There are a number of film festivals that deal with sexuality and erotica. Some are more explicit than others, but all seek to explore aspects of sex, love, relationships, gender and identity in some way.
Cinekink (New York, San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas and other locations). This festival recognizes and encourages the positive depiction of sexuality and kink in film and television. The festival offers a diverse program, presenting “documentary to drama, camp comedy to hot porn, mildly spicy to quite explicit – and everything in between.” The festival was founded in 2003 and runs in February each year with a subsequent tour to several US cities.
The Berlin Porn Film Festival was founded in 2006 with the aim of exploring the various meanings of pornography and also hoping to get rid of porn’s bad image. Their insistence on the use of the “P” word has caused trouble with gaining sponsorship but it remains a vital part of their philosophy. The festival shows that porn is not necessarily a monolithic media presence. The films on show are extremely diverse and range from typical US hardcore to animated shorts to experimental documentaries and beyond. The festival usually occurs in late October.
East Bay Express Briefs – San Francisco newspaper the East Bay Express runs an annual erotic shorts festival, featuring films under 6 minutes. The festival aims to “allow filmmakers who have explored the limits of erotic entertainment to engage attendees in a liberating experience.” The 2017 competition screened in February, 2018 is April.
Hump! This short film festival is run by Dan Savage, The Stranger and the Portland Mercury. It features short films of 5 minutes or less and encourages the use of “signature items” so that the films are made specifically for the festival. The festival also promises to destroy all copies of the films afterwards and not publish them anyway, thus hoping to encourage amateur porn stars to participate without shame. There are numerous prizes, all decided by secret audience ballot. The festival also tours the US. Submissions are typically due in September
La Fête du Slip Sex Positive Porn Festival – “A festival celebrating diversity in bodies, genders, and sexualities wishes to promote and reward the best of the burgeoning sex positive porn scene internationally”. This is a Swiss competition with 3 different sections, one is open to all films, the other two restricted to films from the last 12 months, preferably Swiss premieres. La Fete du Slip is in April.
London Porn Film Festival – An offshoot of Wotever World and inspired by Berlin PFF, this London festival has run since 2017. It features a lot of queer and subversive work and is boldly explicit. Held in April.
Toronto International Porn Festival – Previously the Feminist Porn Awards which started in 2006, the TIPF has run since 2017 and includes awards, workshops and discussions. It celebrates diversity, inclusiveness and ethical filmmaking. Held in April.
Porny Days Film Festival – “We show emancipated, subversive, humorous , sensual and queer films and provide a counterpoint to mainstream pornography and Neoprüderie.” This porn festival in Zurich occurs in November.
Fish and Chips Film Festival – First held in 2017, Fish and Chips “opens a window on film genre and create an opportunity to approach sexuality in a creative, free, innovative, lay, irreverent and intelligent way.” It’s held in Turin, Italy and it’s name is a play on an Italian phrase for sex.
Hot Bits Queer XXX Festival – “Hot Bits is a queer erotic short film + arts festival taking place annually in Philly and Baltimore.[It] is a space to celebrate Queer/Trans and PoC pleasure, empowerment and self love.” Held in June
Porn Film Festival Vienna – This Austrian festival is an offshot of the Berlin PFF and emerged from porn screenings at the Transition Queer Minorities Film Festival. Held in March.
SECS Fest (Seattle Erotic Cinema Society) – “SECS Fest is a sex-positive international film festival celebrating the artistry of erotic cinema while inspiring diverse communities to engage in adult conversations about sex.” First held in Seattle in 2013 the festival has expanded since 2017. Held in September.
PopPorn Festival Brazil – First held in Sao Paolo in 2011, PopPorn was endorsed by the Berlin PFF and has had numerous successful festivals which include screenings, art exhibitions, speaking events and more. “The objective of the event is to bring together ideas, works, projects, practices, activities and especially people around sexuality; moving across the frontiers of the sex industry, pop culture, performance and art…” Held in June.
What The Fuck Festival – Queer festival with porn screenings, performances and art, held annually in Paris since July 2016.
PorYes Awards – Held biannually, the European Feminist Porn Awards highlights feminist filmmakers and screens films a home showings for several months and then during a major award night in October.
