Anna Span Likes To Watchby Anabel Unity Sale
Anna Span, Britain's first female porn director, tells LoveGirls how she's making her mark in a man's world and why women should embrace porn
It's the four-letter word that divides many of us grrls: porn. You're either for it, enjoy watching and being turned on by it or you're against it, refuse to watch it and can't understand women who do – yet alone why women appear in it.
One woman who is most definitely for it is Anna Span, Britain's first female porn director. She also understands the view some women - especially lesbians and bisexual women – have that porn is made to titillate straight men, with women's sexual pleasure coming a poor second. She says: "There is an awful lot of sexist, dreadful porn out there but women need to learn what it can be like."
When Anna, aged 35, was a teenager she was anti-porn. It was after going to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London in 1995 to do a BA Honours in Fine Art (film and video) that her mind changed. "I realised that my anger at porn was jealously that men had their sexuality catered for in so many more ways than women." She wanted to make female-orientated films and wrote her dissertation on porn, called Towards a New Pornography.
Openly bisexual she knew she could do a better job at making porn films so after graduating started working for UK porn channel Television X. She began her own production company, Easy On The Eye, in 1998 to release her work – and that of other female directors she has trained – and in 1999 her first film was aired by Television X. "I do porn for two reasons: one because I enjoy it and two, I think it's a strong feminist statement," she says.
So far Anna has made over 200 porn scenes in total – which is the equivalent to 40 feature-length films. Some of her most famous work includes Pound a Punnet, Take This Down and Hug A Hoodie where a fisting scene between two women was so hot it was censored.
Although much of her work features men and women having sex, Anna is happy to explore women only scenes on film although she doesn't write and make scenes and films for lesbians specifically. "I'm bi and looking at two women together turns me on but I don't aim my work at lesbians. Lots of women love my work because in a lot of scenes the women don't use toys internally."
When Anna directs women in a scene she is keen to make sure they are comfortable and enjoy what they are doing. "It's always an easier shoot with women, it's more fun and less stressful. They stop acting like men's accessories and we all have a great time."
In June this year Anna won the Indie Porn Pioneer award at the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto, Canada. Anna flew out to attend the awards not knowing she had been nominated and was thrilled to come home with award. "It's a glass butt plug on a plinth!" she laughs.
One motto Anna lives by is that of the late French psychologist Jacques Lacan: "He said that whatever gives you pleasure gives you power and I think you have to be honest about it." Clearly Anna is in a job that gives her – and many other women – much pleasure.
Click on one of the DVD's below to buy them from Ann Summers:
Anna's top tips for making your own porn video:
Relax! It's your video so do want you want – and only what you're feel comfortable with
All women in a scene should take turns at using the video camera so it looks as realistic as possible
If you are shy about doing a scene then create a character (images of Corky the plumber from Bound spring to mind) so you can focus on what the character would do and say
Make an effort to get the right clothes and accessories – including toys – so you don't interrupt the flow of the scene
Do a dry run of the scene beforehand, knowing where the camera will be and what the lighting looks like on film, and where the sex will take place (i.e. a quickie in the hall)
As much as possible put the camera on automatic so you don't have to worry about it when you have other more pressing matters at hand
Finally, before the shoot get you and the other woman/women involved to sign a consent declaration that you both/all own the video and it is not for public use
Leave a comment letting us know what you think of porn and if you were a director what you would you differently.