Yaiza de Lamo, Juno Álvarez, Maria Lorente and Mariona Vázquez • Directors of DIYSEX
“Why should film festivals get scared just because you can see some genitalia?”
- Spanish filmmakers Yaiza de Lamo, Juno Álvarez, Maria Lorente and Mariona Vázquez discuss their short film DIYSEX, selected for EFP’s Future Frames
Screening as part of 2020 Future Frames, European Film Promotion’s annual showcase of student short films that this year will take place online during Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises, DIYSEX is a powerful Spanish documentary examining female attitudes towards sex and pornography. The film follows a protagonist who wants to make a porn film that reflects her wants and desires. Amongst a kaleidoscope of erotic imagery, she asks sex workers about the porn industry and works her way to making her own perfect film.
The film is the product of the collaboration between filmmakers Yaiza de Lamo, Juno Álvarez, Maria Lorente and Mariona Vázquez who met while doing the masters in Theory and Practice of Creative Documentary Filmmaking by UAB in Barcelona. We spoke to Yaiza de Lamo, who talked on behalf of her colleagues, to find out more about the making of the film
Cineuropa: What drew you all to making this documentary?
Yaiza de Lamo, Juno Álvarez, Maria Lorente, Mariona Vázquez: We were really concerned about how sexuality is represented in media, and mainstream pornography is the main source that people are used to watching. We started questioning ourselves as well as our surroundings. DIYSEX was born from an intimate need to answer some unanswered questions.
How do you work collaboratively on such a project, especially one that initially seems to be based on the POV of one person?
It’s a made-up person based on a little something of all of us. Regarding the whole documentary, honestly, we discussed a lot about literally everything. We spent so many hours having conversations about why ‘this’ or ‘that’ wasn’t useful or representative. Again, the made-up protagonist is the link to all of our thoughts - even if don’t always agree – and provides a common area and a collective POV.
In talking frankly about sex was there ever any worry about ‘putting yourselves out there’ too much? Or does working as a collective help minimise that?
There were times that we thought what we were saying was too explicit but, yes, working as a group makes everything a little easier that way. It really wasn’t our main concern, but it is true that pornography is still a highly taboo topic, with a big stigma related to it, so it made us insecure as we exposed our own intimacy from the first line. And we become part of this same stigma each time we have to explain what our documentary is about.
Did your views on porn change as you made the film?
Before making this movie we just had an open mind and a will to learn. We didn’t already know that virtually every famous and free porn site profits from mostly stolen content -which means no money or visibility for the sex workers. It’s an industry where no one wants to pay for what they watch. Paying for those huge porn sites doesn’t work and it just means that you are paying for stolen videos.
What other things surprised you?
The whole process of how to make a different porn film is shown in DIYSEX and it shows how performers discuss what is going to be done, not only with the director(s), but with themselves. When our audience watched both our performers sit down to talk about what parts of their bodies were off limits, or what they actually wanted to do, was something most of them weren’t expecting. We think it’s a crucial conversation to show: it’s just a natural thing to do and a necessary thing to do in any kind of sexual activity.
Did you ever debate how sexually explicit the material you included in the film was going to be and whether this would cause problem with festival selections?
We did have long discussions regarding to the people and bodies that we were showing in the film, but we didn’t talk that much about film festivals refusing our film because of this reason. We also stand by the idea that porn is just cinema, is like any other movie, so why should film festivals get scared just because you can see some genitalia?
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