Their body? Sex in general? Do they hide their work from friends and family? Do they do it for the money only?

    The answers to these questions really determine whether or not we’ll work well together, which effects the whole film. The actors have to be right for the role, which is something I think that sets me apart from mainstream films. I really do want to make films where the story is pivotal to enjoying the film. Without this, the sexual situations just seem ridiculous! The final thing I get a lot of good feedback on, besides the natural-looking actors, is the natural sex. I try and portray something akin to the type of sex people are actually having – none of this athletic, choreographed, fantasy sex for fantasy’s sake alone.

    3. The films you make are often highly artistic. What’s your reasoning behind that?

    It has always been my goal to merge traditional filmmaking with explicit content. Most filmmakers (in the US anyway) spend lots of time and money on aesthetics, characters, stories, and shy away from sexual content for ratings & audience reasons. Even if the sexual content is extremely graphic, as long as it’s not totally explicit, it’s acceptable. Meanwhile in mainstream porn, there is an obvious lack in any of the qualities listed above, but an abundance of sex, sterile and scripted though it may be. It’s either one or the other these days, with just a few notable exceptions: titles like 9 Songs, Shortbus, and Matinee. It’s among these pioneering directors that I wish to create, which means I strive for harmony between quality camerawork, an original soundtrack, fresh stories and scripts, rounded characters, believable situations, and beautiful sex.

    4. What are some misconceptions or myths about the porn industry that you wish to debunk?

    I think the single biggest misconception that I have to debunk regularly (to people’s disappointment), is that I am indeed running a business. People assume that, because I’m in the adult industry, that sexy naked people run around Lust Films having dildo-fights or something. I have to explain that, no, it’s an office – my time on the set while making a film is miniscule compared to the amount of time I’m at my desk or traveling – where regular staff, not actors, are hard at work. Sorry! We do have a lot of fun, but everyone is fully clothed, and very professional.

    5. Are your films made specifically for women or do they aim to connect with an audience that includes men as well?

    I started out making films that communicated my vision of sex and the erotic, and because it was a feminine view, I attracted an enormous following of women viewers. The original aim was to offer something that appealed to women, since so little of the adult industry is concerned with that. In the years since releasing my first film, a significant number of men have joined my following as well. And after women, couples are my greatest viewership. I think this shows that my films appeal to anyone who wants something different from porn, and I’m glad that both genders are included in this.

    6. Do you think feminist porn is couples-friendly?

    Absolutely! I get a ton of positive feedback from couples saying that they had a great experience. Whether it was the first time they’d ever explored porn together, or just the first time they’d seen that specific film, they enjoy our films! Watching an erotic film together could be the ultimate fantasy for some people, or it may open doors to new ones – like exploring fetishes, trying new positions or even making a film of one’s own! The key here is communication, and watching films together can really get the ball rolling, especially if you’re having a hard time explaining what you want, or what you fantasize about trying.

    7. What do you think the future holds for the small but growing feminist porn market?

    The term ‘growing’ is key here. All different types of indie porn are expanding thanks to the modern producer-consumer relations, technology, and sheer exposure. As the audience expands, more quality, varied films will exist, so that maybe someday everyone can find a type of erotic content that suits them. I think the future will see more indie films becoming household names (like those from the ‘golden age’), a massive increase in women enjoying porn and erotica, more interest and sales in products for female pleasure, and the overall re-thinking of human sexuality to include more feminine elements.

    8. What are you excited about in the next 6-12 months?

    I am in the middle of a few projects at the moment, so there’s a lot to be excited about! An erotic novel I just finished should be published early in the New Year. I’m also in the pre-production status with a new film, which will be completely unlike my others in a lot of ways. You’ll have to stay tuned for more updates on those!

    More about Erika Lust

    Erika Lust is an award-winning writer and erotic film director. She was born in Sweden in 1977 and currently lives in Barcelona, where she founded Lust Films in 2004.

    Erika made her first film, The Good Girl, in 2004. The Good Girl, was distributed for free on the Internet and downloaded 2,000,000 times in the first few months after its release, winning the NINFA prize for the Best Short Film in the 2005 Internacional Erotic Film Festival in Barcelona (FICEB). With such a great response to her first film, she quickly moved on to bigger projects.

    In 2007, Erika wrote and directed her first feature film, Five Hot Stories for Her, a compilation of five short films created specifically for women and couples. The Good Girl was included in this quintet. Five Hot Stories for Her took away the prize for Best Screenplay at the Barcelona Erotic Cinema Festival (2007), Best Film for Women at Venus Berlin (2007), Honourable Mention at CineKink New York (2008), and Film of the Year at the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto (2008).

    Next came Barcelona Sex Project, an independent experimental documentary exploring the lives, personalities, and orgasms of six Barcelona residents, which was awarded Best Erotic Documentary at Venus Berlin (2008) and an Honourable Mention at the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto (2009); Life Love Lust, the highly anticipated follow up to Five Hot Stories for Her, and the publication of three books: Good Porn, The Erotic Bible to Europe, and Love Me Like You Hate Me. Erika’s latest film, Cabaret Desire, was released in October 2011. An adult film set in Barcelona’s ‘Poetry Brothel,’ she’s fond to call it “my biggest project to date, my best, I think, and my most personal.”

    From there, Erika has worked on numerous other films, of which you can find out more on Lust Cinema. Also, follow Lust Films on Facebook and Twitter @erikalust.
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