Fetisch Film Festival – This annual celebration of fetish, BDSM and kink films has been held in Kiel, Germany since 2008. “Safe, sane and consensual” is the guideline for selecting films and the aim is to encourage education and acceptance of kinky subcultures. It is held in Sept/Oct.
Nacht Schatten Fetisch Film Festival – This festival held in Munich is BDSM and fetish-based. It’s held in June.
Paris: Porn Yourself Festival – “Organized by the collective of artists and craftsmen Kink Syndicate Berlin, this festival will excite brains and panties over a cultural programming kinky, participatory workshops, intimate shows and evenings.” Held since 2017 in May.
Hacker Porn Film Festival – “No gender, no border… Intimacy and sexuality without borders and without prejudices” This festival is held annually in Rome in April.
Wotever Film Festival – A queer DIY film festival based in London that has been running since 2012. It’s part of a queer arts performance and activism collective.
Just Experimenting – An art event screening films about sexuality and gender at the Centre for Sex and Culture. In June.
Failed Films – An art event that includes screenings of explicit films, held several times throughout the year.
Cinerotic Film Festival (The Dirty Show) – An expansion of the Dirty Show erotic arts festival in Detroit, the inaugural festival occurred January 2017.
Erotic and Bizarre Art Film Festival – A biannual festival based in Barcelona, last held in 2017.
Le Festival du Film de Fesses – “The Buttocks Film Festival was born from the desire to draw sexuality simply, freely, above or below a primary need.” Another French erotic festival, held since 2015. Website is in French only.
Pink Label offers an updated Adult Film Festival Calendar which is a handy way to keep track of upcoming submission deadlines.
Festivals On Hiatus Or No Longer Operating
Perv Queerotic Film Festival – This Sydney festival aims to showcase erotic film that caters to queer desires or has a queer perspective. “From the sensual to the lewd, the silly to the serious, the subtle to the shamelessly upfront, the Perv programs explore the full spectrum of queer erotic imagery.” The festival’s inaugural event was held in October 2013 and the most recent event was November 2015.
Bike Smut – Bike Smut is interested in erotic films that featured – you guessed it – bicycles. It’s a touring festival that is only available in theatres. Check the website for submission and screening dates.
Pornotopia This small adult film festival run by Self Serve Toys in Albuquerque went into hiatus in 2010 they had to cancel the festival thanks to censorship by the city’s local council. After being pressured to present a non-explicit version of their program, the festival was ultimately shut down due to zoning rules wielded by the fiercely conservative local government and mayor, Richard Berry. Author Dan Savage blasted Albuquerque for this unconstitutional suppression of free speech in this column.
The good news is, they won their court case. The most recent edition of Pornotopia screened in November 2015.
Painted Lips and Lolly Licks Festival – A one-night festival in Ottowa, Canada, offering “wild, sexy, funny, animated” films from Canada and around the world. It’s latest incarnation screened in February, 2015 with films judged by adult star Kacie Marie
Eros Festival Portugal – An inaugural event was held in late 2016, not sure if it’s still running.
Holy Fuck Film Festival – Held in Amsterdam in 2016.
British Fetish Film Festival – Held since 2015, this festival showcases BDSM and fetish-themed work. Their festival has become political since the UK government banned “extreme” porn that includes fetish acts. In 2016 it was held in February. Not sure if it’s still running due to censorship.
Forbidden Film Fest – An erotic film fest in Austin, Texas, fun by Forbidden Fruit, an adult store. The festival aims to stand up to Texas’ obscenity laws and showcase sex positive and gender diverse films. The inaugural event was in May 2014. The 2016 event was postponed due to low submission rates and will be rescheduled.
Muestra Marrana Festival – This Spanish festival celebrates “post porn” films. It’s had 6 editions, annually or bi-annually, since 2007. Organizers say: “All the movies we choose to screen have something that distinguish them from mainstream pornography, sometimes they are not even pornography, although what makes us select them is their relation, direct or indirect, with human sexuality.” In 2015 it was held in June, in Mexico.
International Festival Of Female Porn Directors – Held in Mexico in August 2012, this inaugural festival celebrated the work of Candida Royalle, Erika Lust, Liandra Dahl, Jennifer Lyon Bell, Ingrid Ryberg and others. Here’s my blog post on it (the main festival page is not in English). I’m not sure if there’ll be a second festival.
