Erika Lust is a Stockholm-born filmmaker with a background in political science and feminist studies from the University of Lund in Sweden. Now living in Barcelona, Lust is running her self-made company, Lust Films, offering a feminist, indie and crowdfunded porn.

A dive into the life of Lust, where entrepreneurship, love and adult movies cohabit.

-How would you introduce yourself to someone which never heard about your work?  

I’m Erika Lust,  and I’m a writer and erotic film maker. I’m from Sweden originally, but I’ve been based in Barcelona for over ten years where I live with my partner Pablo and our two daughters, Lara and Liv.
With my films, I want to show eroticism and sexuality in a beautiful, intimate a positive way, where the female viewpoint is vital and attention is given to every detail. I want to show that a piece of cinema doesn’t have to be vulgar just because it depicts real sex. I set up my production company Lust Films in 2004 and have directed steadily ever since. My latest project XConfessions allows users to submit fantasies and memories online, and I pick two stories each month and turn them into erotic short films. So it’s crowdsourced adult cinema – it’s my most ambitious project to date and it´s been keeping me insanely busy since the start!

-Feminist Porn…The word is subject to wars over Internet. What is your definition of feminism, and how do you think feminism can transform the porn industry?

Feminist and porn – it’s hard for people to understand those two words together. And often, trying to explain it just adds to the confusion and deters from getting to talk about work, haha! But really simply put feminist porn is produced by people who have a problem with the power balance and representations of mainstream porn – and so they try do make explicit films in a non-sexist manner. It has nothing to do with what kind of sexual acts that appear in the films – it’s all about how they are made and the context in which they appear.

Of course there should be feminist voices in porn too – if not, then a small group of white heterosexual men with the same silicon fantasy get the monopoly on a huge cultural genre that pretends to say truths about sex. So it’s simple – feminism can be used in adult films to help show a more accurate representation of human sexuality. That’s it!

-Which advice would you give to “traditional porn” scene?  

Maybe “try something different, you might like it”?

-When you plan a new movie, what is the most important aspect of your creation process?

I started XConfessions in 2013. It started out as something a bit like Post Secret, where users could go on to confess their sexual fantasies and share erotic memories from real life. I realized I had such a great collection of material that it could work on screen too. The public’s imagination is far greater than that of the mainstream porn industry – so with the right screen adaptation and direction, I knew I had something special. Because I get so many unique and inspiring confessions, it means none of my films are the same. The imagination of people from all around the world provides me with the initial idea, and I can then let my mind run freely with characters, locations, and cinematic techniques. It’s a great community feeling with this project. I love to make people’s stories reality, and the viewers in return are thrilled to see their fantasies come to life on the screen!

-The indie scene is getting more and more popular (you, Lucie Blush, Four chambers…) Do you think it is a great step forward for the scene, or that recognition will change it radically?

It has changed radically, and I think it will definitely continue to do so. We’re just on the brink to see how things like virtual reality might change how we view entertainment and art, including adult films – and I know there will be a lot of young, intelligent creators that will be part of that shift too.

-Do you feel that you are doing activism, by doing feminist porn? Do you think, men should be educated by feminism through indie porn?

I think that if you’re a feminist, you try to make sure your ethos runs through everything you do, including work. And I definitely think that adult films made with a feminist ethos can work as a tool for sexual liberation. That’s part of sex-positive feminism. But even though I definitely want to help subvert mainstream stereotypes about sex and gender, really when I’m directing, my main focus is the love of film making, the playfulness of creativity.

It’s not like some political rally or something. It’s a creative process like any other, and I happen to be a feminist. I have a lot of love for the feminist porn movement, and many friends within that group, but really, it can be a term that sometimes mix up a very diverse group of film makers into one category, which is not always helpful. There are so many of us now doing such diverse work – so it’s difficult to label us the same thing just because we all identify as feminists. I hope it will evolve to call sexist film makers “sexist filmmakers” instead, haha!

-The aesthetic part of your movies is amazing. the lights create ambiance, the music suits really well, the actors are pretty. How many people are working with you, and why are you putting so much care in your productions?

Thank you! Obviously, I don’t do it all myself. I’m grateful to be able to employ an amazing team of like-minded people. In the Lust office, there’s my partner Pablo who’s the CEO, there’s me, and 12 employees and 2 interns. Then on shootings, we have 15 more people coming in. This includes the director of photography, a stylist, makeup artist, runner, photographer, art director and so on. We’ve been growing quickly – it’s nice to have a full house. It’s a great team with so much talent, and we’re all pulling the same direction.

-Do you have new projects in head?

Yes, too many to tell you the truth – but at the moment, I’m trying to harness my creativity to focus on a pre-production of a feature film based on my erotic novel La Canción de Nora.

-We love music at Mutine, what kind of music do you listen at home or when producing a movie?

I listen to quite a lot of Swedish music. As an expat, I guess it connects me with my roots. I love young pop singers like Zara Larsson and Icona Pop, and also Joel Alme, First Aid Kit, The Knife… And more old-school tracks from Roxette and Nenneh Cherry when I feel like belting out some anthems. Still not tired of “Buffalo Stance.” What else… my partner is Argentinian so I love a bit of tango…recently I got introduced to Finnish tango as well, which is really weird, dark and wonderful. So I decided to use some Finnish tango for my film Chicazo recently with the band Hermot.

-Lust office looks like a small startup. Do you finally, feel like an entrepreneur with Lust Films?

I started my production company in 2004 and have been producing ever since so I’ve been feeling like an entrepreneur for a while! But 2015 was especially great for me. We reached over 100,000 users at XConfessions, I screened my films at Chicago International Film Festival and Raindance Film Festival in London and my team is bigger than ever. So I feel very accomplished, I’m in a good place in life right now. But it doesn’t make me want to slow down. It’s the opposite! I’m just thinking about where I’m going next and how I can build on what I’ve already done.

A screening of Erika Lust’s ground-breaking erotic short film series Xconfessions will be held in Berlin, February the 12th. You can find more info about the event on the Facebook.

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