Wednesday, July 26, 2017

FETISHIZING DISTRESS: THE WRONG LIGHT AND SEX TRAFFICKING

Josie Swantek Heitz’s and Dave Adams’s The Wrong Light, theatrically released in NYC through Cinema Guild on July 14, is disturbing on several levels. First, there’s the story itself. The filmmakers set out to create a portrait of the Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA), a nonprofit boarding school of sorts founded in 2005 by Mickey Choothesa. Choothesa is a self-proclaimed war photographer (with no background in child services) whose mission in life seems to be to save Northern Thailand’s girls from being sold into the country’s sex trade. Through the eyes of two “rescued” adolescents, whose parents had allegedly sold them to traffickers, the filmmaking team hoped to celebrate a tale of resilience, courage, and redemption. If all this sounds too good to be true, you’re probably not part of the rich, white philanthropy establishment.

To read my review visit The Rumpus.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Following The Money Shot: Ovidie on Her SXSW Investigative Doc Pornocracy

Originally trained in philosophy, and known as the “porn star intellectual” since the publication of her book Porno Manifesto in the early aughts, feminist pornographer Ovidie can now add hard-hitting investigative journalist to her CV. The French icon’s latest documentary Pornocracy, debuting at SXSW (and later in the month at CPH:DOX), is a stunning exploration of the dark underbelly of online porn — a shadowy world in which a single faceless multinational corporation, with numerous offshore accounts, controls what we see while exploiting the performers whose very livelihood it shamelessly steals. Filmmaker spoke with Ovidie prior to the doc’s March 12th premiere.


To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

“Porn is Everywhere, Almost Like a Collective Unconscious”: Bruce LaBruce on his XConfessions Short Refugee’s Welcome

Bruce LaBruce is one busy renaissance man. The queercore icon — director of 11 features (not to mention numerous short films and music videos, and several theater works), visual artist and author — has now teamed up with Erika Lust’s XConfessions to release Refugee’s Welcome. The story of a Syrian refugee in Berlin who both suffers a hate crime and finds a poetic (and explicitly sexual) connection with a Czech punk, the short will be available on Eroticfilms.com (NSWF link, obviously!) on March 9th. (And for free — use the code BRUCE).

Filmmaker spoke with LaBruce — who makes mainstream and hardcore versions of his films — fresh off the Berlinale premiere of his most recent feature, The Misandrists.


To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Doc Star of the Month: Michelle Smith, 'Best and Most Beautiful Things'

Editor's Note: Some of the greatest documentaries of all time would be inconceivable without their protagonists to drive the stories and keep us viewers enthralled. From the Beales to the Friedmans, from Bob Dylan to Bob Flanagan, these real-life people were transformed, through the dynamic collaborative processes with their respective filmmakers, into indelible and engaging characters of cinema. And it's thanks to the access and intimacy that these protagonists granted to the filmmakers that these films were made in the first place.

So when writer Lauren Wissot proposed a column in which she would interview a documentary subject every other month, we welcomed the idea. So, here is the inaugural Doc Star of the Month (even though it's every other month): Michelle Smith of
Best and Most Beautiful Things.


To read my interview with one of the brightest stars of 2016 visit Documentary Magazine.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thursday, September 29, 2016

WHEN MARKETING TRUMPS TRUTH

Not too long ago I read Suki Kim‘s article “The Reluctant Memoirist” in The New Republic. In the article, Kim, an investigative journalist who spent six months posing as a teacher at an evangelical university in North Korea — culminating in her 2014 book Without You, There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite — voiced her frustration at having to promote her nonfiction work as memoir. Her essay struck a chord.


To find out why visit The Rumpus.

Friday, September 9, 2016

GENRE TROUBLE: LAURA ALBERT ON JT LEROY, FAME, GENDER, AND LITERARY EXPLOITATION

As a first-time author back in 2007, I was fascinated by the court case of Laura Albert, a San Francisco musician and phone sex operator who dreamed up a genderqueer alter ego by the name of JT LeRoy. LeRoy — who was thought to be a real person, not anyone’s persona — went on to woo everyone from Dennis Cooper and Mary Gaitskill to Asia Argento and Gus Van Sant with his harrowing writing. After LeRoy received much fame and acclaim, Albert was not only outed as the creator of LeRoy, but ultimately she was sued for fraud by Antidote Films, the production company that had optioned the rights to LeRoy’s Sarah.

Now, nearly a decade on, Albert finds herself in a much more positive spotlight as the subject of Jeff Feuerzeig’s Sundance-premiering documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story. Though I’ve corresponded with the often-polarizing writer over the years, we never actually sat down to do a formal interview. With the documentary hitting select theaters today, September 9, I figured it was due time to catch up, reflect, and reconsider the saga of JT LeRoy.


To read my interview visit Bitch Media.