Leave it to the ever-churning LGBT minds at FilmLove and PinkEye Indie Film Salon to join forces for a Valentine Weekend that openly embraces the sex part of gay love. At CinErotic, porn and art collide for three nights Atlanta won’t soon forget.
“It was really important to us embrace sexuality as sexuality—not just ‘I’m a gay person who goes to these queer places,’” says Kiki Carr, one of the organizers of the festival. “We want to celebrate the different, wonderful and even sometimes strange various aspects of our sex lives.
“Especially in the South, that gets pulled apart, and we forget that sex is in fact what makes us who we are, and we need to affirm that,” she adds.
In that spirit, the festival will be anything but a stuffy affair. Don’t expect to just take a seat at the edgy Eyedrum art gallery on Friday, Saturday or Sunday to simply watch some movies. Do expect to interact, to have your senses dazzled and your sensibilities challenged.
Look for about 10 shorts on each of the festival’s three nights. The indie, vintage and rare erotic films range from two minutes to about 40 minutes each.
“We want to bring up Atlanta’s arts community away from the posh galleries and high-end selling to the DIY end of arts, give it more visibility and support while drawing people together,” Carr says.“That said, what’s most important to me is that the films are also hot. So not just funny and interesting, but actually sexy.”
Of more than 30 Valentine-themed events through Sunday, CinErotic stands alone for a lot of reasons. One is a concerted effort to depict diverse people and sexualities.
“So it’s also all sizes and colors,” Carr says. “Sexiness is not about conforming to cultural stereotypes; it’s about other things, more diffuse things. Older people, bigger people, people of color don’t have a lot of chances to see themselves depicted in a positive light.”
Andy Ditzler, who heads up FilmLove and provides some vintage erotica to the mix, says the concept of CinErotic brings up boundaries that he can’t wait to break.
“The fest is such a great way to approach a subject that is so often approached in a manner that’s serious or paints desire, particularly unconventional desires, in an oversimplified, cheesy or otherwise negative light,” he says. “I think that’s revolutionary. This is going to be fun.”
FRIDAY: “QUEER AS F*CK”
Friday night’s lineup of short films come under an umbrella CinErotic calls “Queer as F*ck.” Carr says to expect imagery and themes “all over the map, from queer to trans to lesbian to gay.”
In one film, Luke Woodward’s “Tour de Pants” (photo, right), “there’s a lesbian gang scene, solo boy scene, trans scene,” she hints. “That’s something you don’t see a lot because films are from a director’s point of view, which is usually just one of those.”
Carr calls the film “cute and costumey and a lot of fun, but also hot, which is hard to pull off.”
With attendees appropriately inspired after all the “Queer As F*ck” films, Friday’s after party is a make-out session upstairs at Mary’s in East Atlanta.
SATURDAY: “PASSIONS & PLEASURES”
Saturday’s series of shorts falls more on the romantic and story-oriented end of the CinErotic spectrum. The night will be enhanced by oysters and champagne for festival attendees. And speaking of romance, Eyedrum will be transformed for the festival, and VIP seats will be sold individually, rather than for couples—perfect for singles and polyamorous lovers, organizers say.
“We’re putting a lot of effort into making the gallery feel extra lush,” Carr says. “We’re bringing in loveseats, divans, velvet …”
Ditzler says he’s been waiting a long time for the right opportunity to present “Christmas On Earth” (top photos), which kicks off Saturday’s series.
“It’s a remarkable artifact,” he says, citing that filmmaker Barbara Rubin not only broke out when she filmed a weekend orgy in 1963, but made strides as a pioneer female filmmaker. The players in the film are “polyamorous, polysexual and painting their bodies, so they’re ultimately covered in paint.”
Rubin was a mover and shaker in New York’s avante garde scene in the ‘60s, hanging with Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol and the like. She was just 17 when she made “Christmas on Earth.”
The film is conceived so that it’s different every time it’s screened. Two projectors place the images from one reel as a smaller picture-in-picture inside the larger projected reel. To make matters more fun, colored gels over both lenses change it up as often as viewers like. The CinErotic audience will take part in changing the gels.
One more aspect that makes “Christmas on Earth” a unique experience with each viewing—as if you need another example—is the soundtrack. It was designed to be shown with live music (The Velvet Underground played during an early showing) or with pop radio cranked up.
“Imagine all this joyous sexual imagery with the pop songs of that time,” Ditzler says.
At the CinErotic screening, pop radio of the ‘60s will mix with current radio, including talk and pop.
Saturday’s roster also finds “The Good Girl,” which revisits the classic “pizza guy” porn cliche from the female point of view and “Handcuffs,” a brief glimpse into a sleek nightclub where sideways glances reveal a sexy secret. Both films are by award-winning director Erika Lust (photo, right).
“Her films are amazingly sleek and beautiful,” Carr says. “It’s porn, but it’s artsy. The people can actually act, they have a storyline, she pays attention to decor.”
And—can you handle it?—Saturday’s “Passions & Pleasures” has even more in store. “Multimedia erotic sculptural installation pieces” by local troupe Mediology will be performed mini-exhibits during intermission, followed by a full performance after Saturday’s film screenings.
“They just called and said they want to be a part of it,” Carr says. “The response has been tremendous, with submissions from Singapore, Spain, Amsterdam, Brasil and everywhere.”
Sunday closes out the CinErotic festival with “Kink-O-Matic.” Yup, it’s just like it sounds, with all the diversity the festival strives to bring to the fore.
Ditzler’s Sunday contribution is the vintage ‘70s film “Pornografollies,” a movie of people doing ordinary and extraordinary things while naked.
Ditzler says it’s “anarchic, hilarious and fun—very much of its time.”
“It’s a very liberating vision of sex and the body as something you can be goofy with, and the whole ridiculous aspect of nudity,” he says. “It feels almost like a vaudeville revue—‘and now, a teacup act,’ and a woman comes out and breaks a tea cup. Some of it is laugh-out-loud funny, and much of it is just bizarre.”
Sunday also sees some visually intense, explicit BDSM imagery from gay filmmaker Tom Chomont among the offerings. The whole shebang ends with a “play party” at the Spring 4th Center. The play party is free for CinErotic ticket holders and $5 for everyone else.
“It’s a chance to go have fun and have a sexy Valentine’s Day that isn’t staring at each other over candles,” Carr says.
To say the least.
For more details on the CinErotic Film Fest, its film lineups and filmmakers, visit CinEroticFest.com.