Friday, June 29, 2012

Ode to JOI (documentary short)

When I initially conceived of Ode to JOI, it was going to be a small art film that masqueraded as a genuine attempt at pornography.  In fact the finished piece was only going to be posted to real pornography sites.  It was all a meta-prank, if you will, where the "packaging" of the film would sell it as contemporary internet pornography - except halfway through, it was going to shift into an existential art film.  I believed the juxtaposition of the two elements was both ribald and could have led to interesting insights for spectators not intentially seeking out experimental cinema.

Then I met Shelby Devine and suddenly the project became so much more.  I saw the idea that an entire documentary film could be spun from our filmmaking endeavor just trying to get this picture in the can.  When it wrapped, everyone on set thought we had the makings of a feature length documentary.  From that moment I had planned on interviewing a large web of individuals from all angles on this tantalizing topic: from sex workers to pornographers to JOI film watchers, Ode to JOI was going to explore the chain from sex film inception through commercialization and consumption.  

That said, it has become increasingly difficult to find a varied array of individuals to comment on this subject.  While people are willing to discuss pornoggraphy in general, JOI films are so niche and new that there are no real "experts" on them.

So consider Ode to JOI a work in progress.  As it stands I feel it's truly an entertaining film that is at both turns funny and touching.  Shelby Devine reveals herself to be a unique individual with an endlessly interesting story.  Also, Deirdre O'Donnel rounds out the opposite end of the spectrum by providing a Women's Studies angle to the monkey-business we're generating.

As it stands, Ode to JOI is documentary in which filmmaker Derek Dubois examines a sub-genre of pornography known as JOI (jerk-off instruction). What is the appeal of the BDSM relationship between subject and spectator? What is erotic about humiliation? Along the way, Dubois works with adult entertainer Shelby Devine in an attempt to create his own JOI film with sometimes philosophical and often hilarious results.

The film has just been submitted into the Documentary Short category of several international festivals.  Stay tuned to see if we land any!