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When Gene Graham first sought distribution for his documentary film, This One’s for the Ladies, he had a great deal of difficulty finding support among mainstream male film execs–many of whom disliked the concept of a documentary about male strippers and the women who flock to see them.
“I assured them that this film had nothing to appeal to straight males,” he said. “When it comes to This One’s for the Ladies, the title says it all.”
Luckily, this very special doc–which follows a group of strong-willed, fun-loving Black women who frequent and find their spirit at male exotic dance revues–found its audience; winning a special cast prize at the South by Southwest film festival and garnering rave reviews from everyone from Rolling Stone to the Los Angeles Times. The film is available for viewing on Hulu and AppleTV. And Aug. 27, This One’s for the Ladies will close as the official selection of the San Francisco Porn Film Festival.
“It feels amazing to see our documentary as the closing selection at the festival,” Graham said. “Shine (Louise Houston, feminist adult filmmaker and festival organizer) and I have a special bond. She believes in us; a festival is a safe place for people to explore their sexuality through film.”
Similar sexual safe places are explored in the frames of This One’s for the Ladies, which displays vivid, sensually explicit but respectfully conveyed footage of women fulfilling their fantasies through sensual dances with hot male dancers.
“While movies like Magic Mike tell the stories of the dancers, this film looks at the whole scene from a woman’s perspective,” Graham said. “The male strip show allows them to have a good time and explore their sexuality in a safe place.”
And as featured ladies reveal their passionate attraction for dancers with names like Satan and Blaze, they also revealed a shocking truth about women who attend male revues. They’re pretty much like other women!
“These are just like the women you work with or go to church with,” explained Graham. “They work all day; they care for their kids, just like other women.”
And the male dancers, similarly, are depicted as people making a living, supporting their families, and funding their futures.
Furthermore, not all of the dancers portrayed in This One’s for the Ladies are male in persuasion. The lesbian dancer Blaze is profiled as well.
“When Blaze came onstage, the ladies who weren’t into it could go to the bar and come back for the guys,” said Graham. “But a lot of the ladies were into it.”
When Graham speaks of This One’s for the Ladies, his tones emanate with warm respect for his female subjects–and one look at the movie’s Facebook page displays numerous posts in support of women’s issues, along with a look at Graham’s newest, woman-centered film, Jac on the Come Up. This is a director strongly devoted to the telling of women’s stories.
“We all have ways of expressing our sexuality,” he said. “And now more than ever, women must have control of their bodies and sexual expression.”
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This attitude falls nicely in line with the mission of the 2022 San Francisco Porn Film Festival, “a hybrid virtual-theatrical celebration of sexual cinema” hosted by Pink and White Productions (Founded by Shine Louise Houston in 2005, Pink and White Productions creates adult entertainment that exposes the complexities of queer sexual desire and dedicated to producing sexy and exciting images that reflect today’s blurred gender lines and fluid sexualities.), and set to be screened in-person at Brava Theater, California, and virtually on PinkLabel.tv (SFPFF.pinklabel.tv) August 24-27.
“The San Francisco Porn Film Festival seeks to showcase the creativity and craft of adult-oriented films from the Bay Area and beyond,” read an event description. “Inspired by numerous adult film events, we want to specifically thank the Berlin Porn Film Festival for its namesake and guidance in forming this new American landmark festival. We embark on this journey to celebrate San Francisco’s vibrant legacy of sex-positive film artists.”
A collection of more than 70 titles that explore various topics of sexuality in a myriad of genres, this sparkling selection of erotic and adult films of various lengths will be screened alongside shorts and live filmmaker chats.
The festivities commence online Wednesday, Aug. 24, when the FORE/PLAY program kicks off with a 24-hour offering of specially selected films on-demand. Of particular interest to women will be “Submission Possible: San Francisco,” in which erotic artist Madison Young reunites a community of “sexual luminaries, misfits, artists, kinksters, and activists” such as Annie Sprinkle, Elizabeth Stephens, Midori, and Cleo DuBois, East Bay Brats 4 by TroubleFilms and Filthy FemDom’s Club Cuck.
Thursday, August 25th, artists will come together at 11 am Pacific, streaming online from across the seas in a filmmaker chat through the MEET/GREET feature. Later that evening, at 7pm, Fred Halsted’s 1974 L.A. Plays Itself will kick off the Online Opening Film Showcase. The film is preceded by the early 2000s lesbian erotic classic Hey Sailor, Hey Sister, with producers sharing a live Q&A with Festival Director and Queer Filmmaker Shine Louise Houston.
On Friday, August 26th, the festival goes hybrid–with a pair of sexy shorts broadcasting live from the Brava Theater. REEL/SEX screens shorts with a documentary flavor will be screened at 4:30 pm., with Mostly Pics House director and star Vanniall in attendance. Then at7:30 pm that evening, SEX/SCENE continues–of particular interest to the ladies will be L’Ingrediente Principale by Isis Tatiana Hockenos and Haley Myer, Transform by Domina Mara and Eternal Flame by the duo BeyonDeep. A filmmaker Q&A will follow live on stage.
Festival programming culminates Saturday, August 27, with FUCKING/FUN at 4:30 pm, presenting comedic and clever shorts. This One’s For the Ladies screens as the festival’s Closing Night Film at 7 pm. Neighborhood night scene favorite Pop’s Bar serves as the festival’s in-person mixer both evenings, with a closing night AFTER/PARTY planned for Saturday after the final show. Following the festival, RE/PLAY will offer festival programs and recorded Q&As on-demand through September 10th.
