'Public Sex, Private Lives' Documentary Set to Debut Online

Bob Johnson

SAN FRANCISCO — “Public Sex, Private Lives,” an intimate film portrait of adult performers Lorelei Lee, Princess Donna and Isis Love, will be released online May 14 via Vimeo, the producers announced today.

The film was funded in part through a Kickstarter campaign, garnering support from more than 300 backers in 2012.

Director Simone Jude followed the three performers through some of the most challenging and triumphant trials of their lives, revealing behind-the-scenes footage and never-before-released private moments of the stars.

Shot over four years, in numerous cities across the country, the producers said the movie witnesses these women like no documentary before.

Jude was inspired to create a documentary on porn performers in 2008. “It's impossible to get to know these women and not have your preconceived notions of porn performers challenged. The complexity of their identities and experiences turns simple narratives, either for or against porn, on their heads,” Jude said. “I learned that their choice of career impacts the rest of their lives in some surprising ways.”

“Public Sex, Private Lives” delves into a subculture that is often either vilified or glamorized, according to Jude. She said that rejecting either narrative, this film instead teases out the sometimes-contradictory ways porn allows these women freedom and restricts their choices, both empowering and disenfranchising them, sometimes simultaneously. During five years of production, the director said she was given unprecedented access to the three stars, following them on set, in their hometowns and into their bedrooms.

In the film, Princess Donna visits her family farmhouse in Kentucky for the holidays, revealing her job as a BDSM porn director to family members for the first time. Lee travels to Washington, D.C. to testify in a federal obscenity trial, and Love confronts the stigma associated with being a porn performer, working as a single mother to support her teenage son.

“Pornography and BDSM are hotly contested issues in the media, and yet the voices of performers themselves are too often absent,” Jude said. “As in all my work, my aim with this film is to tell stories that haven't been told and to complicate the things we think we know about the lives of others.”

To learn more about the movie, visit PublicSexPrivateLives.com.