Two erotic film societies – the Seattle Erotic Cinema Society (SECS) and New York’s Cinekink – joined forces last weekend to bring Seattle a selection of sexy shorts – a micro-film-festival if you will.
SECS (pronounced “sex”) is run by Deanna Berger, a professional erotic film aficionado. It began when Deanna was working as a librarian at the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture (FSPC). She wanted to start a film festival that would offer a different experience than HUMP, showing longer films than the five-minute shorts featured at the Stranger’s annual porn festival. “I was always a little frustrated with my HUMP experiences because I wanted more of certain things. You can do a bit more with a longer film,” she said.
Deanna ran the festival idea by her friend, a porn scholar by the name of David Church. He liked the idea of a film festival and suggested expanding it to include a monthly showing of golden-age porn.
SECS first began showing these films at the Grand Illusion in 2016. The first SECS fest was held in the summer of 2017, and the festival returned earlier this year. The films shown at the festivals are kaleidoscopic in their diversity – features and shorts, new and vintage, explicit and soft core, queer and straight.
This commitment to diversity is one way SECS and Cinekink have connected. “Our philosophies are pretty similar in that we try to put as much diversity in a program as possible,” Deanna said, “We don’t have the LGBT program and the other program, we like to mix it up. We give people a diverse experience when you go.”
Deanna met Cinekink’s showrunner, Lisa Vandever, during a film festival roundtable held by SIFF. Cinekink is something of an erotic film institution – it’s been around for fifteen years – and was one of Deanna’s inspirations for SECS. “They were certainly one of the places we looked at as soon as we were talking about doing this,” Deanna said. Not long after that meeting, the two decided to collaborate on bringing a selections of erotic shorts to Seattle.
These shorts were certainly diverse. Cruising Elsewhere is an elegiac documentary about a nude beach and gay cruising spot in Sonoma County, California. It won “Best Documentary Short” at Cinekink NYC. Library Hours features a queer and kinky liaison between two women, a librarian and her lover. One of the most-hyped films on the program is Queen Kong, which was featured at both Cinekink NYC and SECS Fest. A film mixing erotica and horror themes, it won ”Best Short” at SECS Fest and “Best Drama Short” at Cinekink NYC.
This mini-film-festival was exciting because it presented a rare opportunity to see erotic film on the big screen. Many of these movies aren’t shown at mainstream film fests or theaters, because of their often explicit content. I’m happy that Cinekink and SECS fest are both around to give groundbreaking erotic filmmakers a place to show their work.
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