Austin is a city of unexpected priorities -- indifferent to the perpetually igniting Holly Electrical Plant, but intolerant of an ordinance prohibiting Mardi Gras breast-flashing. So, in a city unsure of which fires to put out, a city at times teeming with sexuality, women wonder "what's in it for us?"
Enter Pink Nite, a naughty film festival originated by University of Texas graduate students Maggie Carey and Elena Carr. Fed up with mainstream pornography's mechanical portrayal of women's sexuality, Carey and Carr created Ladyporn, last year's winner of SXSW's Audience Award for Midnight Films. Part documentary, part narrative, Ladyporn will be reshown with shorts "Ladies Nite" (a doc about New York City male strippers) and "Dance Club," a spoof of its namesake, Fight Club.
Carey and Carr, who stirred as much controversy as arousal, are pleased with their brand of pornography and the opportunity to re-debut a humorous depiction of female sexual fantasy, derived from the consensus of hundreds of "woman-on-the street" interviews in Austin.
Oh, and guys, sorry, but they eliminated the "money shot" entirely.
"Most women were not interested in anal sex or the degrading cum shot," says Carr. "Porn has a loose narrative, and this makes it hard to show when the woman is finishing [the sex act]."
Carey adds, "The money shot is demeaning toward women. He is finished, and it doesn't matter what happens to her. It has such relevance in male porn because it is the visualization of the orgasmic climax -- women don't have that."
On patrolling Austin for input, "Women were out for fun [on Sixth Street], with their groups of friends, so they could easily talk about pornography and sex," says Carr. "They were probably not as honest as they would be in an intimate setting. If your friends are around you, you may not open up about your deepest secrets about sex."
Unfettered, admitting this is only a sample of how women want their porn, Carey and Carr have been well-received nationally.
"The women who made 'Ladies Nite' contacted us wanting to share ideas," says Carr, "And in New Orleans we were on a panel for independent filmmakers. That was great. You kind of know what cities will like Ladyporn. Seattle just invited us, but some guys from the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee saw it, and after getting rejected by higher-ups many times ... finally wedged us into a special screening on May 11, sponsored by the Free Speech Coalition, Culture Under Fire event."
Kansas City was not an isolated example of hesitance, says Carr.
"The university's reaction was unpleasant and distressing to me. They didn't come and see it," says Carr. "Not surprisingly, we did receive support from some female professors."
When asked if the school's reaction looms over future projects, Carey and Carr agree, "It's in the back of our mind, but not really affecting us too much."
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