The Hobart

Global Erotica Festival Founded In Tassie

by Peter Carey
Global Erotica Festival Founded In Tassie

Ilsa Fay is the founder and director of the EROTICA Film Festival. She is a self development coach and film producer and recently shared how the two roles are very much intertwined.

You describe yourself as a self devel­opment coach, facilitator and a mentor for women, focusing on embodiment, a connection to self, intimacy and self empowerment. How did this interest develop for you?

I grew up in Byron Bay, so the strong yoga and spirituality culture of Byron was influential in how I began to see the world as an adult. Meditation, self-ex­pression and yoga being parts of culture I was introduced to from a very young age. It helped form my appreciation for the human body, self-expression, kindness and being aware of what’s natural and beautiful in the world.

As a coach, what are some of issues you help with and how do you measure your success?

My clients present with a range of life and experiences but there are definitely themes that come through, such as being afraid to live the life of your actual dreams (not the life your family or your friends think you should!), feeling ashamed of their bodies, feeling repressed or obligated in work or relationship choices and feeling disempowered to make decisions.

When we address these issues a strong sense of self-respect and valuing self arrives and powerful change can occur quickly. This shows up with clients beginning to set high quality standards for themselves and what they accept from others. I see my successful clients living the lives of their dreams! They have higher quality relationships, more satisfying sex, deeper intimacy and more confidence.

You founded the EROTICA Film Festival during lockdown, described as “some of the finest examples of what is possible when art and sex are inter­twined” and it’s coming into its second year in June. You’re adamant that the terms EROTICA and PORNOGRAPHY are very different concepts. Explain that.

EROTICA is a platform to reframe and offer something more than what’s avail­able in mainstream pornography. Erotica is about consent – a true embodied “YES” – where the participants are a “Hell, Yes!” to the experience that’s being filmed. It’s fundamentally about whether love, respect and care is present in the interaction – and that’s what makes it completely different to pornography. The films, explicit or otherwise, are made with consent and depict intimacy, joy and sensuality from a place of empowerment and choice. They are not the tokenistic, transactional, often violent and degrad­ing experiences represented in porn. I’m especially grateful for all the social and cultural work that has come before me that has paved the way for an event like EROTICA to be so well received.

Tell me about the film makers.

The contributing film makers are amazing and yes, they absolutely go for it with what they provide. I’ve been blown away with the depth of art and how absolutely hot and steamy they are! Many of the film makers come from their own diverse backgrounds and used their films to strongly convey topics important to them – diversity, sexual health, feminism, inclusion all showed up, alongside actual porn stars who made a film with how they wanted to express their sexuality rather than the scripted, stylised and sometimes cliched performances they’re directed to give. We’ve had film makers from the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, mums who want to explore their sexuality, couples who wanted to experiment right through to experienced film makers.

The festival has received wonderful feedback, perhaps a sign of the times, that we have matured and freely talk about what would have once been taboo topics. How diverse are the audiences?

I was so blown away by the incredible testimonials I received. These films and this festival really touched people in their hearts. Being an online festival, attendees could really choose how and where they took in all the films. Our audience came from quite literally all over the world, so it was really diverse. From here in Tasmania, to California, to parts of the Middle East and throughout Europe! It was amazing!

EROTICA Film Festival will be held online from June 10-20 and film sub­missions are open until February 25th, 2022 via For more information, head to the website:

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February 2024

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