The Juicy (petite) Cuts: Lisa Vandever Interview

Image by Jayel Draco.
Image by Jayel Draco.

This week and weekend marks the twelfth annual Cinekink film festival here in New York City! The city’s kinksters, perverts, film aficionados, and gawkers are flocking to the East Village to take in documentaries, erotic films, Q&As with legendary porn stars, and feature films about all things sexuality and kink. It’s pretty freaking fantastic, and if you’re in the area, you should definitely stop by–particularly on Friday night for the Club 90 panel (featuring Annie Sprinkle, Veronica Hart, Candida Royalle, and Veronica Vera–and of course, also featuring me standing awkwardly nearby, wide-eyed and slack-jawed to be in the presence of such overwhelming awesomeness), or on Saturday for the annual Bring It! porn competition (which this year will focus on feminist porn).

To celebrate the Kinky Film Festival, I’m releasing a small but tasty juicy cut from my interview at with Cinekink’s co-founder, curator, director, and all-around badass, Lisa Vandever. Think of this juicy cut as a filet mignon: small, but extra sweet! (Full disclosure: I don’t know about cuts of meat. I’m mostly vegetarian.) We discuss non-vanilla flavors, favorite films from years past, and, of course, watching porn.

Lynsey G: So, since it’s not vanilla… If Cinekink had a flavor, what would it be?

Lisa Vandever: A flavor? I’d say spumoni but I don’t like spumoni.

LG: But it’s so much fun to say. It’s a sexy-sounding flavor.

LV: Yeah it’s got some chunk to it. Extra jimmies.

LG: What are some highlights from Cinekink? When you’re old and crotchety, and probably not doing Cinekink anymore—

LV: Will there be such a time?

LG: Maybe not! But when somebody says, “What was the best film you saw in the course of Cinekink?” What will you say?

LV: There are so many, it’s hard to have favorites. I’d say the most impactful one was SM Judge, which was a narrative from Belgium a few years ago. It was one of the ones where people came out saying, “That was like a real movie!” It was very highly produced and also just in terms of the main characters… It was a bout a Dutch judge and his wife. She’s depressed and she starts having these fantasies about S/M and kind of drags him into it. And it changes her life, but then it becomes a scandal because people aren’t expecting that out of a judge.
I’d say the main highlight, though, is bringing the filmmakers together. That connection. Not just the actual screening, but helping people find one another.
So what do you think? What’s been your favorite film?

LG: Hmmm… Maybe Mommy is Coming. Because it was funny, and beautiful, and serious, and sexy, all in one. Because the question often gets thrown out, “Why don’t people make movies that aren’t porn, but just movies with sex in them?” And I felt like that was a movie that actually managed to do that.

LV: I think a lot of the shorts do that, too. It’s harder to sustain in a feature. Someone was asking me, what was the most romantic film. He was putting together a romantic movie package and he wanted something on the kinky side. My suggestion was “Piss,” which is a ten-minute film, and it’s just the sweetest film!

LG: I have made people watch that. Like, “Sit down, you’re going to watch this film. You’re not going to like the way it sounds, but you’re going to love watching it.”

LV: Right!

LG: That and “Pinecone.”

LV: That one they cut out of the Australia tour, though. I guess it’s a weird American sensibility. I was trying to explain it, but they just felt like it was making fun of kink.

LG: I’m tickled by what you said earlier about how you were uncomfortable with porn. Was it through this festival that you started to feel ok with it?

LV: You know, stuck in my parents’ house, we didn’t have a VCR growing up. I’m old enough that that wasn’t really an option. We had smutty books, which were up on the top shelf. I read all those. I found my dad’s Penthouse Forums, so I definitely had an interest. I just didn’t have much visually, other than my high school friends and I went to see a double feature of Behind the Green Door and Caligula.

LG: Oh my god! When you were in high school? That must have been an education.

LV: Yeah. We actually walked out during Caligula. That’s one of the only films I’ve ever walked out of.

LG: Why did you walk out? Was it just overload?

LV: I think it was just, you know, seventeen-year-old girls. Yeah. Too much.

LG: I mean, I could think of several reasons to consider walking out during Caligula.

LV: Yeah, so then I didn’t really watch porn on my own for a little bit….I actually don’t watch that much porn.

LG: Well I guess you really don’t have to find it. It just comes to you for curation for Cinekink.

LV: Right. That’s actually in my bio, that I actually don’t watch as much porn as people probably think I do.

You can find the edited interview in my “Dispatches from a Dark Corner” column at, and you can find Cinekink at the Anthology Film Archives at 2nd and 2nd through February 28! You can find me there doing red-carpet interviews with filmmakers, too!

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