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Warming up for the Feminist Porn Awards

Eighth annual event kicks off with screening on April 4

Ill Nana at the fifth annual Feminist Porn Awards. Credit: Gustavo Thomas Flickr

In the words of pornstar and performance artist Annie Sprinkle, “The answer to bad porn isn’t no porn. It’s to try and make better porn.” And for the past seven years, the Feminist Porn Awards have celebrated the filmmakers, artists and audiences that do just that.

Good for Her owner Carlyle Jansen, who started the Feminist Porn Awards in 2006, says she felt most films did not adequately represent women’s and men’s sexuality.

“Now we are seeing people come back year after year,” she says. “Also, the calibre of films is changing and the diversity is growing, which is something I am most excited about.”

Giving space to feminist porn filmmakers has created demand with new audiences. “People are consuming this porn. They are asking for this quality porn. They don’t necessarily want to just watch Redtube.”

More than 50 films and 14 websites have been nominated for awards this year. In addition, seven steamy films will be screened during the event, the most ever.

“People will see short films that they would not be able to find on DVD,” Jansen says. “We’re seeing some submissions of people who shot a short film on their iPhone or camcorder, and some of them are really talented.”

Feminist porn should explore the boundaries of sexual representation on film, she says, adding that she wants to see films that challenge stereotypes.

“You have as many different kinds of feminists as people. Feminist porn is wide and diverse. We include kink films. Films are often artsy, sometimes political. There’s a diversity of bodies and sexual practices. They should not be racist. And it’s most important that all the performers have agency and desire. It has to be hot.”

Things get rolling Thursday, April 4 with Public.Provocative.Porn: The Year’s Best in Feminist Film, at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 9:30pm. Directors will be on hand following the presentation to discuss the film and take questions.

After an evening packed with porn, attendees can head over to the afterparty at the Henhouse, at 1532 Dundas St W.

The main event is the Feminist Porn Awards gala on Friday, April 5 at the Capitol Event Theatre, with hosts Lex Vaughn and Ryan G Hinds.

The Feminist Porn Conference kicks off at the University of Toronto on Saturday, April 6. Jansen says the one-day event will bring together academics, cultural critics, sex workers, activists, fans, performers and producers to explore the intersections between feminism and pornography, as well as the emergence of feminist porn as a genre, industry and movement.

For more information on events and the full list of nominees, click here.