“Cycles of Porn – Sex/Life in L.A., Part 2” opened the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival this week to rave reviews.
Half of the movie focuses on a trio of young, hopeful gay actors living together in an apartment filled with webcams as they search for stardom in the hardcore industry. Their experiences are inter-cut with footage of three men now retired from the business.
Filmmaker Jochen Hick pulled no punches in making the documentary. Much of the film takes place on low-budget porn sets, giving his audience an unedited look at what happens during shoots, including those uncomfortable moments when actors are unable to perform.
Hick also shows what goes on behind the scenes, such as when the young actors collect laughably small paychecks, which they promptly spend on drugs.
“We found that gay actors do [porn] more for the adventure or to do something really wild, because it’s ridiculous how little they get paid,” said Hick. “By contrast, I think there are very, very few women doing porn for fun.”
Hick didn’t make his documentary for fun, either. The film is a follow-up to his 1997 project, “Sex/Life in L.A.,” which grossed $450,000 on his initial investment of $30,000.
Based on the success of his earlier porn documentary, Hick sought, and was awarded, a grant from the German state film board to do a sequel. He is hopeful that Part 2 will find even more buyers than the original, including European television networks.
“People say once they’re into the film, they love it,” Hick said.