BOSTON — When director Angie Rowntree set out to shoot the adult film Gone, she didn’t set out to make a tearjerker. But Gone, a sexually explicit film that deals with loss and grief, has hit an emotional nerve with viewers. It has also become the surprise hit of the adult entertainment awards, up for best film honors at both AVN and Xbiz. Noted critic Rich Moreland has called Gone “the most significant porn film [he] has ever seen.”
“I would cry in the editing room nearly every day,” said Rowntree, a veteran of both the Sundance Institute and the AVN Hall of Fame. “This was a real relationship, based on a real story, filmed with a real couple. You’re dealing with intense passion one moment, and intense sadness the next. To have the adult industry recognize that in such a forceful way really says a lot about what we’re starting to value.”
Based on a letter from one of Rowntree’s female fans, Gone: A Story of Love and Courage (NSFW) follows the real-life relationship of Todd and Rebecca, and a storybook romance that ends in tragedy. Shot on location in New Hampshire, Gone was created for Sssh.com’s overwhelmingly female audience and debuted on the site this fall to wide acclaim. Last month, it became one of the few female-oriented films to ever be nominated for an AVN.
“I think women have really responded to the fact that there’s emotional depth between these characters,” says Rowntree. “Instead of being turned off by heartbreak or loss, it intensified their response. The reaction is unlike anything I’ve ever had in my sixteen years creating adult film. It’s clear we need more adult stories told by women.”
Encouraged by the response, Rowntree has begun submitting the film to mainstream festivals such as SXSW, Raindance, and Cinekink, noting mainstream’s recent willingness to embrace more explicit films like Nymphomaniac and Blue Is the Warmest Color:
“Adult film is independent film,” she says. “People think of it as just explicit sex, but the emotion can be just as raw.”
For more screeners or more information, or to speak with the Angie Rowntree: