I’m off to Toronto for the Feminist Porn Awards, presented by Canadian feminist sex toy store Good For Her. I’ve made the trip each year to celebrate the accomplishments of my peers and network with folks who are making and marketing alternative visions of sex.
This year I’m involved in eleven nominations, including Shine Louise Houston’s CrashPadSeries.com and my own website JizLee.com where I hold my “Karma Pervs” philanthropic erotic art project. Want to see the whole list? Check out my post or visit Good For Her’s 2012 Nominations.
While the parties and good cheer may just seem like a fun time – and they are – the awards are valuable in that they bring a growing media attention to pornography that is specifically reaching diverse consumers. It’s a step towards opening new audiences to the idea of porn and sex-positivity, and encourages the work of new pornographers, especially those outside the conventional mainstream spotlight.
I interviewed Good For Her’s Marketing & Events Coordinator Carla Henderson to see what this year has in store for recognizing porn from a feminist perspective:
Jiz Lee: Have you seen the industry change over the years since starting the awards ceremony? Have the awards themselves changed over the years to accommodate the change?
Carla Henderson: The quality, quantity and diversity have all improved. The filmmaking quality continues to get better and better, the amount of films that are submitted and variety of directors has increased, and the diversity of movies in terms of who is represented and who is directing has grown.
The popularity of the show has also grown such that we have had to move to a bigger venue and the event has become more of a gala with more glitter, more stars and more fanfare every year. It also began as a one night affair — with a panel discussion and awards on the same night. It became too long to hold all in one evening and so we broke it into two — a night of films with a panel of directors/stars and a subsequent night of awards. There is often another night as well; this year Buck Angel is featured with his latest films, a talk and Q&A. One of our partners, ASLAN Leather, has created a post-FPA porn party — after everyone is all revved up, it is a party to celebrate and play.
What rewards and challenges have Good For Her and the ceremony planners encountered in the years creating the event?
It has been a rewarding experience seeing that filmmakers and stars value their nominations and awards, and to see that others are acknowledging it as an endorsement of quality. It has been fabulous to see the events grow in popularity and recognition. Of course both a reward, and a challenge, is to keep the show interesting and fun each year. It has been a challenge to grow and maintain a quality event that is still affordable. We could not do it without our sponsors: Hot Movies for Her, LELO, The Everything To Do With Sex Show, ASLAN Leather and more!
It’s been an ongoing challenge is to combat the assumptions that feminist porn must be either lesbian and/or soft, sweet romance or else it’s not feminist! But we hope that our wide range of nominees will continue to help dispel those beliefs.
What are some of the proudest moments?
Some of the proudest moments are watching the room fill with people and realize that we are not doing all of this work for nothing or no-one. A proud moment is every time we grow — to a two-night affair, to a larger more prestigious venue, and of course we feel proud every year at the end when we see that we accomplished putting on another successful event for hundreds of people.
What are some of the wackiest or unexpected moments?
The 2007 Awards coincided with Good For Her’s 10th anniversary. To celebrate this momentous occasion, CoCo La Creme (our current co-director) jumped out of a custom-built cake. That was a lot of fun. There was also the year we brought Morty Diamond — director of Trans Entities — as a panelist and the whole staff just fell in love with him. We never have the same taste and yet somehow we were all completely enamored!
What’s in store for this year’s events?
This year the Feminist Porn Awards are bigger and better than ever, with five days of scheduled events. Wednesday is Buck Angel’s “Sexing the Transman” presentation. Thursday is our Public Provocative Porn screening with our panel of invited directors, including Erika Lust and Nenna Joiner. Friday is our celebrated gala presentation. And then we finish off with “Making your Open Relationships Work”, a class by Tristan Taormino on Saturday, and a “Dirty Talking” class with Tina Horn on Sunday.
That’s a whole lot of excitement! I’d say “wish me luck”, but winning’s not really the point when it comes to these kinds of events; for me it’s more about the encouragement and community and being introduced to sexy new projects.
Watch the award ceremony online with GirlzPorn.com as they live-stream the show, and follow along on Twitter with hashtag #FPA2012. And while you’re waiting for the festivities, check out these photos from last year’s awards!
[This post is a part of Fleshbot's Jiz Lee Week.]