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xconfessions: crowd sourced adult entertainment [nsfw]

Erika-Camera-Landscape2

Have you ever had a sexual fantasy that you wanted to see portrayed on film? With all the adult entertainment out there, it can be difficult to find something that takes your fancy while still being female-friendly. Erika Lust, founder of XConfessions, sees a growing need for adult entertainment for people outside porn’s usual target demographics, recognising the serious lack of women and women’s voices in the adult entertainment industry. She’s made it her mission to change this.

XConfessions.com is a one-stop shop for unique adult entertainment. Viewers “confess” their erotic fantasies to Erika, who picks the best one and each month turns it into a short film. The result is a large library of films that feature diverse desires and stories. I got the chance to ask Erika a few questions about the project and she explains to me why XConfessions has created such a buzz.

When did you start XConfessions?

XConfessions started in 2013 and reached its first anniversary as a fully consolidated and constantly growing project, with over 30 shorts in its catalogue. I believe what we do is a totally new genre of adult film. Sophisticated, innovative and entirely crowd sourced.

What inspired you to make the site?

I consider XConfessions to be my best project to date, as it’s inspired by the passions, the sex, and the ideas of my fans and followers … it’s adult cinema by and for them entirely. We wanted to create a constant stream of material for their viewing pleasure, instead of making them wait one year for each new long film. It’s important to be able to work out my “filmmaking muscle” as often as I  can, and directing two shorts a month is the best way to try out new things, work with a wide variety of actors and not fall into routine and predictability.

What is the biggest challenge in making videos that are inspired by other people’s stories?

The confessions submitted to our website serve me as an inspiration. Sometimes I take the whole story and translate it into the film language, sometimes simply one element strikes the chord and I develop it in a slightly different direction. There are also confessions expressing desire for a certain fantasy and, with the means of my film, I make this fantasy come true. In one case, one of our fans confessed that her most daring fantasy [was] to actually star in a porn movie with her boyfriend, we turned that dream into reality! I think the biggest challenge for me is to provide the viewers with diversity, to surprise them every time. To do that, we need different locations, characters, tones and situations, and as much as I would like to shoot an orgy scene in a deserted beach I have to remember that our resources are limited and some things are simply impossible at the moment.

What is your background in film?

I come from Sweden, a country no stranger to feminism. At the time I was being brought up, the feminist movement was starting to divide into two camps, between those who opposed pornography and those who viewed it as part of the sexual revolution. I never had a plan to become a writer, director and producer of erotic films; it was while studying Political Science at the University of Lund when I realised that female voices were almost non-existent in the adult industry, a genre and business made by and for men, and I decided to start changing the situation. In 2000, I moved to Barcelona, where I took classes in film directing and I began to seriously think about becoming a professional filmmaker. My first short film was The Good Girl, shot in 2004. It was released online for free and was downloaded over two million times in the first few months! It also received several awards at specialised film festivals and upon such a huge response I have decided to start my own production company, Erika Lust Films.

Do you consider your films to be feminist?

Feminist implies that the woman’s point of view is taken into account in every aspect of life, at the same level of importance as the man’s. Sexuality is a key field, since it has been used to control and attack women for so long. My films are made from a female perspective so I guess you could call them feminist. Women submit fantasies to XConfessions.com every week. Fantasising allows them a great margin in their imaginations for doing what they would never do in real life. Yet I think women want to see situations and stories that might be strange or special but are told in a way that they could identify with. Women are generally more inclined to using their minds to get excited. They want to watch something that will fulfil the sophisticated, sometimes kinky needs we sometimes have. So I try to reflect this in my filmmaking.

What are your plans for the future of XConfessions?

We are just about to shoot the XConfessions Vol. 3, so we are in the middle of preproduction, which means organising casting, polishing screenplays and making sure everything is perfect. I am very excited at this stage, as with every time we shoot, we are exploring new ways of telling the stories chosen from the confessions submitted by our fans, we meet and work with new performers and, hopefully, we are reaching a wider audience every time. To celebrate the first anniversary of XConfessions, we have also created the sexiest Christmas or Valentine’s Day gift ever, a box containing a full year’s access to the XConfessions website and wrapped in unsuspecting festive paper, which, on opening, reveals erotic images galore.

And what does the future hold for you? 

I am just getting ready for my first public talk, which I am going to give at the TEDx Vienna and then I will be on my way to Paris to again address the public as part of the Heroine Factory at Happy Happenings, an event organised by several major French companies, the aim of which is to reveal our inner heroines and fight against stigmatisation and taboos on sexuality by talking about them publicly. Moreover, next year, my company Erika Lust Films, will be celebrating its tenth anniversary. We’re plan a lot of festivities, including an art exhibition in Barcelona, XConfession screenings, parties and many other events. I am thrilled!

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