For more about this signature event, ScandalousWomen scored an exclusive interview with Jiz Lee, an industry legend and the event’s marketing director.
1. I’m so psyched about the San Francisco Porn Film Festival! Please tell our readers a bit about the history of this amazing event, which is, in my opinion, the most inclusive and quality-centered adult film festival in existence.
That’s quite the compliment! We owe much of this credit to the Porn Film Festival Berlin. It was attending that show which inspired Director Shine Louise Houston to create PinkLabel.TV in 2012 as an online platform to present the kinds of films she saw at the festival and to eventually create a San Francisco version of the event. Shine shoulder-taps and curates the programs and holds a lot of respect for film and artists, as one herself.
The San Francisco Porn Film Festival launched in 2020, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first public porn screening in the United States — the San Francisco Erotic Film Festival in 1970. However, due to COVID-19, we decided to take the premiere completely virtual. By 2021, vaccines had become available, and venues were reopening so our 2nd festival edition offered a hybrid festival with screenings broadcast live from the Brava Theater. It was fantastic to be together in person, and having an online broadcast of the festival allowed greater accessibility for audiences across the globe. This year’s fest will keep the hybrid model and continue to adhere to COVID safety guidelines.
2. Tell me a bit about your selection process for the festival.
We’ve seen a lot of incredible films, thanks to our network of film festivals and through hosting adult filmmakers on PinkLabel.TV. Besides shoulder-tapping through our connections, we also announce a call for submissions through PinkLabel.TV’s filmmaker newsletter and our company’s social media accounts. Each year we receive more submissions than we could possibly present, so Festival Director Shine Louise Houston reviews the collection with her team and creates the year’s new programs. Rather than separate films by categories like straight, gay, lesbian, etc…, we group them into short programs by loose subgenres such as documentaries, narratives, and experimental, and then select opening and closing night feature films.
3. Your selection this year for the festival, This One’s for the Ladies, is a fantastic celebration of women’s sexuality that concerns the appeal of male strip clubs. What inspired the festival to award the top prize?
Festival Director Shine Louise Houston is a big fan of the film, and also played a unique role in its production. A few years ago, This One’s for the Ladies director Gene Graham ran a fundraiser to help cover the expenses of post-production audio. Shine donated as one of the campaign’s major backers. Now that we’re in a position to present the film, selecting it as a feature film was an obvious choice. We hope more people will see the film and celebrate with us on the festival’s closing night.
4. I was very impressed by the festival schedule. What are some of your favorite selections this year?
All the films are favorites! It’s an impossible position to name just one.
5. I’ve also noticed that the festival schedule features some classics of queer cinema, including one of my favorite shorts, Hey Sailor, Hey Sister. How do you determine the balance of older versus newer titles to show?
We’re fans of the classics! Shine’s own work takes inspiration from in 70’s cinema, and as queer film presenters we’re interested in honoring LGBTQ history. Representation and preservation is important to us. Classic titles are a focus on PinkLabel.TV and to be able to present older titles at the San Francisco Porn Film Festival is special, especially when the creators are here to share their experiences. Last year we had the great honor of presenting Arthur J. Bressan Jr. ‘s 1974 classic Forbidden Letters with star Robert Adams interviewed on stage by queer film historian Jenni Olson. We also welcomed guest visitor Nan Kinney to present her 1993 classic lesbian erotica Safe Is Desire and talk about the film’s educational effort to convey the necessity of sexual health to queer women during the AIDS crisis. And we’ve screened Radley Metzger’s 1974 bisexual comedy SCORE, where our Festival Director Shine Louise Houston had the pleasure of chatting with the film’s star, Lynn Lowry.
This year’s classics are presented in the opening feature film Fred Halsted’s 1974 L.A. Plays Itself. Hey Sailor, Hey Sister opens the evening and its creators will be live in our broadcast studio with Shine to chat about the film. Also, while not a classic itself, the documentary Raw! Uncut! Video! chronicles the rise and fall of homegrown gay porn studio, Palm Drive Video, and is part of an online collection of films to kick-off the festival’s first day.
6. Is there any type of content that you won’t show at the festival?
We showcase films that depict people or desires typically under-represented in commercial pornography. Many porn viewers might not be aware that adult platform payment processors place restrictions on adult media, which often censors sexual content. By presenting this festival, we are able to include films about menstruation, queer sexuality, extreme kink, and other subject matter often considered taboo. We review films with cultural sensitivity in mind, and hope to present audiences with movies that challenge conventional notions of what ‘porn’ or ‘sex’ looks like, to celebrate films that expand the landscape of sexual cinema.
7. Please tell my readers how they can participate in the festival, live or online!
We want you to watch with us! If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, get ready for two days of action-packed programs at the Brava Theater. If you’re outside the Bay, you can tune in on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone device. We kick off the festival with a special selection of films available on-demand, and stream all the programs and filmmaker talks virtually on our website. We hope you’ll join us! Follow along on social media @SF_PFF on Twitter or Instagram. Grab a ticket here.
Visit these links for more information:
The 2022 San Francisco PornFilmFestival is presented by PinkLabel.TV and was made possible thanks to the financial support of Premier Sponsors AdultTime, ArtHouse Vienna, Good Vibrations, Zaawaadi, and over 100 backers. For the full list of official selections, click here and subscribe to the event’s official newsletter here. Follow the fest on Twitter and Instagram; direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.