Ladyporn leaves the sex in but takes the money shot out.

Kinder, Gentler Porn 

Ladyporn leaves the sex in but takes the money shot out.

Film students Elena Carr and Maggie Carey set out to reinvent a genre. Their goal was to make a female-friendly porn film. According to Carr and Carey and several of the women they interviewed for Ladyporn, a documentary about making their porn movie followed by the movie itself, one thing that had to go was "the money shot."

"It's how they all end -- when the guy comes on their faces," the female proprietor of an adult-video shop says at one point. Carr and Carey knew there was another approach, and Ladyporn (which the Free Speech Coalition will screen as part of the Halfway to Hollywood film festival) ends with a couple recreating a scene from a hard-core comic book. The film includes penetration but no raunchy close-ups -- it's just a married couple having sex, with lots of gauzy drapery around them to create a sensual mood. As a result, Carr and Carey are now in the weird position of straddling the independent art-house scene and the adult-film industry.

"It's too hard-core for typical independent distributors but too soft -- not enough sex, not enough variety -- for porn distributors," says Carr, who attends film school in Texas. "We've received nibbles from adult-film distributors but really don't want to go that route. They wanted to buy our stock footage for a compilation video, and that's really not fair to our actors."

Ladyporn opens with the directors passing out postcards for auditions. (Carr says that of the thirty people who showed up, "most were men, which we expected.") After the movie is cast, the leading lady has second thoughts about having sex onscreen. The filmmakers go back through the résumés and hire Traci and David. Married for several years, they agree to do the movie as a way to spice up their love life.

"They loved the film and had no regrets," Carr says, "which was important to us."

The day of the shoot, Carr recalls, "was nerve-racking. Traci had a cold, and we weren't even sure they'd show up. [When they did] it was unbelievable at first that there they were taking off their clothes and getting on the platform. But after a while, you get immune to it, like you get used to seeing a nude model in an art class."

Kansas City is only the fifth city to screen the movie, following Austin, Texas (where it played at the South by Southwest Festival), San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans. Carr says she's been disappointed to find that the film has been too controversial for festivals in other cities.

"Maggie and I watched a lot of regular porn and found it outrageously unrealistic and unattractive," she says. "We just wanted to make a film that women and couples would see, asking the questions, 'Can there be porn for women? Did we succeed? And if not, what would you have done differently?'"

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