CAN GAY FILMMAKERS LEARN A TRICK OR TWO FROM PORNORGRAPHERS?
Following the Australian ban of Travis Mathew’s controversial film I Want Your Love, executive producer Tim Valenti says that gay filmmakers might look to an unlikely source for inspiration … the gay porn industry. His indecent proposal, after the jump …
Valenti is the president of NakedSword, which backed I Want Your Love when it was still little more than a churning in someone’s balls. In an op-ed at the Huffington Post, Valenti says that not everyone saw a reason for a porn company to back an independent film — even one that featured explicit sex. But he saw something the film as the latest in a long series of battles fought by gay filmmakers.
From its early days, gay filmmaking has faced constraints when finding an audience that straight filmmakers don’t. Earlier gay filmmakers, like Jack Smith and Kenneth Anger faced obscenity prosecution for even broaching the subject of sexuality. In the late ’60s, even featuring someone in drag could result in an X rating. The culture has changed dramatically since then, but in some ways gay filmmakers still face challenges in bringing their movies to a market. …
I Want Your Love has much in common with those early gay filmmakers — and I think it also offers a way forward. Part of the reason I was so intrigued by the film as a producer was because I don’t shy away from sex. And I knew that unlike mainstream distributors, we could help allow Travis to produce a version of the film that wasn’t compromised by outdated ratings codes or theatrical discomfort. I Want Your Love screened at festivals across the country last year — including a packed house at Lincoln Center, but when it’s released this Monday, it’s main distribution platform will be VOD — video-on-demand.
Video-on-demand, a platform pioneered by porn companies like NakedSword, holds the possibility of a new era of gay filmmaking. Gay film festivals in places like New York, San Francisco and Provincetown will remain cultural events, but distribution — the lifeblood of filmmaking — will be increasingly virtual, allowing them to reach a larger and more targeted audience, and hopefully to finance their next project.
It looks like his backing was prescient — the film has been banned from screening in Australia, despite pleas from gay sex advocate James Franco. But as Tim said to Huffington Post, it wouldn’t matter if Australia banned it or not. For gay audiences outside of large gay enclaves like the Castro or West Hollywood, there’s no way to see gay movies except online.
Does this mean NakedSword is seriously going to make a bid to become a gay Netflix or HBO? Stranger things have happened.
I Want Your Love (via NakedSword)
Tags: I Want Your Love