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Programmer Profile: Lisa Vandever of CineKink

picMy name: Lisa Vandever

My festival: CineKink - “The kinky film festival.”

My title: Co-Founder/Director

Other fests I've worked for: Before co-founding CineKink in 2003, I organized and programmed the New York S/M Film Festival (2000-02). I was also—prior to an educational/frustrating stint in indie film development—the director of programming for a small-market public television station. (Whether my current focus on sexuality is a reaction to or a continuation of that experience is open for debate.)

Movies that best represent my personal tastes: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Secretary, The Auteur, Score, The Last Seduction, Say Anything

When I'm not watching movies I like to: Eat, drink and relax with friends.

A movie I recently programmed that I consider to be a great personal discovery: While I hate to single films out from all of the wonderful others, one recent film that could be deemed a signature style for us is a short that played our 2009 festival and took home one of our jury prizes, Kink, Inc. About a financially struggling couple who stumbles into the “home domination business,” the film manages to incorporate both comedy and conflict without denigrating the type of sexuality depicted—or its practitioners. It’s smutty, funny and kind of sweet—a combination that is definitely one of my weaknesses (see also The Auteur, listed above, another CineKink 2009 offering.)

When filmmakers ask me "What's different about your film festival?" I say: Obviously, the thing that sets us apart is our singular focus on films that celebrate and explore sexuality. We bring together a community of open-minded folks – at our annual festival and through our tour – who are eager for smart and engaging discussions and depictions of sex. And we also work on promoting these types of films, throughout the year, to audiences who aren’t able to attend our screenings.

CineKinkOur festival audience has come to expect: Nothing wrong with a little titillation – or a lot – the CineKink audience has also become used to works that take an intelligent approach to sexuality, to depictions that move beyond the clichés, to portrayals that don’t denigrate or preach. They also join us for the sense of community you can get from experiencing a film in the company of like-minded others. And, of course, for some really killer parties!

We program the following categories of films (narrative features, doc features, doc/narrative shorts, animated, etc): We program all lengths and genres with, again, the caveat that our focus is on sex and sexuality. We look for works that cut across orientations and like to mix in both explicit and non-explicit materials.

A recent trend I have noticed in submissions of which I approve/disapprove: I’m very pleased that our pool of sex-positive and kink-friendly possibilities seems to expand every year and, though we’re not all that possessive about premiere status, I like that we’re having more and more directors create works specifically for a hopeful CineKink appearance. (On the trending disapproval side, we’ve had a jump in filmmakers submitting works—and even requesting waivers from us—who are clearly unfamiliar with the fact that we’re focused on sex. Please do your research!)

The submissions period for our next festival is: We opened submissions in August and are currently in the midst of our call for entries. Our next postmark deadline is November 20; our final deadline is December 2, 2010.

If you want to be kept up to date on the festival, you can sign up for our mailing list at:

Filmmakers can contact me here: You can email me via lisa at cinekink dot com (though watch for a spam verification reply). I’m also semi-responsive on Twitter: @CineKink

If I could impart one thing to filmmakers about submitting to my festival, it would be: If your film is selected, do consider joining us for the CineKink festivities! One of my favorite things is bringing a film’s creator together with our audiences – it’s a very heady experience for a filmmaker to show his or her work to people who clearly “get it” and I love to be around for that!

This is the first installment of the Programmer Profile series. If you're a festival staffer with a hand in programming and you'd like to be profiled, please email chris at filmfestivalsecrets dot com.

1 comment:

Saskia said...

Cinekink does excellent work, and Lisa is to be commended. Bring it to LA!!