A while back I posted a brief about the Ann Arbor Film Festival losing their state funding due to accusations that the festival was screening pornographic work. The state of Michigan took action after prompting by an essay out of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, revoking the festival’s cultural arts money. One of the films listed as offensive and grounds for discontinuing funding was Bryan Poyer’s Pleasureland which screened at the 2001 festival. I happen to work with Bryan at the Austin Film Society where he is the Director of Artistic Services, so I took the opportunity to discuss with him if and how the issues effect his work, which to date has explored issues of pornography and sexuality.

Pleasureland is a short film starring an occasionally naked Jacob Vaughan, who also produced and edited the film, as he finds himself in a kind of “Twilight Zone” where playing certain porn tapes from his local video store result in actual women in his apartment. The catch? They are good for only one round and then they disappear. Vaughan’s lonely character tries at once to take advantage of the situation while hoping to make more of a connection and being unable. The film is available on the DVD of Poyser’s newest feature Dear Pillow, which also deals directly with the issue of pornography but oppositely of Pleasureland contains no nudity. More about Bryan>>

icon for podpress Bryan Poyser - Pleasureland: Download

The Ann Arbor Film Festival in March of this year joined the ACLU of Michigan in lawsuit against the state to clarify the statute used to deny the funding. In the meantime, the festival has had come up with creative fund-raising strategies to replace that vital source. A summary from the Filmmaker Magazine blog about their efforts.