Lizzie Derksen recounts her experience making a Blue Revue film
Blue Revue, Canada’s only homegrown independent pornography festival, is now accepting submissions for its eighth year running. On September 13, the Metro Cinema will be crowded with Edmontonians ogling—and voting on—sexy short films which may have been made by someone they know.
Last year, for my own friends and unwitting acquaintances, one of those filmmakers was me.
As an artist and as someone who likes sex, I was intrigued by the challenges of making pornography that wasn’t degrading, ridiculous, or disgusting. I knew about a handful of independent film makers like Erika Lust of XConfessions and the producers of the Crash Pad series who make beautiful, ethical, and interesting porn. I knew about Cindy Gallop’s Make Love Not Porn project, which showcases people in real relationships having sex on their own terms. I knew it was possible to make an explicit movie that was neither parodic nor exploitative. I wanted to try.
I asked my friend Theodore Fox and my partner Dylan Howard if they wanted to help me. Since all three of us are non-monogamous, I wanted to portray the kinds of encounters and relationships we have in a romantic, normalized light. We’d had extremely warm and enjoyable sexual experiences together before, and I wanted to portray our group dynamic—and how a three-way might come about in real life, as opposed to within the context of a staged scenario.
Dylan and I decided to invite Theo over for dinner and simply make a documentary of the whole evening.
Our process was very simple. We used a DSLR camera and a four-track sound recorder, which we moved from dinner table to bedroom, but otherwise didn’t worry too much about.
Before anyone’s clothes came off, we recorded about two hours of conversation ranging from Seinfeld, to favourite sounds, to our ideas about we wanted the movie to be. Later, during the editing stage, I used pieces of this dinner table conversation as voiceover for the explicit parts of the film. One of the most interesting parts of the whole process was exploring how our preceding discussion informed our behaviour during sex.
After everyone’s clothes came off, Dylan and I took turns filming with the handheld DSLR, trading off about halfway through. In the end, we put the camera on a tripod so that everyone could be actively involved with each other.
We called our finished film Compersion, one definition of which is “the feeling of joy one has in experiencing another’s joy.”
It was definitely the “artsy” movie at the festival, which tends to be dominated every year by comedic sketches that happen to include nudity.
I can’t help but hope that this year, Blue Revue grows up a little. This is a festival, after all, of “adult films.”
As Dylan says, “Blue Revue provides—for one night only—the opportunity to really relish in the delicious awkwardness of confronting people with something erotic or challenging in public.”
While comedy is great, it would be exciting to see more films based on relationships, power, risk, and emotion—whatever makes sex sexy.
Wed., Sept. 13 (6 pm)
Metro Cinema at the
Garneau, $20 in advance