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FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: Genevieve Kuzak’s ‘The French Boys’

Independent adult films are often born from a longing to see one’s own sexuality reflected. When representations are limited, the desire to fulfill this need can overcome obstacles. Still too rare are adult films that feature lovers who are both butch, masculine, or “butch4butch” and that’s where Genevieve Kuzak’s interest in filmmaking came to be.

 

Seeking butch4butch porn visions: An interview with Genevieve Kuzak

What is the origin story of The French Boys?

I finished my first porn (American Pornography) to a very warm reception and wanted to make something new. Finding performers for the first film was definitely a challenge because it’s a butch4butch porn film and there aren’t that many visible butch performers online. I was living in Michigan at the time and had to do my casting through Instagram. For The French Boys I was once again having a hard time finding performers.

I had some money saved up for this production and decided on taking it international because that way I would certainly find some people to work with. A friend of mine in Paris helped me by posting on Instagram about an artist looking for butch or trans masculine performers and eventually someone reached out! Nanténé Traoré (who goes by Cleo in the film and is also a wonderful photographer) let me know he was interested and would talk to his partner Taguir about it. Taguir got on board and I finally found performers.

I knew when I spoke to them that they would be perfect because for starters, they are obviously both hot as fuck, but also they were very open to me about sex and seemed genuinely interested in making art like this. Apparently Nanténé had been following my work online for many years and this made me feel like we were on the same wavelength. His work is also erotic and naturalistic and dreamy.

We shot it over a period of two days at Nanténé’s apartment in Paris and it was honestly a life changing experience. The love resonating from those two was overwhelming and the way they passionately had sex in front of me and trusted me, a virtual stranger, was an all around beautiful thing to witness. I feel forever indebted to them both for giving me the gift of their love.

It touched me emotionally for many reasons but one being because I have always been what you would call a ‘stone butch’ and seeing someone who I relate to and who looks like me being so free with their body changed the way I look at sex and my own body. It helped me be more open to the idea of being a ‘trans fag’ and expanded my understanding of what being a butch person can mean.

The film’s concept came to fruition while I was editing and kept hearing a voice in my head say ‘sometimes when I can’t sleep I imagine two trans boys making love’. The phrase evolved into the introduction to the film and exemplifies what the film means to me. An inner fantasy of pleasure and love come to fruition between trans masculine people.

What adult filmmakers or other artists have inspired you?

I don’t know much about adult filmmakers to be completely honest, but artistically I am inspired by the author Dennis Cooper, who writes very dark books about sadistic gay desire and fantasy. I love the photographer Larry Clark who made one of my favorite films, Ken Park. Some of my other favorite films are A Hole In My Heart, Caravaggio, By Hook or By Crook, Elephant, In a Glass Cage, and Kamikaze Girls. I also love ballet very much.

What challenges do you face as a queer and trans filmmaker? How do you overcome these obstacles?

The biggest issue at the moment is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to convey to the broader art world how important queer pornography can be.

I had a screening of the film at a prestigious art school and it was a struggle making it happen. I am honestly surprised my friend and I were able to pull it off. For trans masculine people like me it is life changing to see depictions of yourself engaged in sexual pleasure, I don’t feel there is much room within even the general queer community to be so in touch with your sexual fantasies outside of a very narrow and honestly ‘toxic’ way of presenting yourself as a masculine lesbian. Not to mention attitudes towards butch4butch relationships. I remember talking to a male artist at a bar about the screening and he kept saying ‘well, is it art or is it porn?’. I feel like these two things can exist together at the same time. It is a tiring feeling like what I’m doing is inappropriate or just ‘smut’ when it is truly important to the people who feel drawn to it.

What advice would you give to a filmmaker like yourself who is just starting out?

The most important thing I’ve found while making art is to have community. Many people want to help you, you just need to find them and know how to ask for help. If there doesn’t seem to be many people around your area, reach out through the internet. There are so many people online looking for people just like you to collaborate with!

Also, in order to be a good artist and filmmaker you need to get in touch with the emotional and illogical side of yourself. Just let yourself go and do what makes you feel whole. You can’t produce something truly impactful if you’re holding back.

And YouTube has definitely saved me countless times for technical questions. I didn’t go to art school or film school!

Do you have plans for more erotic films? What’s next?

I have some ideas for future erotic films but they are still taking form in my head. I live in New York now so it will be easier for me to find people to work with. For my next film I really want to go back to Paris though and work with some of the trans guys I met while I was there. There is a tight community of trans masculine people and I think we all have the same vibe. It’s an interesting mesh of dyke culture and trans guy culture that feels new and fresh. I think presently (all over the world, not just in Paris) we are in a new wave of trans masculine art and aesthetics that is really pushing the boundaries of what it means to be butch, to be trans masculine or even be a lesbian. One of my artistic kindred spirits Elise (secretionsmasculines on Instagram) is an artist who is pushing this boundary.

Where can people find you online?

I have a website genevievekuzak.com and my Instagram is @sadisticboyhunter.

Watch The French Boys streaming on PinkLabel.TV with a membership or rental.

Watch The French Boys

 

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