9 To 5: Days In Porn

directed by Jens Hoffman

About The Movie

The idea for this project came about because we (Cleonice Camino and Jens Hoffman) asked ourselves a question: who are the people who make those movies that everybody has seen but nobody admits to owning? There have been a number of movies and TV series’ about the topic but we felt that there was never an attempt to understand the human aspect. Many covered the technical, ‘making of’ stuff without ever getting to know the people – those who work to make this industry more profitable than the music industry. Pornography pervades many areas of popular culture and is socially accepted in many art forms: photography, literature, paintings, music, etc. but the film genre is stigmatized. Jens Hoffmann (Director): “We experienced it ourselves. Once we started this project, we constantly had to explain that we were not shooting a porno but that we were making a movie about the industry. And still, some really didn’t want to “get their hands dirty”. Perhaps it was this that created some solidarity with our protagonists. I also got the impression that there would be no American independent movie scene without porn. All cameras, lights and sound people have to work on these “love stories” to make some cash, but talk about the ‘cool indie’ project which they work on for free. Yes, porn helps our culture. And porn is fashionable - recognized by T-shirts boasting a pornstar, or the rebirth of the golden-framed Wayfarer, or just general trends. And Boogie Nights – that definitely started something! If we go by the statistics, pretty much every second American or European household has some “dirty DVDs” hidden on the upper shelf of their wardrobe. Pornography, as a concept and in certain manifestations, seems to be often, and acceptably, used in movies. Still it has not gained access to cultural society nor has it shed its aura of shadiness.” But at the end of the day, somebody has to do the job and have sex in front of the cameras. Who are these people? What is their motivation and how long can they do this job? How does it affect their personalities and their private lives? Pornography puts one of the highest moral goods of society, i.e. love, in its physical form. How do the protagonists deal with it when personal values such as love, friendship and sex are put into new relationships? JH: “These questions kept coming up once research for the project started in 2003 – first in Prague and Berlin and then later in Los Angeles. And when we spoke to the people around us, they always had more questions: Why are the girls doing this? Are they having fun? Do they have boyfriends? How much money can they earn? It didn’t stop. It was obvious: people were interested. Once the research continued, a whole new world opened to our eyes and ears and we understood that all those TVreports were just scratching at the surface. In order to keep a neutral perspective for the viewer, it was clear that we could not create a narrated documentary. We had actually planned to have a story structure (like a feature movie) and originally intended on 5 to 7 stories, structuring the movie in episodes. When we started filming, it was the plan to work with about 15 people as protagonists but to have only a third of them in the movie. After almost 1.5 years of filming we knew there was much more to it than the original 5. But the first rough cut was around 4 hours long. So we ended up deleting a lot and deciding on 11 main characters.” The world of pornography is a small, sometimes family-like parallel society that has established its own values and rules. The actual protagonists of this industry live in a world in which they build a second identity, often by using a stage name. When you take a closer look, the self-image of the industry does not correspond to the clichés, which are so often promoted by its representatives in their public appearances. The real world of porn is not as glamorous as magazines and TV shows want to make us believe. It is a small world of its own, burdened with big problems and prejudices and is also extremely sensitive. It is not obvious because dealing with the subject is still a venture – one that takes some courage and puts one at risk of becoming ostracized. JH: “What we were going for in the movie was to neither glorify nor confirm preconceived opinions or expectations by promoting clichés. We searched for closeness by creating an honest approach to the subjects with the thought that through personal portraits, we could offer the audience the chance to identify with our protagonists.” ‘9to5 – Days in Porn’ is reality and is therefore unbiased perspective. The undeniable visual draw is not meant to be just a stylistic device but, through its presence, also adds to the content: it is a mixture of art and documentation, i.e. realism in the beauty of the moment and the aesthetics in the untold emotions in surprising situations.

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