Friday, March 26, 2010

FemProfile: Petra Joy

With films that offer both stunning visuals and tender, sensual lovemaking, Petra Joy is a groundbreaking feminist adult filmmaker; one who is both the recipient of a Feminist Porn Award and the organizer of her own awards program, the Petra Joy Awards, which acknowledges the achievements of female filmmakers in the adult genre. The latest work by this European director, “Feeling It Not Faking It,” is available stateside through Candida Royalle’s Femme Productions (; for more information about this and her other sumptuous titles, visit FemPower’s Megan Hussey welcomes Petra Joy as the subject of our first FemProfile!

1. Petra, I loved your films Feeling It, Not Faking It, and Female Fantasies. What specific elements do you feel sets your films apart from other adult tiles?

Most porn is made by men for men. My films are based on my own and other women’s fantasies, which tend to be very different from straight male fantasies. If I shoot a threesome, I show two guys going down on a woman rather than two girls giving the guy head. If I show solo masturbation, a hot guy does it, rather than a girl with a toy. I focus on female pleasure and men as sex objects. I am part of a revolution of showing sex from a female perspective and creating a pin-up culture for women—because women are voyeurs, too.
My performers are amateurs rather than professional porn stars, so the chemistry and intimacy you see on film is real. I like to shoot with women and men who are individuals and have bodies of various shapes and sizes and have not been surgically enhanced.
I spend a lot of time and money on my shoots and post-production as I enjoy blurring the boundaries between art and porn. My films are not a product for me that I produce with the maximum profit in mind but they are my artistic medium with a message. It is more important to me to have made these films, even if they do not make a profit - rather than not expressing what I believe in due to the fear of losing money.

2. One of the things I really admire about you is that, like myself, you're not afraid to use the 'f' word: feminist. How do you think feminist porn differs from more standard porn?

In the 1980s, I was a student, doing a degree at film studies. The anti-porn movement kicked off, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, instead of just jumping on the bandwagon. So I rented around 50 porn films so I could analyse their content and make up my own mind. All of the films I saw were misogynist and violent (with words or actions) towards women. The films left me with a bad taste. I was angry to see women being humiliated and hurt (one film featured the ripping of a woman's nipple with barb wire) and decided I was against this kind of porn. At the time it was important for me to say “No” and draw a boundary.
But with time I began to wonder: Why should we leave the production of erotic and pornographic images solely in male hands? Why should women not create and enjoy films that express their sexual desires and inspire and arouse them? This limits us and excludes us from expressing our fantasies on film and exploring our sexuality. I now enjoy saying “Yes.” I create alternatives porn films that focus on female pleasure, feature strong women, male ‘sex objects’, a realistic depiction of male and female sexuality and a variety of body types and promote safe sex. These elements make my films “feminist” to me because I hope that they will help to question existing (sexual) role patterns and empower the viewers to explore and be creative in their love-making – beyond the gender stereotypes that limit us. My mission is to become a mentor for budding female filmmakers because it is important that more and more of us get behind the camera to make our visions of sexuality seen and heard.

3. Who are some of your role models in the adult genre?

There are not “role models” as such for me as I do not like to copy existing ideas but developed my own visual style. But there women who I admire for paving the path by showing sex from a female perspective such as Candida Royalle and Annie Sprinkle. I also admire the creative work of Maria Beatty in her early “porn noir” movies. I feel blessed and happy that all three of them have now become friends and we regularly bounce ideas off each other. It is like a sisterhood that spans the whole world. We help each other in matters of distribution and I feel happy that through my “Her Porn” compilations I have been able to introduce new directors to my viewers. I am grateful that Candida Royalle has now published “Feeling it” for me in America and hope that “Female Fantasies” will follow. It is all about making the work by female directors seen and heard. We live in a very exciting time. Our network is growing. Together we are unstoppable now. Porn by and for women is here to stay!

3. The fantasy vignettes you feature in your films are highly original and very sexy. How do you come up with them and what are some of your personal favourites?

I wanted to make films that are both explicit and artistic. Most importantly, my mission is to visualize female fantasies and show a more accurate reflection of female sexual desires and pleasures than the mainstream porn filmmakers do. Some of the vignettes are based on my own fantasies, some are based on the fantasies that my friends told me and some are fantasies that my female performers wanted to make come true on camera. My favourites are from “Feeling it” a scene called “Hardback” that features a dominant female and a (very hunky), submissive male. I love the way this real life couple switch and play with power. I also love the scene “Only the best” which shows a very exciting birthday celebration where the birthday girl is being spoilt by champagne, oysters, a butler in the buff and more. In the scene “Sailor’s Bride” the main performer, Violetta Storm made her fantasy come true to have sex with 2 girls in uniform. The sex was completely unscripted and they had so much fun that my neighbour complained about the noise...From “Female Fantasies” I think that the solo male masturbation scene called “Eye Candy” was very exciting as until I showed this, male masturbation was only shown in gay porn. I am also proud of “Cruising” a very controversial scene that shows a woman cruising the male toilets and having her strap-on licked by three bi men. Male bisexuality is such a taboo in mainstream porn – yet it is a huge female fantasy to watch men have sex or to be pampered by bi men. The underwater scene called “The big blue” is also fab as it is so subtle and erotic.

4. Aside from your adult work, I understand that you're a journalist and photographer. Tell me more about your current projects in these areas.

I still get enquiries for private photo commissions, usually from women who want to celebrate themselves on a special birthday or from women who would like to give the shoot to their partners as an anniversary gift. I love these shoots as they are so intimate and the result is always unique. I have just finished editing my documentary “The joy of porn – my life as a feminist pornographer” and hope to do more films like this for TV.
I am hoping to write a book in 2011 about my experiences in the adult industry.

6. What types of erotic projects would you like to direct in the future? What Petra Joy films are coming soon?

In April “Her Porn vol 2” will be released. It is a compilation featuring the best female-made porn of the last decade. It is a very exciting selection of 18 short films, directed by 14 filmmakers from all over the world. It is a pleasure to introduce these filmmakers – some of them new some of them established but not valued enough through the interviews I shot with them and the 8 page booklet.
I will also be shooting my fourth feature film this summer in Berlin. I will have a bigger team than before and hope to be able to focus more on directing rather than doing everything (including catering) myself like in previous projects.

Thank you Petra; you are a true and shining example of FemPower!

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