The documentary kink, premiering at this week’s Sundance Film Festival and produced by James Franco, takes a bird’s eye look at San Francisco-based major BDSM internet porn company Kink.com, and doesn’t wince.
Directed by Franco’s longtime cinematographer Christina Voros, the movie completely revels in a world where ropes and bondage are joyful ways of expressing lust – and we’re talking way more “discipline” than Fifty Shades of Grey. Check out our exclusive premiere of the movie’s trailer below. But be warned, faint-of-heart readers: It’s stuffed with footage of buff guys getting trussed up and a red-haired female porn director ordering porn actors to scream or be spanked. The mood is totally, unequivocally gleeful, and unabashedly NSFW.
Franco is also headed to Sundance to promote gay S&M sex art film Interior. Leather Bar., which he co-directed with filmmaker Travis Mathews (see an exclusive clip from the movie here). He chatted with EW about kink and becoming involved in the project.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you find out about Kink.com and produce this documentary?
JAMES FRANCO: I did one day on a movie called About Cherry directed by Stephen Elliott as a favor because I optioned his  book The Adderall Diaries, and he’s connected to that world in San Francisco. He got access to the Kink facilities where we shot scenes from About Cherry in 2011. Inside, I didn’t know what to expect from a porn studio. It might be the biggest porn studio in the country. It’s a 19th-century armory building where they make their own sets. It’s an amazing facility.
What was it like being there? Were you at all uncomfortable?
I was surprised at how comfortable that environment was. The expectation is it would be a sleazy place. It’s because everybody who works there is on board. They’re all willing participants. Nobody’s being exploited. Everyone’s a willing participant. They gave me a tour and let me watch one of the videos being made. I thought, “This is fascinating and important and my preconceptions have been blown away.” Just that day, I knew I wanted to make a documentary of that place. Christina Voros, my cinematographer, comes from a documentary film background and is a master at observational documentary, and she shot it in December 2011.
In the trailer, there’s sheer joy expressed by people involved in the company. There’s mention of people really just being normal – albeit with whips.
The idea, though, is not to normalize what these people do. Part of what is so great about what they do is that it is anti-normal. Both films, kink and Interior. Leather Bar., try to frame the subject matter in such a way that it can’t be written off – that there are a lot of hypocritical preconceptions people have. That a lot of people watch pornography, but people look down on the people who make it.
What are your highest hopes for both films at Sundance?
Based on the interest already, I’m pretty sure we’re going to sell both of them. I’m very aware of different kinds of contexts within which things are shown that affect what things are seen. The projects need to find the right audience.
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