SAN FRANCISCO — The explosion of free content online might have been the death knell for another gay porn company, but San Francisco’s NakedSword.com is seizing it as an opportunity.
Last year, it released Travis Mathews’ "I Want Your Love," the studio’s first foray into independent film. This week, they’re following it up with another film by Mathews — and this time they’re giving it away free.
"In Their Room: Berlin," an exploration of love and sex through the lives of gay Berliners, is quasi-documentary, rather than narrative, the studio says.
But the studio hopes that — like "I Want Your Love," which traced a gay artist on his last weekend in San Francisco and featured scenes of explicit gay sex — this film will draw a new kind of audience.
NakedSword.com founder Tim Valenti says that he hopes that "In Their Room: Berlin" helps to draw attention to "I Want Your Love," and to NakedSword’s growing role as an independent film producer.
“Ironically, I think it took a porn company to show that an artistically honest film could use sex in a way that wasn’t exploitative or gratuitous,” Valenti says. “You see it all over gay media now, from "Blue Is the Warmest Color to Looking." Travis’s follow-up film "Interior. Leather Bar" went to Sundance, got mainstream distribution and [garnered] a glowing New York Times review.
"It’s funny to think that I Want Your Love got banned when we were showing it at festivals just last year.”
NakedSword will be releasing "In Their Room: Berlin" for free on companion site IWantYourLoveTheMovie.com.
The "In Their Room" series, which features sometimes-explicit interviews with gay men in their homes, was what first attracted to the attention of film producer Jack Shamama, who saw one of Mathew’s shorts and brought the idea of producing a feature with Mathews to Valenti.
“This is an incredible series,” Shamama says. “The "Berlin" installment was shot while Travis was on tour with "I Want Your Love," but hasn’t been seen much outside of Germany. For fans of Mathew’s it’s a chance to see something new. But we’re also hoping that it helps introduce him to a new audience.”
"In Their Room: Berlin" will be stream free until March 31, after which it will be available in the members’ section of NakedSword.com. Those who go on to purchase "I Want Your Love" will be given a non-expiring download of "In Their Room: Berlin."