From award-winning erotic filmmaker Jennifer Lyon Bell, “Second Date” is a lighthearted, unscripted Virtual Reality 3D 360° portrait of two young people fumbling towards ecstasy; it is a portrait of intimacy, emotional and physical.
How did you become and immersive media content creator and why?
Virtual reality film pioneers Condition One saw my regular film work and approached me. They said they felt my work was based in intimacy and empathy, and noticed that their own approach to VR was very similar. They asked if I would consider collaborating with them to make a film about intimacy, and that I could create and direct the film myself. I am still grateful for this introduction into a new film language.
What was the production process for you and your team? What did you learn?
Shooting 360 is quite challenging in terms of the long shot length — you have to plan very carefully and then physically remove yourself from the set. Fortunately for me, my regular filmmaking style also involves tons of advance planning and then very little imposition on the improvisational acting process once rolling. So it was a really good fit for me and my crew.
What is the VR/AR industry like in your region?
The Netherlands seems to be on the cutting edge of VR. All the VR filmmakers and production people I’ve met have been enthusiastic to create community and share their knowledge.
What do you have planned for the future?
I have a new regular-cinema experimental film, Adorn, premiering in the fall. But I would be thrilled to direct another VR film if I could find some technically-savvy partners to do it with!
What would you like to share with fellow content creators and/or the industry?
The great thing about VR right now is that we are still making up the rules! Technology, film language, production style — they are all still massively in flux. It’s an exciting time. I also appreciate that mainstream VR festivals are enthusiastic about ethical, creative content that addresses sexuality. Regular cinema has become too bifurcated into camps. There is so much interesting, educational, enlightening erotic work yet to be created.
Do you think VR festivals like FIVARS are important?
I think such festivals are tremendously useful. For festivalgoers, they provide an opportunity to see VR experiences with the ideal equipment and in the best possible exhibition space. For VR filmmakers and postproduction experts, they provide a great opportunity to meet colleagues and share ideas and resources. I’ve learned so much about VR through the festival circuit. If anyone is interested to see Second Date at home, it will be available in streaming and download formats soon on my website, www.blueartichokefilms.com.
Jennifer Lyon Bell is the American founder of independent erotic cinema company Blue Artichoke Films (Amsterdam, NL.) She creates erotic fiction films, documentaries, and experimental films which always show sexuality in an emotionally realistic way. Her award-winning films screen at international festivals, cinemas, and museums in America, Europe, Japan, and South America, attracting prizes from both mainstream arthouse film festivals and adult film festivals. The unique realism of her films has led her to be invited to show them at conferences and panels in sexology, feminism, and documentary filmmaking. Her trilogy Silver Shoes was shortlisted for the Netherlands Scientific Institute of Sexologists’ “Sex And Media Prize” — the only erotic film to ever be nominated. And her short film Headshot recently screened on primetime television for half a million viewers. Second Date is her first VR film, produced in collaboration with Condition One. Her newest film Adorn is premiering this fall. In addition to filmmaking, Jennifer enjoys giving erotic filmmaking workshops at film schools and festivals, and evangelizing for sex-positive social change. www.blueartichokefilms.com
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