‘Raw! Uncut! Video!’ – packaged as “a love story about fetish porn”,  is an eye openingly raunchy documentary, lovingly crafted to tell the historically significant journey of Palm Drive Video.

Palm Drive Video was the safe-sex porn studio that expanded the kinky horizons of so many men worldwide at the height of the HIV epidemic in the ’80s and ’90s, all thanks to the humble VHS videotape.

Raw! Uncut! Video!, directed and produced by Ryan A. White and Alex Clausen, is a deep dive into the mindset of the founders of Palm Drive Video, legendary leatherman Jack Fritscher and Mark Hemry and why they decided to start their own porn studio at a rural ranch in Sonoma County, California. 

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A Sex-Positive Studio!

Fritscher & Hemry, who met at Harvey Milk’s birthday party in 1979 and quickly fell in love, decided to escape to Sonoma County from San Francisco as the AIDS crisis was causing increasing concern around the world.

And even though you might have seen a few typically chiselled looking porn stars in their productions, including Colt Studios’ Mickey Squires and Mr America Chris Duffy, the couple made a point of regularly including rugged ‘real men’ in their casting decisions and with titles like Sodbuster, Let’s Play Doctor and Bellybucker: Tattooed Hairy Biker Bear, you can colour me intrigued!

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The documentary makers had unprecedented access to the archives of Palm Drive Video, “a leather-focused, fetishistic and sex-positive video production studio” and those archives are put to good use, taking the audience on a journey that both educates and titillates and perhaps makes you question your own comparatively staid boundaries.  

Helping Gay Men Explore Their Kinky Sides

“Raw! Uncut! Video!” teaser from Wohler Films on Vimeo.

 

Palm Drive Video was created in the ’80s to help gay men explore their kinky sides in a sex-positive way and also showed how to explore kink while adhering to safe-sex practices, a way more challenging prospect in the ’80s and ‘90s than it is in 2022 and the age of PrEP.

The documentarians wrote, directed and produced Raw! Uncut! Video! to acknowledge the significance of Fritscher & Hemrys’ contribution to the community with Palm Drive Video, at a time when exploring what it meant to be a gay man looking for sex was a frightening prospect.

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“We are inspired to create Raw! Uncut! Video!  to examine the historic significance of gay fetish porn during the height of the AIDS crisis in the U.S., to trace the dedicated efforts of two leathermen (Fritscher and Hemry) to produce erotica that allowed queer folks to safely explore their sexual boundaries in an age of plague, and to recognize an assortment of sexual pioneers who demonstrated alternative practices by sharing their own kinks onscreen.”

True Love Comes In Many Colours

Palm Drive Video production ‘Big Black Dick Black’ (1988) starring Dick Black.

“At the same time, we hope to cast light on the importance of embracing non-normative sexualities and overcoming moralistic frameworks that only accept human relationships in extremely limited terms – and in turn, demonstrate that true love comes in many colors,” said the film makers.

Raw! Uncut! Video! was recently awarded Best Documentary at GAZE LGBT Film Festival in Dublin, and received audience awards at Wicked Queer Boston LGBTQIA+ Film Festival and Rainbow Visions Edmonton’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival and Honorable Mention: Best Documentary – TLV/Fest: The Tel Aviv International Film Festival.

Raw! Uncut! Video! has its Sydney Premiere at the Mardi Gras Film Festival on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at Event Cinemas on George Street @ 8.30 pm. 

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