CatalystCon – In 2014 it screened films as part of its schedule however filmmakers need to be on hand to present their work. Not sure if they’re still doing it. See site for details.
Hard Liquor and Porn Festival -Darryl Gold began this festival in 2001 as a simple private party with booze and dirty movie. It now showcases non-hardcore erotic movies in Toronto and has also traveled to Montreal, London and Sydney. Audience members are encouraged to dress as porn stars for the event, which has previously run in November. The festival also runs the 69 Hour Film Challenge, where participants have 69 hours to throw together a short film about sex. The 2014 dates have not been announced yet.
GoodVibes Quickies Festival (also known as IXFF)- Run by legendary San Francisco adult store Good Vibrations, the Quickies festival shows erotic short films under 7 minutes. It started in 2006 as an amateur adult film competition and expanded in 2008 to become a fully fledged festival. Winners are decided via audience applause. On hiatus from 2014
Rated X Amsterdam Alternative Erotica Film Festival was the first Dutch film festival entirely dedicated to alternative, artistic and radical erotica. Founded in 2007, the festival offered “big-screen sexuality coming from a myriad of different angles and artistic perspectives.” The last outing for this festival was 2011.
Erotikos Film Festival was launched in 2012 and sought to feature erotic films that focused on tease and storytelling, rather than explicit sex. It was created by Nancy Sutton-Pierce who said she wanted to offer erotic films to women. The inaugural festival was held at the Hedonism II resort in Jamaica. The festival is no longer running for unknown reasons.
New York City Porn Film Festival – Starting in 2015, this is new festival that aims to showcase independent and diverse porn films. They have a focus on Messy, Sci-Fi, Animated/Fantasy and Movement. There is no date set for 2016.
Note: Not sure if this is the same as the NYC Porn Film Festival which was last held 2017 and appears to be gone.
The Paris Porn Film Festival was inspired by the Berlin festival and was launched in 2008 with a female-focused program. It’s second run was in 2010 but it is no longer operating.
Sexy International Film Festival – Originally launched in Melbourne in 2008, this festival had outposts in Perth, Paris, Los Angeles and New York. The festival “showcases short films and features from across the globe which explore love, relationships and sexuality.” It is no longer operating.
Festival Independiente De Cine Para Adultos Also launched in 2008, the Madrid festival “works towards promoting the glory of sex as a form of adult entertainment and shaping the acceptance of explicit pornography as a means of exploration to be enjoyed without succumbing to social stigma.” Prior to 2008 it was actually the Barcelona Erotic Film festival but financial and philosophical issues caused the event to move cities. It is no longer operating.
Explicit Festival France – Last held 2016
Detroit Independent Video Erotic Festival was scheduled to start in 2012 but was cancelled
The Barcelona Erotic Film Festival, begun in 1992, has become a porn trade show rather than a film festival so I’m only listing it here as a stub.
Toronto Erotic Film Festival – Held in September 2013, this festival had a DIY/swinger focus with amateur couples encouraged to submit films of themselves. No info on 2014 festival.
The Erotic Film Festival – Starting 2014. I have no other info except the link.
Kino Praha Erotic Film Festival -A screening of erotic films was held in Poland in May 2014. There’s no good English translation of their site, just this poster. Their Facebook page suggests this may have been a one-off screening rather than an ongoing event/competition. Google the name to find out more.
Note: I haven’t included many LGBT festivals on this page because there’s an awful lot of them and not all are open to erotica/porn.
Last updated 24th April 2018
Festivals By Date
Hump – Tour stars January (subs due 30 September)
Fish and Chips Film Festival – January
EBX Briefs – Late Jan-Early February
Painted Lips and Lolly Licks – February
La Fete du Slip – February
British Fetish Film Festival – February
Cinekink – Late February – Early March
Porn Film Festival Vienna – March
Toronto Porn Film Festival – April
London Porn Film Festival – April
SECS Fest – June
Nacht Schnatten Fetish Festival – June
Hot Bits – June
PorPorn Brazil – June
Wotever – September
Berlin Porn Film Festival – October (subs due 30 May)
Fetisch Film Festival Kiel – October
Perverotic – November
Pornotopia – November
Porny Days – November