LOS ANGELES — Out now and available to enjoy — err, watch — is “Cam Girlz,” a new documentary from the makers of “American Juggalo” and “Oxyana” that explores the diffuse, diverse community of female cammers.
No stranger to shunned and/or misunderstood subcultures — having delved into the worlds of the much-maligned Juggalos and drug-addled small towners (in “Oxyana”) — “Cam Girlz,” director Sean Dunne focused on what, to his surprise, were the salient, recurring themes in each of the girls’ stories: empowerment and independence.
“My mind immediately went to a place of ‘Oh, they need to be saved!’ Kind of that slut shaming thing,” Dunne said, recounting first taking on the project. “But once you get in there and you get in the inside, and you see how much this has done for people’s lives, I couldn’t help but be all for it and hear them out.”
The film presents vignettes of individual girls — “a really solid cross section of the camming community,” Dunne says — that gradually build momentum and add layers of complexity to encompass grander themes like love, technology and connection, and how camming fits into evolving social and sexual norms.
“It’s a little bit of a ride, where there’s different layers of things coming at you throughout,” Dunne said. “And we build: about three quarters of the way through you start seeing the members, the guys on the other end. [We] try to get a little bit of insight into what their deal is, why they watch and what they’re looking for, and how this is different than other types of pornography and other types of entertainment."
“Camming is the first thing that has come along in pornography that I feel kind of transcends pornography,” Dunne continued. “It goes into some other unique category that’s a little bit hard to define, and that this film attempts to capture the essence of. There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle, technologically speaking. These girls, they represent something that could seem scary to the porn establishment, but I just look at it as new opportunities and kind of the democratization of it.”
Recruiting girls for the documentary initially proved tricky. Many of the girls, unfamiliar with Dunne's work, were hesitant to partake in a project that would expose an oft-hidden, sensitive aspect of their lives.
Sophia Locke, founder of Cam Girl Mansion and XBIZ Web Star of the Year, helped expedite the casting process by taking the “Cam Girlz” crew under her wing. Last year, they attended one of Locke’s Cam Mansion events and were able to pitch their project to the girls in attendance. Eventually they finalized most of their casting through Twitter.
Following the film’s Valentine's Day release, Dunne says that the response was overwhelmingly positive — from the girls featured in the doc to mainstream journalists to the indie film community. Dunne remarked, “I’m surprised it’s being embraced like this. I thought it would be an uphill battle.”
“Camgirlz” is now available to rent and download at CamGirlzTheMovie.com.