STUDENT’S DOC TO SCREEN AT FEMINIST PORN AWARDS

In Arts & Life /

By Adriana Rolston

Joanne Loton would love to make her own porn. But for now, the Ryerson graduate student is filming the feminist directors behind the camera.

“These women are sex-rock revolutionaries. They’re sick and tired of the status quo and instead of complaining about it they picked up a camera and did something about it,” she said with a wide smile.

Loton’s unfinished documentary, Women Will Come, is part of her documentary media studies thesis project and a segment will be shown at Good For Her’s 2009 feminist porn screenings on Saturday, April 25.

The screening is part of the weekend’s fourth annual Feminist Porn Awards, which takes place on Friday, April 24.

Women Will Come focuses on four prominent feminist porn directors who are changing representations of women in porn by filming real bodies, real sex and real orgasms.

Authentic pleasure is one of the criterion that measures the eligibility of films able to win a feminist porn award. Women must also have control of production, direction and creative content in films while challenging conventional pornographic stereotypes in a sexy way.

Shine Louise Houston, a former sex shop owner featured in Loton’s film, boasts a 99 per cent authentic climax rate in her films. Considering that mainstream porn tends to highlight the typical male money shot, Loton feels setting a standard for female pleasure in feminist porn is very commendable.

“It’s not easy to represent [an orgasm] because unless you squirt, how do you tell? So a lot of it cinematically focuses on the reactions of the woman’s face or her body,” Loton said.

The screenings will also feature clips from nominated films, followed by a moderated panel discussion with the feminist directors (who will be awarded butt-plug-shaped trophies for their participation).

Alison Lee, organizer of the awards, asked Loton to speak on the panel because her documentary offers a different perspective.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a documentary film maker on the panel before and it’s always good to expand. The more diverse voices we can have, the better the discussion surrounding feminist porn will be,” Lee said.

Sexual identities tend to be realistic in feminist porn, instead of slapping together two women who don’t identify as queer to perform a cookie cutter girlon- girl scene. Loton has also witnessed a trend of less scripted scenes.

“It’s not asking the performers to stop and do doggy and do cow-girl and whatever. It’s like we’re putting in a tape and we’re following you, you’re the director of the action. You do exactly what you want on screen,” she said.

Returning to Ryerson after graduating from the radio and television arts program in 2001, Loton was able step back from the Canadian television industry. Back at school, she could dedicate herself to making an independent film she is passionate about.

“I’ve always been interested in women who defy stereotypes of gender roles,” Loton said. “That’s why I gravitated towards sex-positive feminism. We have autonomy over our own bodies and our minds.”

Through her research, Loton knows when a woman picks up a camera it doesn’t automatically make her product feminist.

In Loton’s documentary, Anna Span, the first female porn director in the U.K., discusses using the “female perspective” as a means of restructuring the power imbalances in porn. Span films an equal amount of female and male oriented camera shots.

A woman can then participate as the gazer instead of constantly being seen as an object, Span said.

The 47-minute full length version of her documentary will debut at Documentary Now, the master of fine arts graduating film festival on June 11.

When Loton returned to Canada from filming in L.A., she had to explain to a male border security employee that she had been abroad filming a documentary about feminist porn. He stared at her, confused.

“Feminists, what? I thought feminists were against that?” he asked.

“Not all of us are.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Well that’s why you need to watch my film.”


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