IXFF Filmmaker Interviews! Part 5: Erika Lust
Erika Lust is one of our fabulous international filmmakers participating in the Good Vibrations Indie Erotic Film Fest. Originally from Sweden and now based in Spain, her film “Handcuffs will be screened in the international short film competition at the Castro Theatre on September 23rd (for more details and tickets, visit www.gv-ixff.org). Erika’s lush and intensely sexy film is a visual treat.
Erika is a filmmaker, journalist, and founder of Lust Films of Barcelona. Five Hot Stories for Her won Best Movie of the Year at the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto and Barcelona Sex Project, an experimental independent documentary, won Best Erotic Documentary at the E-Line Awards in Berlin. She is also the author of Good Porn “ A Woman’s Guide and The Erotic Bible To Europe.
What do you hope audiences will get from your work?
This movie is about dominance and submission, about something I decided to work on because I had the impression that those practices might still be kind of a taboo for most women. I wanted to make it understandable, approachable for people who might be curious, but still are not quite sure what it is about. So I made the film “Handcuffs and together with the fetish artist Venus O’Hara the film and book “Love me like you hate me to create a whole female approach. So maybe the viewers can be a little like my heroine in the movie, be curious about something that could be beyond their own imagination or experience.
Who are your stars, and how did you meet them/invite them to participate?
I live and work in Barcelona, and the city is kind of the capital of audiovisual production as well as it is the porn capital of Spain. So I know the people being active in adult entertainment, and if I think a role could fit somebody I invite her or him to a casting. But as well there’s people that want to perform in our films that contact us. Basically it’s like in any other film production.
Were there any funny or unexpected moments while filming?
Well, as you can imagine we are regularly contacted by amateur performers who would like to star in our films. Time after time we give the one or the other the chance to do so, if the role fits, if the actor or the actress is interesting in any kind of way and if it’s just that they look normal, like the guy next door for example (we usually look for actresses or actors that do not look like usual porn actors, I guess you have an image), and of course: if we think that they are capable to perform sex on a film set. Now we don’t do that kind of casting one can see on YouPorn where a guy with a camcorder orders the people to immediately do this or that. We treat our cast and staff with respect. So we try to figure out the capability of people to perform sex on set in a conversation making sure people understand what they go for. As maybe everybody heard guys say that they would have no problem having sex on set, we’ve had guys insuring us that it’s absolutely no deal for them, who simply fail on set when the camera’s running and a bunch of people (a whole film crew) is around.
What is your favorite sex toy to use in a film?
Well, recently I used a lot of fetish toys because I was working on BDSM, making two movies and writing a book, as I said before. But not because that’s my favorite. I can’t say I had a favorite sex toy. I like to use toys that fit to the scene, the character or the plot, or simply something I find interesting or special, or in any other way worth using them in my films, and that could basically be anything, because not the purpose of an object makes it as a toy (like a commercial good that is meant to give pleasure), but anything you play with, anything that serves your lust. So it could be something fitting to the topic like a whip fits the topic of BDSM, or be an innovative product, like Tuyo’s B3 that I used in “Barcelona Sex Project, which is a vibrator in the shape of a ball and contrary to other vibrators doesn’t focus on the vagina (just think of the common phallus shape), but on the clitoris. But the same film shows other examples, like having a designer bed which supports special practice, like the “Jailhousefuck Bed, which by the way has its own erotic film just inspired by the bed. Or like a girl who masturbates to her favorite song, which kind of makes the Ipod a sex toy. Anything can be a sex toy (or a sexy toy) with a little fantasy and a foxy attitude.
What advice would you give to first-time erotic filmmakers, or filmmakers in general?
I would give the advice to try to go for new ideas, to find something new or special, but I don’t want to give any advice on what to show or how to depict it. I believe that there’s a diversity of desires, and therefore there should be a diversity of erotic films. I appreciate any attempt that go beyond the mainstream ideas. So the only advice I would give would be about how to manage to survive in the industry being an independent filmmaker. How to manage to finance a production, how to reach an audience, how to cope with the establishment of the mainstream industry that doesn’t really welcome you if you’re an alternative pornographer, especially if you’re a woman.
How does the film you submitted reflect your views on sex, and was there anything you learned in the process of making the film?
Of course it reflects a lot of my views on sex. But I have to say that this does not mean that it reflects my personal sex life, it’s a film, it’s fictional, and this one is even an experimental film. Just to point that out, because often people like to fantasize about the insatiable sex drive a pornographer must have drawing conclusions from their films, or simply from the point that a person works with something connected to sex. So it says nothing about my personal sex life, but as it is my work, a movie I have written and directed, it shows clearly certain attitudes I have about sex, ideas I have on certain topics around sex, and the way I want to present sex.
My films in general will show you a female view, especially in this one it’s quite obvious as the main character is curious about a couple that enters the bar and asks herself why the woman of the couple is handcuffed. She’s curious about what that’s supposed to mean, so she follows them, observes them. To look is to discover, and this clearly shows my attitude on porn as something for women, I want women to look and to discover their own sexuality and desire, how ever it may be constituted. I sent her on a journey to discover role plays of dominance and submission. As I said before I wanted to create a female approach to this topic for women who never dared to ask but might be curious about.
What projects are you working on now/next?
There’s two upcoming books with “Love me like you hate me, an introduction to fetish and BDSM, that I already mentioned before, written together with Venus O’Hara, and the “Erotic Bible to Europe, a guide through the old continent to show the most exciting sexy places in Europe, from kinky to chic, which has it’s own online community, so people submit their favorite places, comment it, rate it. It’s growing. Further, this year there will be the release of the short film “Love Hotel, which is the sequel of “Handcuffs. And in 2011 there will be another upcoming film, but I still don’t want to reveal to much about it.