Pornotopia Film Festival Censored by City

Bob Johnson
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There will be no porn in the Pornotopia film festival this year.

According to reports, the city of Albuquerque said the area where the festival is being held is restricted from exhibiting nudity.

The move prompted the festival’s organizers to pull all of its scheduled movies and replace them with fully dressed burlesque performers, a drag queen show and a spoof section that will poke fun at the city’s zoning restriction.

The show, scheduled for Nov. 5-7, has even been renamed “Pornotopia-Censored: Cirque de Sex.”

Pornotopia has been held in the city’s Guild Theater in Nob Hill area for the past three years, but this year the city told festival organizer Molly Adler that she was breaking the law despite a move to a new downtown venue.

“Pornotopia film festival features films that have plenty of nudity. Those films cannot be shown legally in the majority of the city of Albuquerque," Adler said.

“The first year we advised them of the rules and they continued with activity,” zoning inspector Matthew Conrad said. "The next year we explained that we would enforce the law if they decided to do it again.”

He added, "They did; we took it to court. Before the judge's ruling they held the event for the third time.”

Adler moved the festival downtown this year, a month before signing on at its new home, the Sunshine Theater that sits on the corner of Central Avenue and 2nd Street SW, just a few blocks away from the Knockouts gentleman’s club — an area she felt that adult business would be allowed.

“The downtown 2010 plan prohibits new adult amusements,” Conrad said. He claims the Knockouts club was legally grandfathered in because it was already up and running.

“We of course think that Pornotopia should be legal at least one weekend a year,” Adler said. “We should be able to show a film festival and exercise our free speech.”

But the city maintains that in some parts free speech is limited to clothes on.

Adler said she is still seeking a porn-friendly area even if she has to go outside of the city limits.