In a culture that exerts an enormous amount of effort to police women’s bodies, embracing pleasure is an act of insurrection. Whether they’re offering up tender first-person accounts of BDSM experiences, producing excessive shellfish feasts to spite their image-obsessed mothers, or issuing fiery found footage manifestos, the women and femmes of Pleasure Pursuits refuse to bend to the will of others, flouting the conventions of self-denial on which our patriarchal culture insists.
Kelly Sears | Denver, CO | 7 min
Instructional images appropriated from massage books provide the raw materials for this gauzy, red-tinted experimental short, a stop-motion study of force, manipulation, and the strange positions that bodies assume under duress.
Brantly Jackson Watts, Kristian Zuniga, & Jon Watts | Atlanta, GA | 10 min
Surveyed in one continuous take on crisp 16mm film, Rachel’s roadside motel room has all the trappings of a seedy rendezvous, from the scratchy bedspread to the dingy lampshades. But she’s after more than just a physical connection with the man she’s hired to meet her there.
Maggie M. Bailey | Austin, TX | 13 min
Genre: Animation, Documentary, Student
Four exhilaratingly tender testimonies of bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism form the backbone of this vividly drawn animated documentary, which reframes BDSM as a vehicle for deepening intimacy–with oneself and others.
Pam Nasr | New York, NY | 10 min
Genre: Narrative, Student
Arcelia–a devotee of an extremely peculiar Internet subculture–prepares a decadent shellfish dinner for herself, irking her image-conscious mother Gladys and, ironically enough, paving the way for a chance at their reconciliation.
Shelby Hadden | Austin, TX | 10 min
In this unflinching animated self-portrait, a woman grappling with longstanding pelvic pain details the routine humiliations and profound romantic isolation she experienced as a result of her condition, while chronicling the spirit of resilience she was able to access because of it.
Kelly Gallagher | Syracuse, NY | 7 min
The hypnotic drip-drop of a leaky tub faucet gives way to a series of berserk guitar riffs on the soundtrack of this fiery found footage essay film, a call-to-arms for women to re-center the pursuit of their own pleasure. Slower is the latest work from Indie Grits alum Kelly Gallagher.
Raven Jackson | Brooklyn, NY | 25 min
Extreme close-ups and strong performances dominate this accomplished, lyrical narrative short, which chronicles six different moments of fleeting pain in the lives of ordinary girls and women. Nettles was shot entirely on 16mm film over the course of one year.
Jing Niu | Los Angeles, CA | 3 min
Genre: Music Video
In this gorgeously saturated music video–shot on film by Indie Grits alum Jing Niu–three queer folks bask in the sun along a rocky shoreline, communing with the ocean and with one another in a misogyny-free space.