A documentary short that looks at the
evolution of the porn industry will premiere
at New York City's Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place from
April 20 to May 1.
Filmmaker John Waters is among the
interview subjects in Smut Capital of America, a 15-minute
short about San Francisco's role in breaking the hardcore porn
“It was a woman's ass, that was the
first thing you see, then a woman's tits, then a man's ass, then
anything before a dick,” Waters says in the film.
The documentary is directed by Michael
Stabile, a veteran of the gay porn industry, who says he stumbled
across the city's contributions to the industry while working on a
feature length documentary about the life of Chuck Holmes, the
founder of gay porn studio Falcon.
Porn before 1970, Stabile explains, was
treated like narcotics: “You could go to jail if you were caught
selling it or distributing it.”
The laws were also used to aggressively
choke off discussions about being gay. Literature from early gay
rights groups was considered obscene and subject to the same laws
used to prosecute users of porn.
A landmark Supreme Court ruling,
however, struck down such laws, and the porn industry evolved from
pin up girls to hardcore sex almost overnight.
“It happened in 1969,” Jeffrey
Escoffier, author of Bigger Than Life, says in the film. “And
it happened in San Francisco.”
Waters rose to fame in the early 70s,
producing cult films that straddled the line between porn and cinema.
“I think San Francisco when I came
here was gayer than it is today,” the 64-year-old, openly gay
filmmaker says. “South of Market there was a bar called The Hungry
Hole, that was a glory hole that you put your ass though. That's
Other gay-themed films premiering at
the festival include GONE, which
documents New Yorker Kathy Gilleran in her search for her missing gay
son. Director Cameron Crowe's documentary
that follows singer-songwriters Elton John and Leon Russell
throughout the creative process behind their 2010 studio album The
will open the tenth edition of the festival.