Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Pop-up porno

Director Stephen Dunn brings anonymous sex stories to life

It’s probably never occurred to most people to turn humiliating erotic encounters into pop-up books. But Stephen Dunn is not most people. Between his recent hit films Closet Monster and We Wanted More, the hot shit young director has created M4M; a hilarious short about a Grindr hook-up that goes impossibly, unbelievably wrong.

The piece is part of Pop-Up Porno; a series that renders sexual experiences as moveable books and then turns them into short films. Based entirely on anonymous submissions, his team has already turned out three pieces and they’re on the hunt for new stories. Daily Xtra caught up with Dunn to chat about his inspiration, what stories make the cut, and why he’s not selling out.

Daily Xtra: How did you stumble on this idea? Was it related to some kind of childhood gay crush in a library?

Stephen Dunn: It’s actually a lot more boring than you’d think. I’d made a pop-up book film for the end credits of Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. The book was a big hit so I decided to develop it into its own series only I wanted to use the medium to tell stories about sexuality. I was pretty inspired by Isabella Rossellini (who also appears in Closet Monster) and her Green Porno series, which explores the sexual reproduction of animals through puppet recreations. I think the playful, childish medium allows you to talk about taboo subject matter in a more palatable way. 

What’s the process like?

Each book is created by a different designer so there’s no systematic approach. It takes about a month for each book but the process is really organic so it depends on the story. The interview recording really guides the whole process. The storyteller’s voice and their tone has a huge impact on our visual approach. That’s the main reason I decided to collaborate with different designers, so the books could all feel different, like they belong to someone in a more intimate way.

I understand you’ve had offers to buy the project. Any plans to sell out?

None at this point. We want the series to be available online for free in its original form. We were also worried that giving away the rights would mean giving into a certain amount of censorship that comes with that. No one on the team is doing this for money. We’re just on board because it’s super fun and we wanted to keep that spirit as we continue.

What are you looking for when you select stories?

The best ones have a great hook and most importantly a punch line at the end. So when you’re submitting it’s important to think about where you leave us on that final note. We got one a few days ago about a guy accidentally fucking an elf from behind a glory hole. So yeah, look out for that one.

I’d really like to make one for my boyfriend for Xmas. Do you take commissions?

Ha! Maybe. Tell me the story and it might just make the cut.

(To submit your story visit PopUpPorno.org)