“Boys For Sale” at Porn Film Festival Berlin

Now, I consider myself a pretty open-minded guy, not easily shocked or embarrassed but even I was a little apprehensive about representing the film on Tokyo’s male sex workers I produced and DOP’d “Boys For Sale” at the 12th Porn Film Festival Berlin.
I needn’t have been.

Everybody I met was super friendly, staff, other filmmakers and audience alike.

The films that I saw were all eye opening, dealing with many facets of sexuality in a way that left me at times shocked, nauseous, surprised and yes, aroused, but always thinking and examining my attitudes and desires. Great stuff!

If anything I just felt a bit vanilla and boring (straight, white, cis gendered = very dull).
Nightly parties starting at midnight at a legendary cruising bar in Berlin with a “darkroom” ?, sorry, long past my bedtime!

 

“Boys For Sale” had 2 screenings both of which were nearly full, I did Q&A’s after both and the 2nd one went on for about 30 minutes. The film was very well received and the festival audience were particularly well informed and full of great insightful questions, it was a real pleasure.

12th Porn Film Festival Berlin audience watching Boys For Sale

I did manage to catch quite a few other films while I was there, below I’m going to mention a few of them, those of an easily shocked disposition may want to scroll to the bottom of the post to see my tourist photos without reading…..you’ve been warned :)

So I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and the first thing I went to was the Fetish Porn Shorts Programme :)
Standouts for me were:-

A Spanking Ode  by Tigrotto Animalesque – who doesn’t love a slow-motion arse wobbling after its slapped?, uncomfortableness level 0/10

Butchers Hook by Ben Berlin – Amazing location for this unnerving pain and knife play short, uncomfortableness level 4 or 5/10

Coupling by Werther Germondari and Maria Laura Spagnoli – Fun exploration involving leather dog masks, uncomfortableness level 0/10

Honeydew by Ursinae Vespera – Beautiful and very erotic, 2 women and a LOT of honey, uncomfortableness level 2/10 (first time I’ve watched anything this erotic with a lot of other people present hence the 2)

Soupeur de Tasse by Marc Martin – OMFG! 13 minutes that felt like an hour and a half, Piss and public toilets!!. Felt genuinely like I wanted to leave but didn’t. Actually interesting in that I was kind of amazed there was still stuff that would make me feel so uncomfortable. Not for the faint of heart, in fact probably only for Marc Martin. uncomfortableness level 11/10

Breakfast in Bed by Ethan Folk & Ty Wardwell – A novel way to serve buttered toast, or at least a novel way to warm the butter. Funny enough that…..uncomfortableness level 3/10

 

On the Friday was “Boys For Sale” first screening which as I said was very well attended and the Q&A moderated by Jochen Werner was great fun with some very interesting questions and I also managed to catch…..

Pornocracy by Ovidie – Former French porn actress turned director, journalist and doctoral researcher’s expose documentary on how the “porn tube” websites (pornhub etc) have destroyed traditional porn studios and looking at the somewhat shady Fabian Thylmann dubbed “The King Of Porn” and the likewise shady company that have bought up all the tube sites and are forcing a race to the bottom for performers and porn producers alike. Certainly very interesting and thought-provoking if perhaps a little heavy handed. Ovidie was lovely when I spoke to her though and I learnt a lot watching this. uncomfortableness level 1/10

Saturday was to be my tourist day (see below) but it was freezing, grey and raining so I managed to catch a couple of things before running off to meet former Tokyo resident and super scientist Brian Pauw, his lovely wife and hilarious child for an amazing burger and then good friend and colleague Eric Jason Hall for a home-cooked Thai dinner with his interviewer extraordinaire girlfriend Fumi (who have both worked on my next film Traces Of The Soul) washed down with lovely German beer :)

Strawberry Bubblegums by  Benjamin Teske – A  funny and beautifully shot comedy about a 17 year old who discovers her Mum was once a porn actress and she herself was conceived on a porn set so she sets off with ex-porn star Udo Oxcox to search for her father. Highly recommended. uncomfortableness level 0/10

Unfortunately due to lunch/dinner commitments I only managed to see 2 films in the BDSM Porn Shorts Programme :-

Devourable by Ms. Naughty with JanEva & Calliope – A wonderful look at a queer polyamorous couple, a film whose explicitness was far outshined by its joyfulness and vision of a couple so clearly in love. Truly heartwarming. uncomfortableness level 0/10

Arnilia Grove by Christophe Streule – Production values only bettered by the amazing closing film Pieles (see below) but a story that left me feeling very uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons. Hugely out of place at this festival and caused an outrage at the screening I went to with other members of the audience demanding to know why it was programmed at all. I’d met Christophe & Al (producer) around the venue and gotten on with them but having seen this I have to say I think Christophe would be better focusing his talents in a genre that he has direct experience of. The old adage “write what you know” never more apt. uncomfortableness level 9/10 and most definitely not in a good way or for the right reasons

I really meant to go to the Annual Porn Film Festival party on the Saturday night but like all parties in Berlin, it didn’t start till midnight, again way past my bedtime. I thought I’d be clever and head back to the hotel for an hours sleep before heading there, of course, I woke up at 6am having missed everything. And if the looks on the faces and the stories I heard on Sunday were anything to go by…..phew…..sounded like quite a party! I’m a mixture of relieved and annoyed about missing it, maybe next year :)

Sunday was “Boys For Sale” 2nd screening at the festival and it was again well attended, the Q&A went on so long we were asked to leave to make room for the next screening, moderator Kiki told me after it was the best Q&A she’d  done at the festival ever which was great to hear :) It was also great to meet a long time twitter acquaintance @stofiska who kindly attended.

I also saw:-

Bleed me Tender by Nico Bertrand & Lo Liddell – A 32 minute short about blood play that felt a little too long and had an odd choice of music but which affected me almost as much as Souper de Tasse, albeit for different reasons. Uncomfortable and erotic in equal measures, several people got up and left I’m guessing because it was a hard watch but ultimately was an insight into a world I have never seen. Pretty amazing all told. uncomfortableness level 8/10

Sexual Labyrinth by Morgana Mayer – I really wanted to like this as I’d seen Morgana walking around the festival looking amazing, naked but for a wide mesh fishnet body stocking and a nun’s headdress and met Lucio Massa who was (I think) one of the producers and was really friendly but it was alas a disappointment. The cinematography and lighting could have been so much better as could a lot of the acting and the various explicit sex acts left me pretty cold, apart from one standout moment involving a crucifix. uncomfortableness level 2/10

The closing film of the festival Pieles by Eduardo Casanova was, in contrast, an unmitigated triumph. A girl with an anus for a mouth? An eyeless young prostitute that wears pink diamonds in place of her missing eyes? Spectacularly shot and directed with an attention to detail in the colour pallet and shot selection that left me spellbound from start to finish. Beautiful, weird and thought-provoking for all the right reasons. Brilliant. uncomfortableness level 1/10

 

A truly interesting festival that I would recommend to anyone, but be warned – leave your inhibitions and judgements at home or expect to have them unceremoniously ripped away.

Once again a huge thank you to all the festival staff, The Moviemento staff (the oldest cinema in Germnay I heard), the other filmmakers and all those who attended.

 

A post shared by Uchujin (@uchujinfilms) on


And so finally some photos from the trip.
Obvious tourist in Berlin stuff, stickers and graffiti and a couple of 360 photos for your delectation…..

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