Inside the Quickies: Filmmaker Interview with Gala Vanting
An interview with Gala Vanting from “Taken”
Good Vibrations is proud to present the 2013 QUICKIES Erotic Short Film Competition on Friday, December 6th at the Castro Theater.
Finalist Gala Vanting’s film “Taken” was produced by her company, Sensate Films. Gala pictured at right.
Brief Bio: Gala Vanting and Aven Frey form Sensate Films, a producer of premuim-quality, process-based erotic media based in Australia creating content for web, screen, and print. We approach erotic filmmaking with aesthetic and interpersonal reverence, aiming to find and represent eroticism in both the fantastical and the commonplace. The beauty of what we capture is the organic unfolding of an erotic engagement. It’s impossible to script, and so we don’t try. Instead we focus on creating an environment in which that expression can thrive. We are currently crowdfunding our first feature-length project, an erotic documentary on BDSM and intimacy, on http://offbeatr.com/project/sensate-films-all-kitted-up-68464353996, and can also be found on sensatefilms.com.
How did you find out about the Quickies Short Erotic Film Competition?
From my colleague MsNaughty, who runs BrightDesire.com – she shared it on Facebook and I had to express post my submission to get it in on time! One of the major woes of being an Australian producer: postage fees are outrageous from our part of the world.
Tell us a bit about your film. What’s it about? And what inspired you to create it?
‘Taken” is part of a series we are producing about female fantasies. They’re a great way to work with a new performer because they allow us to really dig into their fantasies and get to know them before producing anything particularly explicit. The inspiration for the piece is very much the performer herself. This is really Viva’s film, to be honest. Her words, her image, her revelations. We just made the pretty pictures.
The film describes a recurring abduction fantasy from the viewpoint of the abductee. Viva wrote the text, and then we workshopped what the images inspired by the words might look like. She was very involved in the process to the point where she’s actually listed as a co-director in the film’s credits. It was so gratifying to work with her, and every time I watch this film I get teary – it’s just such a powerful statement and we are really humbled by the generosity and honesty with which she presented this work.
Seven minutes or less is a pretty tight limit. What are some of the challenges in creating a short erotic film?
It depends on your approach! We actually found our shortest shorts really enjoyable to produce. We’re used to creating longer-form pieces for internet-porn purposes, so this was a really nice change for us. I think the biggest challenge is that there are always more beautiful images than you’re able to use, but our editor, Aven Frey, is the master of the creatively succinct edit. Often the films I personally find the most sexy are the ones that hit you hard and fast. They’re a bit ravaging, and I’m into that.
What’s your background in film or in making erotic films? How does making an erotic film differ from making a non-erotic one?
I came to filmmaking through making internet porn, actually, so that’s where I first began to wield a camera. I have worked on a couple of non-erotic productions and I think that erotic filmmaking, at least the way we do it, offers you a lot more freedom in form. Because our crews are necessarily smaller (we find that having a whole bunch of people in the room isn’t often condusive to the performer having a peak experience), we have to be more creative in the ways we multi-task, and we necessarily dissolve hierarchy in that space. Being on traditional film sets involves a lot more D/s dynamics than is palatable to me, and what we’re aiming for at Sensate is a more democratic or collective experience. This tends to breed a more interesting product, and one that the performer is proud of. That feels really crucial to me.
What do you hope audiences will get from your work?
One of my primary goals as a producer is to make porn that does more than one thing. With Sensate Films, we want it to be stimulating on mutliple levels, and we want to offer folks a more diverse and in-depth experience with the images we create. I also want to represent the desires that other companies or producers won’t touch. There has definitely been some discussion around ‘Taken’, and one of our other films, ‘Amber’, about taboo fantasies and the agency we exercise as erotic subjects to have desires that are not, on the surface anyway, PC. I like that this is happening, and that people are relieved to see a fantasy like abduction being treated with respect. I’d love for that to have a normalising effect on those fantasies and desires we might refer to as ‘non-normative’. Normativity is for normals. I don’t know very many of those.
Who are your performers, and how did you meet them/invite them to participate?
It’s early days for us at Sensate – we’re just over a year old as a company. Our performers thus far have been friends and people we’ve worked with in the past on more commercial / corporate projects. Generally performers come to us – we don’t really recruit or advertise, for reasons too complicated to go into here – so we knew that they’d be willing to work with us and we approached them to create something together.
Were there any funny or unexpected moments while filming?
Oh goodness yes. We shot some of the exteriors in a shipping yard that has reasonably high security. We got as far away from the more patroled areas as we could, but eventually a big beefy security officer came and told us that we couldn’t film there. We’ve shot in public space in the past and know how to get around that, which in this case involved pleading igorance (‘don’t ask me, I’m just a girl!’) and saying we were just making a student film and that everything we were filming was out of focus. He asked us what uni we were from and when we told him our made-up-on-the-spot answer, it turned out that his son was in the same programme at the same uni and we had to pretend that we knew him. He gave us another 10 minutes, we took 15, and we got what we needed! There are times when teh sex appeal is the best way out, and that night was one of them.
What projects are you working on now/next, and where can we find you?
We’re currently crowdfunding for our next film (http://offbeatr.com/project/sensate-films-all-kitted-up-68464353996), which is an erotic documentary about BDSM and intimacy. We’re very interested in the diverse relationships built around kink and BDSM, and the way it challenges conventional relationship structures, communication styles, and what is ‘sexy’. Plus we just really love kinky people and representing them in a way that removes play from the dungeon and deviates from the black-and-red aesthetic of more traditional kink imagery. We still love that stuff, but as more people identify with BDSM practice, other representations will surface, and we hope that ours is one of the more visible.