Documentary On When San Francisco Was Smut Capital of the USA

“It happened in 1969. And it happened in San Francisco.”

It’s kind of hard to imagine that prior to 1969 there were no professionally made films that showed people having sex. In fact it was a court case that year which established that it was legal to even have a porn film in your possession.

From Wikipedia:

Those that were produced were produced underground by amateurs starting in the 1940s. Processing the film by commercial means was risky as was their distribution. Distribution was strictly private. Denmark was the first country to legalize pornography in 1969, which led to an explosion of commercially produced pornography. It continued to be banned in other countries, and had to be smuggled in, where it was sold “under the counter” or (sometimes) shown in “members only” cinema clubs.

It was a 1970 “documentary” by San Francisco native Alex de Renzy with footage of the Red Light District in Denmark that finally got sex on the big screen legally. The fig leaf being that it had redeeming social value in educating about Danish culture. Almost overnight, De Renzy and other industrious San Franciscans became filmmakers and burgeoning smut moguls capitalizing on a open-minded population in the post-hippy and gay cultures to quickly get the cameras rolling.

A few years later and to this day, the city of Los Angeles would become the center of a true industry of adult film. The early Bay Area porn scene seems a lot more DIY, fitting of its place and time.

Now a pair of San Francisco filmmakers, both veterans of the current gay porn industry have a made a short documentary looking back at the city’s brief era as the center of smut.

In the late 1960′s the New York Times and many other media outlets named San Francisco “The Smut Capital of the United States.” This honorary title grew from both the reality and the myth of San Francisco, a city where the sexual revolution could be seen on the streets and soon in the movie theaters. This short uses first person interviews and historical research to tell the story of the development of hardcore pornography hitting the big screen.

They’ve already had a successful Kickstarter project to pay for the archival footage used in the film. The 15-minute documentary Smut Capital of America will play film festivals in the near future. More info and background recent interview with the filmmakers.

John Waters is one of the interviews in the film; here he talks about The Hungry Hole, a bar in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood that was “fairly radical”…

via Spots Unknown

Written by mikl-em

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