March 21, 2018 03:25pm
Eros, a Short Film
Source: Rich Moreland
by: Company Press Release
All careers having starting points. My teaching years began with a hiring interview. Writing in adult film came much later and was initiated by my desire to become an author.
At the time, my literary intent was to record a history of feminism in adult film with the hope that it might find its way into the college classroom. That has happened at San Francisco State University. A student filmmaker became familiar with my work via a class she took and contacted me to discuss a project she was doing.
Let me introduce you to Davyana San Miguel, a native of Hawai'i who emigrated to LA before heading north for college.
"As a filmmaker, I focus on representation by challenging social stigmas," Davyana says, insisting that her experimental work is intended to stimulate "open conversations" about what people may find uncomfortable. At the top of her list is feminism and pornography. Davyana and her "creative partner," Mehran Karimabadi operate a production company and "art collective" called DSM Visuals which means she owns her content.
At SFSU, she enrolled in Images of Eroticism, a class that included "a critical analysis and historical overview of erotic art and its effects on society from a female perspective," Davyana relates. Later she participated in a documentary workshop, producing a short experimental film called Eros that includes one hardcore image.
Davyana describes her film as "an exploration of female sexuality and the stigmatization of women in the adult industry."
Yes, I know this all sounds very academic, but the film is quite good. It has a lively pace and every image from the hand-created messages posted on easels to media shots of the personalities Davyana selects for the viewer's consideration, serves a purpose. In other words, the photography is a tightly woven fabric that defines the film's message.
Eros offers glimpses of anti-porn feminist Andrea Dworkin, pro-porn feminist and adult performer, Annie Sprinkle, queer porn filmmaker Shine Louise Houston, and the late Marilyn Chambers, one of the industry's all-time greats, among others.
Like any art, Eros reflects its creator and that young woman is comfortable in her political skin. "as a director, I do consider myself a feminist," she says.
The paucity of women cinematographers working in Hollywood (only four percent of the total shooters) disturbs her, Davyana tells me. The math is simple.
"Ninety-six percent of the visuals we consume are inherently from a male gaze. Through my work, I hope to reframe the traditional lens and present things from my unique feminine perspective."
Ironically, female filmmakers in adult are asserting themselves at a greater rate than in mainstream Hollywood. And like some of these cinematographers, Davyana also has an on-screen persona.
I discovered a couple of provocative photos of Davyana as a model; She uses vinyl LPs in place of clothing while leaving her more erotic parts uncovered.
"That vinyl record photo is one of my favorites," she says. During an on-set break in one of their short films, the opportunity arose for Davyana and Mehran to become innovative. The result? "an impromptu photo shoot while we had the lights setup," she explains.
Is Davyana thinking of more such appearances?
"I have consider(ed) being in front of the camera more often," but concedes it's not easy to abandon her "comfort zone behind the camera," she states. There is a reason for that.
"I rarely see anyone who looks like myself on-screen, which has subconsciously dictated how I view myself within society. I hope that by inserting myself in front of the camera more, that others feel accepted and recognized visually."
That's a certainty because this exotic girl is a delight for the eyes and her ethnicity is her charm.
What to make of all this? Davyana San Miguel is a talented filmmaker and a potential model worth our attention.
After all, if adult film has accomplished anything over the last two decades, it is acceptance of all women regardless of race, ethnicity, gender preference, age, body shape and size, or personal fetishes.
Davyana is poised is set the same standard for porn's closet relative, erotic film.