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.
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. It now has an offshoot running in Athens.
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.
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.
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.
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 screens February 14, 2014 with films judged by adult star Mandy Morbid.
East Bay Express Briefs – San Francisco newspaper the East Bay Express is running 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 2014 competition screens on February 13 with Jiz Lee featuring as a judge.
Pornotopia IS BACK! 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 and they’re planning a festival for November 2014. Click the link above for submission info.
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. Entries close 15 November 2014
Porny Days Film Festival – “We show emancipated, subversive, humorous , sensual and queer films and provide a counterpoint to mainstream pornography and Neoprüderie.” A new porn festival in Zurich held in December 2014
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 with submissions for 2015 opening in Autumn.
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 2014 it was held in May.
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. In 2013 it was held in November.
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.
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. Subs close January 10th
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 – Has begun screening films as part of its schedule however filmmakers need to be on hand to present their work. See site for details.
On Hiatus Or No Longer Operating
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.
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.
Detroit Independent Video Erotic Festival was scheduled to start in 2012 but was cancelled
Cinerotic Film Fest – Located in Atlanta, Georgia, postponed in 2011, no further info
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 20th November 2014