The PorYes Feminist Porn Awards Europe 2017

 

Earlier in the year I was informed that I was a nominee in the 2017 PorYes European Feminist Porn Awards and it was the big motivation for returning to Berlin this year. It was an honour to be part of the event and I’m really glad I went.

PorYes has been a bi-annual event since 2009; it’s first award recipients included Candida Royalle, Petra Joy, Maria Beatty and Shine Louise Houston. I attended the event in 2015 and was invited on stage to give the award to Jiz Lee. This time around, it was my turn to get the crystal Oyster trophy.

PorYes is run by a women’s network “Freudenfluss”, which supports “holistic and manifold lust and love styles”. It’s supported by Dr. Laura Meritt’s sex shop Sexclusivitaten and this year one of the sponsors was Pink Label. Laura conducts weekly Salon events at her apartment where women are invited to discuss sexuality and watch porn. The PorYes event ran over four days and included a meet and greet on Friday, the awards on the 21st October and panel sessions at Urania and Humboldt University on the 22nd and 23rd.

Winners of the 2017 PorYes awards are:
Sky Deep, filmmaker, Enactone
Dorrie Lane, filmmaker, Masturbation Memoirs
Chanelle Gallant, sex work advocate & founder of the Canadian Feminist Porn Awards
Maria Llopis, filmmaker and workshops, Girls Who Like Porno
Ms. Naughty, filmmaker and webmistress, BrightDesire.com
Bishop Black, performer

On the awards night we were all sat up the front as the ceremony played out. It consisted of an intro, video clips being played and then each recipient coming up on stage and speaking about their work a little. I was fairly nervous but it was also so nice to be there with a big audience and all my fellow nominees.

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Before I went on stage they played a huge number of my films, which was a little embarrassing but it was also nice to hear the audience reaction – Trinity caused a lot of cheering and applause which was great. I think I did OK with the public speaking; I’m getting more confident with microphones now.

I really enjoyed two of the videos by other nominees. One, from Dorrie Lane’s Masturbation Memoirs, featured a woman masturbating in a French “Lolita” fantasy – while a live accordionist played along. He even enhanced the moment before orgasm by playing a long, drawn-out, note of suspense. It made me laugh so much. Imagine: live music during a porn scene! Dorrie said they’d had to cut bits from the scene because it implied underage sex – even though it was exactly how the performer had wanted to be shown.

Me on stage with the Oyster Award.
Pic by Sally B. from Sieggessaule.de

The other video was Maria Llopis’ La Bestia.  In it, Maria flounces around a garden before stripping nude and… getting rather beastly. Look, just watch it, it’s hilarious. And it’s a great upending of expectations of femininity and what we consider to be “sexy”.

It became a long-running joke of the festival when host Janina Rook said Bishop Black had appeared in a variety of films: “Straight, gay, queer, cake.” (This was after a screening of Having My Cake by Morgana Muses.) Bishop said “Thank you for describing cake as a sexuality.” At numerous dinners afterwards we giggled about exploring our various cake sexualities, experimenting with crepes and ice cream… it was fun.

At the party afterwards I was awarded the Audience Choice Award. This was decided by attendees of Laura’s Salon who had watched various works and voted on what they liked best. Unfortunately the presentation didn’t go so well as the mikes didn’t work and it was at a nightclub where everyone just wanted to dance and fuck each other. Ah well.

I appeared on both official panels on the Sunday and Monday. The first was called “The Educational Mission Of Feminist Pornography” and the panelists were me, Dorrie, pioneering German female filmmaker Ula Stöckel and an academic whose name I unfortunately didn’t write down (sorry!). We talked a bit about the usual stuff: can porn be educational, is it harmful, how it can be made better etc.

The second panel was called “Consent and Diversity: Fair Porn”. It featured me, Bishop Black, Chanelle Gallant, Ula Stöckel and an academic who was a last minute replacement and whose name I also unfortunately didn’t write down (sorry!). With this one we discussed sex worker rights and how to ensure that porn is ethically made.

Both panels were a little frustrating to attend because they were conducted in both English and German. So people would say something and then a translation would have to occur. This drew out proceedings and didn’t really allow thoughts to flow easily; it felt like we barely got into the topics because time was too short. Still, I guess we got some good ideas across. I have video of the events but they’re fairly haphazard in what they capture due to the translation thing so I’m not so keen to edit or publish them.

The organisers had worked hard to get the panels into both Urania and the University. Germany seems like a liberated paradise to me but there’s still a lot of anti-sex conservatism in the country and thus they needed the presence of academics and Ula on the panels to “legitimize” the events. In any case, they were very well attended by a long of young people so there’s clearly an interest in the intellectual discussion of porn.

I was very glad to meet Ula Stöckel, who is considered to be the first German feminist filmmaker. Her 1968 film Nine Lives Has The Cat dealt with female sexual fantasies and women’s lives and her films were praised for offering diverse female perspectives. She has worked at the Berlinale and the Venice International Film Festival and naturally she knows a lot about filmmaking. She also told some great anecdotes and when introduced on stage at the awards she said “Fuck until your hips break!” She was very cool.

Overall I was glad to attend the PorYes weekend. The atmosphere is a little different to the PornFilmFestival; it’s more German and also has a stronger focus on female perspectives and experiences. We had some great times with fellow award winners and the organizers of the festival.

I’d like to thank Laura and PorYes for the award and for inviting me to participate.

Official photo by PorYes

Some German articles on PorYes

Und was guckst du so? – Zu Besuch beim PorYes-Award 2017

PORYES 2017 – WENN FEMINISMUS LUSTIG UND SEXY IST

Siegussaule gallery of photos

Was Frauen in Pornos wirklich sehen wollen

Porno, aber gut: Wie Feministinnen die Branche revolutionieren wollen

Berlino è femmina. PorYes Award: ha senso parlare di pornografia femminista?

 

 

 

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