This year’s edition of Porn Film Festival Vienna is not a retrospective! Yet, it is worth looking back over the last three years and again reflecting together the questions we already asked before. Presenting brand-new film material, once again we want to find out What is porn? (2018), What is shame? (2019) and What is sex? (2020).
You might chuckle, but it's not that simple! Because who has the normative power to define what we are dealing with? Where does sex start, where does it end? What is porn, what not? Why is the naked human body still perceived as a provocation and often gives rise to feelings of shame? And why, at the same time, can it be so liberating, so much fun and pleasure, to watch porn not just secretly at home in a dark corner, but publicly and together with other people on a big Silver Screen?
Mainstream discussions about porn simply label it off as a form of oppression - and whereas there is truth to this - it ignores the fact that there is an entire community of marginalized people who use it as a tool to reclaim the representation of their bodies, thereby threatening dominant patriarchal structures. For a long time, mainstream porn has had little to do with authentic sexuality. In the best case, it is a high-performance sport and in the worst case, inhuman and exploitive. As such, what is the solution? In the words of feminist sex-educator and theorist, Annie Sprinkle, “The answer to bad porn isn’t no porn… it’s to try and make better porn!”
And we say, let’s! Let’s not just lead an open and public discussion about porn, sexuality, body politics, and gender roles, but also shape porn culture through new impulses and our very own fantasies and desires! That this is not an easy task, we surely know! Sex and shame are still closely connected and the naked body itself is still as politically charged as nothing else.
But why not use the political power of bodies and sexualities to articulate a body-positive answer to all the shaming, to create sex-positive spaces, and to break taboos! To sum it up, why not make the world a better place through better sex and better porn?
Topics that make supposedly private matters public – and thus political! – deserve to be discussed unprejudiced, open, and controversial. Therefore, the Porn Film Festival Vienna wants to take a stand: We want to promote diversity, sexual freedom, and self-determination. We want to put a focus on feminist and queer productions, an important step to show the diversity of people, their bodies, and their desires. We want to offer a platform for pornography in its various manifestations! Because guess what? Porn is not only the “smutty cesspool” many people think it is. The Porn Film Festival Vienna wants to provide an open and welcoming space for reception, discussion, and reflection and to challenge and broaden horizons. Because porn can be lustful, honest, friendly, and self-determined!
At a time, when once again we have to defend abortion or LGBTQI* rights - e.g., in Poland or Hungary -, when due to climate change, we should rather fuck each other than our planet, when a global pandemic challenges our everyday lives, and therefore too our sexuality, in such a time, we say, a porn film festival can be more than just entertaining! It can also be empowering, visionary, utopian, sustainable, solidary, and unifying!
Yavuz Kurtulmus / Jasmin Hagendorfer
Founder & Festival Director / Co-Founder & Creative Director
(text support by Christina)