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“How Much Risk is Involved with Even the Most Softcore Shoot?”: Stoya on Filming During Lockdown

In April, as we began to put together the Summer, 2020 issue of Filmmaker, we asked directors, cinematographers, editors and other film workers to send us their thoughts on the quarantine and their own creative lives. The responses printed here were collected from April through mid-June — personal statements that speak variously to individual filmmaking practices, films halted mid-production, politics, art and life. Read all the responses here. — Editor

I’m mainly a pornographer. Though COVID-19 is not a sexually transmittable infection, it can be sexually transmitted. So, I’m thinking a lot about risk. How much risk is involved with even the most softcore shoot? For clothed pin-up, even if the model can do their own hair and makeup, you still have to get a photographer or videographer and a model or performer in the room together. And the idea of commissioning new work where people put their mouths on each other’s mouths gives me extreme pause.

I’m quarantined with Steve Ronin, who shoots most of my content and is an equity holder in, which is the 18-plus digital media project I cofounded a couple of years ago. So, we’re still able to create together, and we’ve been commissioning work from teams who are also quarantined together and licensing existing works.

But I’ve had trouble focusing for more than a couple of hours at a time. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the phone with friends, checking in, sharing emotions—reminding each other of our best coping mechanisms. (as told to Lauren Wissot, May 23, 2020)

Stoya has been a pornographer for over a decade. Her first book, Philosophy, Pussycats, & Porn, is available through Not A Cult Media. She is the cofounder of

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