What happens when the government opts to tax sex? ‘Love Freely But Pay For Sex’ follows a group of rogue filmmakers as they attempt to discover how the controversial legislation affects Londoners.
If you’re unaware of the government policy, watch ‘Love Freely But Pay For Sex’ at www.PayforSexPolicy.com, and if you haven’t already done so, read the first part of this article here in Frost before continuing.
For those who have, the credits reveal the government policy, the rogue film production company and the film itself is a concept created entirely by Hackney-based Phoenix James.
The multi-talented James is recognised as an actor, poet and spoken-word recording artist, but ‘Love Freely But Pay For Sex’ is his first foray behind the camera. Not someone to do things by halves, James wrote, cast, produced, directed, edited and sound-recorded the entire film.
“I had written down the concept in a series of bullet points back in 2007, and after having filed it away for some years, I came across it again in 2011,” says James.
“I began to see what I’d written as more of a visual concept and then started to develop those points into dialogue segments. This later became a film script and from that point on, I was driven to make the film.
“Shooting began in April 2012 and by the end of July, I had everything I needed. Working on some other film-related projects gave me some time away from ‘Love Freely’ and I was able to return for the post-production process with fresh eyes and fresh ears. It also helped me to focus it all in my mind and allowed me to remain true to what I initially intended the finished product to be.
“I chose the documentary angle for the film because I wanted to create and display a type of lingering realism that I felt would only come from shooting and presenting it as a real-life, documentary-style film. All of the actors I cast did an amazing job. They each took the dialogue and made it their own.
“I had a call from one local newspaper asking where my statistic quoting 89% of people in Great Britain pay for sex came from because they couldn’t find any information on it. That may be a reflection on the state of journalism in the UK, but I’d say it’s a good measure of how effective the documentary angle has been.
“The reception I’ve received so far has gone beyond anything that I anticipated or had hoped for. When you’re creating, you have an idea of how you feel that creation might be received or how you might want it to be received, but you never really know how it will be until it happens.
“When I set out, I initially hoped a lot of people would watch it and talk about it, but it’s gone beyond that. I knew what I was making was important and would have an effect, but I’m only just beginning to realise just how much.
“Making a film on such a major scale has been a huge learning curve. I was working from scratch for almost the entire filmmaking process. But I definitely felt energized and excited throughout. Any moments where I may have felt slightly overwhelmed just added to my determination to complete something I knew would not only be groundbreaking, but a great achievement for me as well as for everyone involved.
“I think what I’ve learned overall during the making of the film is that we can all truly do anything we put our minds towards achieving. I’m very excited about exploring different avenues, new ground and uncharted waters, discovering new ways of working and writing and filming – and expanding upon what I’ve already learned in creating this film.
“I’ve been infected with the joy of filmmaking,” smiles James. “Love Freely But Pay For Sex’ is the template by which I can judge my future film projects and growth. There’s certainly lots more to come.”