Birmingham’s inaugural feminist porn festival puts Ethics and Desire front and centre this Valentine’s. Inclusivity and sex positivity will take centre stage at a feminist erotic film festival coming to Birmingham this month, developed by researchers at Birmingham City University.

Taking place on the 14 and 15 February at Centrala in Digbeth, Bean Flicks will feature screenings of feminist, queer and kink-positive porn shorts from independent filmmakers.

The inaugural film festival is centred around the theme of ethics and desires, bringing together sex and porn researchers, performers, directors, and activists over two days, and culminating in a wrap party: ‘Best Slumber Party Ever!’

The event has been developed to help address taboos and misconceptions around women’s sexuality, health, body image and relationships.

The line-up includes:

  • Mat Fraser, renowned disabled actor and activist, who tackles taboos around disability and sexuality.
  • Vex Ashley, performer and director at Four Chambers, an art collective exploring what sex on film can say.
  • Iqra Choudhry and Alicia Anane of the ‘Brown Girls Do It’ podcast will address diversity and inclusivity in relationships and sex education.
  • Films from award winning directors including Erica Lust, Max Disgrace and S. Shanahoy.

Described as a ‘feminist, queer, and kink-positive ethical porn festival’, Bean Flicks has been organised by Dr Annalise Weckesser, Dr Keeley Abbott and Dr Gemma Commane, all researchers in health, psychology and media at Birmingham City University.

Bean Flicks is the brainchild of ‘The VQ’, short for vagina quotient, a reference to increasing women’s sexual health. The VQ tackles stigma that surround women’s health, sex and pleasure.

Bean Flicks first ran as a pilot in 2018 and reflecting on the pilot, Dr Gemma Commane said, “The audience feedback was fantastic. People said they loved seeing the diversity of bodies on screen and that it had been eye opening to see what a more ethical form of porn could look like.
“People told us they wanted more events like this - more talks and more screenings, so we are delighted to be bringing Bean Flicks back this year as a bigger and better two-day festival.”

Bean Flicks: Ethics & Desires has been made possible with support from Film Hub Midlands through funds from the National Lottery.