Bubbles Galore: Did Canada fund a ‘porn flick’?

Jun 17, 2014
Business
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If you paid taxes in the mid ’90s, you helped fund what some people swear is a porn movie.

No, really. Back in 1996 Toronto filmmaker Cynthia Roberts released Bubbles Galore – “a Russ Meyer-inspired sex adventure about the trials and tribulations of a bisexual female pornographer,” in her own words.

It’s a feature film that, depending on who you ask, is either a soft-core porn flick masquerading as satire, or a “spicy, comic look at the porn business” with a feminist message.

It follows the eponymous Bubbles Galore (Hartley), a female porn star turned producer trying to make it on her own in a male-dominated industry. When she begins shooting her latest adult feature — Good Girl Gone Bad — her sleazy ex-boyfriend Godfrey Montana shows up to sabotage the production, and force her back under his thumb.

Starring real-life adult film star Nina Hartley, it received about $127,000 in public money from both federal and provincial arts organizations. The Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Film Development Corporation, Toronto Arts Council, and Telefilm Canada all contributed to the production or development.

nina hartley

After screening to mixed reviews at the Vancouver and Montreal film festivals, and finally premièring on TV three years later, opportunistic politicians, right-wing newspaper columnists and concerned citizens across Canada descended on Bubbles Galore like disapproving parents, calling it “scum,” a “monstrosity,” and an outright “lesbo porn flick.”

Sheila Copps, heritage minister in the late ’90s, was quick to distance herself from the film after it aired on the Showcase network in 1999, pointing fingers at the Canada Council for what she called a “ridiculous grant.”

The Canada Council’s Stephane Dubois fired back, calling Bubbles an expression “of the right of women to take control of their image.”

Bubbles herself seems to agree.

“The film to me was an interesting take on one person’s idea of a crusading feminist pornographer,” Nina Hartley told Metro.

“The story was partly, in my experience, portraying porn producers as horrible vermin — which some of them very well have been. I’ve known my share of jerks, and I think it’s partly a melodrama, partly a romance, partly a personal growth story. It was a little bit about a lot of things. It’s a movie about porn. It’s not porn.”

Read the rest of the story…

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[…] After screening to mixed reviews at the Vancouver and Montreal film festivals, and finally premièring on TV three years later, opportunistic politicians, …read more     […]

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