When Rea Jovon decided to make her first erotic film, she wasn't expecting to play a starring role. Jovon had wanted to submit to BRIEFS, the Express' adult shorts film festival since it first started in February 2012, but she only heard about this year's deadline one week before the films were due. After scrambling to find actors and coming up empty-handed, she ended up acting in the film, along with a friend, as well as directing it. "I had to get naked for art," she joked. "There was a lot of giggling."
Jovon's film, Through Her Eyes, captures intimate moments — some explicitly sexual and others less so — in a relationship between two young women. "I wanted to tell a story that felt dreamy, like a memory of falling in love with someone, something sexy without being too hard-core," she said.
BRIEFS celebrates a wide range of eroticism, featuring everything from hard-core porn to sexy comedies. This year, many of the films have an artistic bent and represent diverse sexual perspectives and preferences. For example, Nakedskin Signlanguage, made by burlesque performance duo Prisoners of Love, focuses on a poem that begins with the line "In defense of Sadomasochism," while another film, Krutch, features "disability porn."
Other submissions, like Zachary Zara's Sextivism, are more comedic. Zara, who asked not to be referred to by his real name out of fear of losing his job, had been considering how to combine activism and pornography for a while. When he saw the call for submissions for BRIEFS, he decided to make a trailer for a documentary about a fake nonprofit he envisioned that would crowdsource pornography, monetize the videos through a paywall, and allow filmmakers to donate the funds they earned to charitable causes of their choice. "Porn on the Internet is the most monetizable form of art," he said. "If it has people fucking in it, people are going to pay to see it." Zara hopes someone makes the nonprofit a reality.
BRIEFS will screen at the Grand Lake Theater (3200 Grand Ave., Oakland) on Thursday, February 13, and will once again be emceed by Tourettes Without Regrets host Jamie DeWolf. Cash prizes will be awarded for judges' and audience's picks; judging the shorts will be Express film critic Kelly Vance, queer porn star Jiz Lee, Mitchell Brothers porn heiress Meta Jane Mitchell Johnson, former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Honey Mahogany, and Feelmore510 owner Nenna Joiner. Merit awards will also be given for best cinematography, best performance, and "most likely to make you want to fuck."
Contortionist Dwoira Galilea from the Vau De Vire Society and sexy clown troupe Fou Fou Ha will perform during the festival. Burlesque performances, featuring some of the stars of the films, such as Prisoners of Love and actress Hunny Bunnah, will take place at the after-party at the Legionnaire Saloon (2272 Telegraph Ave., Oakland).
7 p.m., $12. After-party at 9 p.m. is free for BRIEFS ticket-holders. EastBayExpress.com/BRIEFS2014