Checking in with Trans Performer/Director Chelsea Poe

All Kinds Of Sex Across the U.S.A.!

Trans performer Chelsea Poe's directorial debut just came out through Trouble Films. "Queer Porn Americana" contains scenes shot in Chicago, Grand Rapids, Las Vegas, and Brooklyn to give the viewer a pansexual state of the union of sorts with an all alt-queer rock soundtrack in the background. Poe will be directing two more movies for Trouble Films this year. She did a worldwide tour to promote the film and the tour is now over but you should definitely head over to Trouble Films to watch this movie. 

What inspired you to create Queer Porn Americana?

"I really wanted to make a film in my hometown and bring queer porn to places that aren't typically tied to porn. Ella Bryn and I were at a bar when they started to talk about ideas they had for wanting to make porn, so we just kind of tried to make it a reality. I really truly love making art in the midwest because it feels extremely pure and kind of away from all the bullshit that can often come with making porn in bigger markets. It was just 3 or 4 people on set, so I think it really created a different dynamic that you don't get with bigger cast/crews."

What do you think makes the porn America produces different than wha the rest of the country creates?

"I think getting out of the same 3 cities (Vegas, L.A. & The Bay) really allowed performers and everyone involved to put their energy into this project more as an art project. Everyone was putting their own finger prints on. I really wanted you to tell who these performers were from this project instead of it following one person's vision."

What inspired you to become a director?

"I have been doing directing on a DIY level since I started shooting stuff for cam sites and the way Trouble Films have shifted lately has given me the chance to direct. Being able to really come up with a vision and get so many amazing artists/performers to put their own spin on the film was something I really loved getting to do. Like, I wanted to Courtney Trouble to edit it so it looks like Courtney Trouble or I wanted Marina Lee to really come across as the most Marina Lee as possible. I really wanted to find a way to have everyone's finger prints on this project."

What is your favorite scene in "Queer Porn Americana"?

"My favorite scene is probably the Marina Lee and Kelly Quell scene. They both just gave me everything they had as performers and on set we all knew that was a magical scene from when the cameras started rolling. I feel extremely honored to capture that in this film because they are both truly special performers and the chemistry was pure fire."

How is working for Trouble Films on this?

"Trouble Films has really given me such a great platform to take creative risks without much inference, which is kind of all you can ask for from a company as a director. Trouble Films' early work really influenced me to pick up a camera in the first place so having the opportunity to put out a full length for me as a director is truly a dream come true, I think this film totally fits within the same genre as 'Roulette' by Trouble Films with some 2017 twists to it."

How is your "Queer Porn Americana" tour going?

"The tour is going great, I just actually got into London as I'm speaking to you. I think porn screenings should come back because I feel it brings life to these films much as the experience of going to a concert is a very different experience than listening to an album on your Macbook. Being able to actually see reactions to scenes live has totally given me a deeper insight on what this film really means to the audience - you start to learn what people actually want in their porn. That there's international audience for seeing your art is honestly a really touching thing that every director should get to experience."

What did you learn most from your experience making this movie?

"What I most learned from this film was that the experience on set is as important as what's on camera. After shooting a lot of mainstream trans porn in the last year, I learned what makes performers comfortable on set. I really wanted it to feel like everyone's project and wanted it to feel way looser on set than most porn sets, so I made playlists to try to capture what I was looking to capture in each scene and they were playing non-stop when the cameras weren't rolling. I think just having a well laid out food table, tons of safer sex options and music being on really changes the dynamics of what a porn set can be. Every scene in this film, everyone hung out after just naturally where it had more of a group art feeling rather than having it be a gig they are simply doing then moving on with their day. I listened to a lot of my favorite directors film panels like Sofia Coppola and how they tried to make on set experiences as a extension of their actors reality rather than 'acting' and tried to adopt that to a porn set."

What is the best mainstream movie you have seen recently?

"The best mainstream movie I've seen recently was 'Tickled.' It's the strangest documentary that loosely revolves around the world of fetish porn and exploitation of the male performers within it by a particular company. I really believe everyone needs to watch it, I literally texted all my partners, my family, and tweeted about it multiple times after watching it demanding everyone watch it."

How about the best porno movie? Is there someone whose movies you regularly check out?

"I often revisit a lot of the same porn that got me interested in porn in the first place. I absolutely love the mid-2000s to late 2000s alt porn scene with performers like Mandy Morbid, Kimberly Kane, Courtney Trouble, Joanna Angel, Sasha Grey, Stoya, and Belladonna. I recently had a chance to work with Sinn Sage who performed on 'Belladonna's Strapped Dykes,' which was such an important film for me as a 19-year-old baby dyke."

What else is coming up for you?

"Right now I'm finishing up my tour with screening here in London then going back to the states for a Chicago date at The Pleasure Chest then wrapping it up with a screening in Tokyo. Other than that I'm working on an all Femme movie in a format like I made 'The Submissive Mixtape' with Mona Wales, Sinn Sage, Eden Alexander, and Marina Lee. I am also close to wrapping up a public disgrace style film with Eden Alexander right after this tour is finished. I am also going to start directing more for Trouble Films on Queerporn.tv in the coming months."

If you could direct any celebrity in a porn scene, who would you chose?

"I have the biggest lesbian crush on Aubrey Plaza - also the deadpan mean femme types are totally my favorite, so for sure Aubrey Plaza."

What single piece of advice would you give a brand new trans porn performer?

"The biggest piece I would say is to start making content on your own, independent from any major company. I think the more control you personally have over your career the better, so a company can't just decide one day they are tired of shooting you. I also think the performer/producer model for making porn is the future of the industry and studios are slowly (or not so slowly) losing power and influence."


Is there anything you want to say to your fans here at Fleshbot?

"I just want to thank Fleshbot for everything they do to support art/alt porn and Fleshbot totally exposed me to porn that I would have never known of otherwise. I also want to everyone to check out 'Queer Porn Americana' and all the artists who made this film possible."

All of the images and video here appear courtesy of Trouble Films.

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Tagged in: trans lesbian, chelsea poe, trouble films, milcah halili, tiffany starr, courtney trouble, trans, crona valentine, ella bryn, parker reed

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