68908_370675673113728_8733001005051914909_n

Last week, organizers behind the hotly anticipated NYC Porn Film Festival finally released a schedule. And with just a couple of weeks to go until things are in full swing at Secret Project Robot, you’re probably wondering what on earth to expect.

We spoke with the festival’s founder Simon Leahy, who’s also one of the people behind Bushwig, the annual (and amazing) drag fest held at Secret Project Robot approaching its fourth year. He dropped hints about some of the surprises in store. No matter what your feelings are about mainstream porn, you’re definitely not going to want to miss this one, we can tell you that much.


NYC Porn Film Festival will run from Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1 with a full schedule of events including panel discussions, screenings of everything from BDSM to arty porn and Japanese manga porn, panel discussions, and even a big party where Leahy says “clothing is optional.”

And if porn isn’t really your thing for a myriad of obvious negative social, feminist, and racist connotations associated with mainstream smut, consider that Leahy and his cohorts worked hard to make this festival one that offers something for everyone (except kids, obviously. Keep children far, far away from this stuff.)

“We’ve tried to diversify the entertainment as much as possible,” Leahy explained. “We have high-end art stuff alongside, like, Tila Tequila getting fucked in the ass.”

The festival will also include serious panel discussions about the porn industry, including one headed by Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn. ”
The festival will also include serious panel discussions about the porn industry, including one headed by Cindy Gallop. “She’ll be speaking about how the porn industry is basically broken and screening a bunch of films from MakeLoveNotPorn, which is [her] anti-porn site that promotes real-world sex,” Leahy explained.

Leahy said he chose the programming “because it’s a really good overlap with my starting point, which was an inquiry into how pornography effects people’s behaviors.”

The most out-there screening event (but also one that might appeal to festival goers looking for a less… visceral experience) is Anime Wong’s Nose Bleed! which features a specific genre of Japanese manga porn, Yaoi. “It’s basically boys in these weird S&M relationships,” Leahy explained. “But the main audience is women, which is crazy.”

Leahy was careful to emphasize the screenings were not going to be “stuffy, weird art openings.” There will be a bar, and people are encouraged to talk (respectfully) and even laugh if they want. “We want people to engage,” Leahy said. “It’s going to be more of a casual viewing vibe. We’ve tried to make it a really good mix of art porn and porn that people actually consume.”

The festival has been a dream of Leahy’s for years. “I’ve been wanting to do something for a while now, and the last Bushwig was so amazing and then there was like nothing to do,” Leahy explained. “So I was thinking I’ll just do this porn festival and it will be kind of small.”

But once word got out last November that a porn festival was coming to Bushwick, Leahy said things sort of blew up in his face (pun very much intended).

“Initially the idea was that it would be quite small, but we had such an overwhelming response from the open submission call and it’s grown like crazy,” Leahy explained. “Now we have 12 screenings and two parties, it’s going to be very film festival-like.”

Over the last few months, Leahy and a few of his friends at Secret Project reviewed more than 200 submissions. “It was the hardest thing to pull together because there was just so much information,” he said. Surprisingly, approximately 70 percent of the submissions came from women. “I was kind of surprised,” he admitted. “But I feel like women are more open, men have this performance bravado but then they’ll be kind of conservative when it comes to sharing that part of their lives.”

Some of the stuff that made the cut is pretty intriguing, including a submission by Miley Cyrus that Leahy said he couldn’t talk too much about, but that he’s definitely excited about. The festival picks range from previously released features such as James Franco’s Interior Leather Bar, a submission from a Bushwig drag queen based in Pittsburgh named Moon Baby, and a film made just for the festival by Bushwick-based artist Bradford Kessler.

(Photo: Film still from Interior Leather Bar)

(Photo: Film still from Interior Leather Bar)

“He made an amazing film,” Leahy said. “It’s about a young, rich heiress who captures the gay Occupy Wall Street protestors and tortures them in her expensive Manhattan apartment.” The film is appropriately titled, “-1%”.

Though Leahy said one of the major aims of the festival was to showcase a diverse array of pornography and confront a variety of issues associated with the medium, there are some things that he barred from the festival. “We said nothing violent or too gross,” he explained. Leahy described one submission that was rejected: “This, like, 21-year-old singing karaoke was like rubbing excrement all over his own body, for like 30 minutes and I’m like, nobody wants to see this,” he laughed. “It’s funny and kind of cute, but I’m like I don’t know what the fuck you’re thinking.”

But of course not all fetishes are excluded. “We are showing a documentary about two men who are in love with their dogs, but there’s no sex,” Leahy said. “And it’s basically really sad, but also kind of beautiful. There’s definitely some humanity there and an understanding of why someone would do that. It just shows the extremes of human sexuality.”

Like we said, there’s something for the whole family. “It’s going to be a weird experiment,” Leahy said. “I think all of this is very new to New York and it will be interesting to see how people react.”

The first annual NYC Porn Film Festival starts Friday, February 27 at 5pm and screenings will take place all weekend long until Sunday, March 1. Check out the website for more details and tickets. 

Update: According to the New York PostMiley Cyrus requested that her film be pulled from the NYC Porn Festival. Simon Leahy told us he has no comment at this time.