SECS Fest Midwest will begin at the IU Cinema at 7 p.m. March 3, showcasing highlights from the Seattle Erotica Cinema Society’s 2021 festival. The festival will conclude at 10 p.m. March 4.
Founded in 2016 by David Church, a postdoctoral fellow in IU’s Department of Gender Studies, SECS Fest features a wide range of sexually explicit representations in media.
Due to the stigmatized nature of pornography, Church hopes these films will spark open and honest conversations about sex among viewers.
“It’s useful for us to have a different view of sexuality,” Church said. “These films are able to show us, even in a sexually explicit way, all the wonderful things about sexual and gender diversity.”
The film festival is dedicated to showcasing films by feminist, queer, transgender and nonbinary filmmakers. Church said part of the reason he wanted to bring SECS Fest to Bloomington was to give these filmmakers a platform, take viewers out of their comfort zone and offer an eye-opening experience.
“There’s something unique about seeing sexually explicit films in a public setting,” Church said. “On one hand, it can be a little awkward at first glance to watch these films in the company of others. Once you overcome that initial hesitation, you start to realize that this form of cinema can serve all kinds of different purposes.”
Just last year, Church invited students in his porn studies graduate seminar at IU to help him curate SECS Fest’s 2021 festival in Seattle. Several of them, including graduate students Jessica Lanay Moore and Hayley Trickey, have selected the lineup of films that will be shown during the Bloomington event.
In choosing which films to feature, Church said he and his graduate students made it a priority to select works that force the viewer to think about what sex can mean, beyond just a pleasurable experience.
“What we’ve tried to do with this festival is not just show films that are sexy,” Church said. “We want to show films that are able to tap into a range of different emotions.”
The first film, SECS Shorts #1: Carnal Delights, will begin at 7 p.m. March 3, followed by SECS Shorts #2: Holes and Wholes at 7 p.m. March 4. The film series will end with the feature film “One Last Time” at 10 p.m. March 4.
All screenings contain sexually explicit material. No one under the age of 18 will be admitted.