Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Annie Sprinkle on Reuniting with Golden Era Porn Legends for CineKink’s “A Tribute to Club 90″

It’s splendidly ironic that the birth of Club 90 — “the world’s first porn star support group” — occurred in 1983 at a baby shower, the ultimate celebration of sex positivity. Porn actress Veronica Hart (who may be familiar to viewers of Six Feet Under and Boogie Nights, and is still with her high school sweetheart today) was due, porn star-turned-sexologist/performance artist Annie Sprinkle volunteered her apartment at 90 Lexington, the women of NYC’s adult industry showed up, and the rest, as they say, is kink history.

At the urging of the late Gloria Leonard (a feminist porn star who would go on to, as the publisher of High Society, pioneer the “celebrity skin” sub-genre) and along with female-centric porn director Candida Royalle and Veronica Vera (who, in 1992, would launch Miss Vera’s Finishing School, the world’s first cross-dressing academy), these adult actresses began to meet regularly to offer each other emotional support, share contacts and strategize ways of producing, directing and distributing their own work. In other words, once this trailblazing five-some joined forces, the sex industry would never be the same.

Filmmaker was fortunate enough to speak with one of the legends, Annie Sprinkle, prior to “A Tribute to Club 90,” the February 27th centerpiece event of the 12th Annual CineKink NYC (running from February 24th-March 1st). To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 Film Alternatives to “50 Shades of Grey”

Now that all the hoopla surrounding the film adaptation of E.L. James’ BDSM book for ladies who lunch has died down (or rather tanked if you read the Rotten Tomatoes reviews) let’s get down and dirty real. Long before there were “50 Shades” teddy bears and “50 Shades” cookbooks (“50 Shades of Kale”? WTF?) there were movies that actually dealt with the subject of sadomasochism from a non-“Twilight” perspective. So as a longtime film critic and the author of “Under My Master’s Wings” – an erotic memoir about my time spent as the personal slave to a gay for pay stripper – I feel it’s my duty to offer five cinematic suggestions that go beyond bondage bears and kinky kale.

To find out my five visit Global Comment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Miami 2.0: Transmedia at FilmGate Interactive

Part conference, part festival – and packed with live events, workshops, parties, and even a “Tech Playground” – FilmGate Interactive uniquely combines cutting edge storytelling with a laidback Miami Beach vibe. I must admit, after reading my colleague Randy Astle’s fascinating interview with FilmGate Interactive founder and executive director Diliana Alexander, my mind’s bar was set high for this young transmedia fest, but this three-year-old event still managed to exceed my expectations and then some.

To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

“It’s Too Important to be Tucked Away for Another 30 Years”: Don Argott on Kickstarting Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

Don Argott’s interests are eclectic, to say the least. Just in the past five years the Philly-based documentarian has followed the downward spiraling of rock stars, explored a nuclear-reactor community and, most recently, launched a Kickstarter campaign for his latest project Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time. The in-production doc is co-directed by Curb Your Enthusiasm co-creator Bob Weide and is about his decades-long attempt to make his own film about the iconic author, who in the process became a close friend. Argott spoke with Filmmaker about meeting Weide at an overseas film festival, going the indie financing route, and how getting close to a subject can sometimes get in the way of actually finishing the film.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Online Hoax: Director Sophie Deraspe Discusses The Amina Profile

Girl meets girl online. They fall in love from afar — Sandra in Montreal, Amina in Syria. The Arab uprising occurs and soon Amina, star blogger and creator of “A Gay Girl in Damascus” gets swept up in the chaos, then kidnapped, and then disappears. Her frantic paramour goes on a global quest to find her — only to discover that the game-changing World Wide Web is also a web of intrigue and deceit.

Fortunately, Sophie Deraspe’s doc The Amina Profile is more than the sum of this now infamous hoax. By smartly training her lens on the unwitting victim and delving into the fallout, Deraspe deftly shifts the focus from (and thus avoids cheaply glorifying) the usual headline-grabbing suspect. Filmmaker spoke with this thoughtful Canadian director prior to the film’s Sundance premiere in the World Documentary Competition.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

“Reality is Not, I Believe, a Fixed Entity…”: Michael Madsen on Alien Encounter Doc, The Visit

As a conceptual artist Michael Madsen doesn’t so much create nonfiction films as craft mind-blowing experiences, introducing even the most jaded of us docu-philes to people and places we’d no idea even existed. (Prior to IDFA 2010 I, for one, never knew about Finland’s nuclear waste storage facility Onkalo, the subject of Madsen’s Into Eternity and an underground cavern the size of a large city set for completion in the 22nd century.) In his latest The Visit the Danish director turns his attention and limitless imagination towards mankind’s first encounter with alien intelligent life. With the help of expert guides — an international array that includes military men, theologians, government spokesmen, and even scientists from the United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs (yup, who knew?) — he takes us step by step through a hypothetical scenario both exhilarating and deeply humbling. Filmmaker was fortunate enough to speak with the philosophical polymath prior to the film’s U.S. premiere in Park City on Sunday, January 25 at the Prospector Theater.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.