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Pirates on Campus

WWW- The record-breaking pornographic movie Pirates is looking for booty on college campuses.

Pirates has already been met with enthusiasm at Carnegie Mellon and Yale universities, both of which have hosted events related to the pornographic film, and its makers say they are looking for an audience at prestigious schools like Penn.

Three screenings of the film at Carnegie Mellon University generated more than 1,000 viewers in November, sparking controversy.

CMU student groups such as the Graduate Student Assembly objected to the screening, in part due to the inaccurate belief that mandatory student activities fees were used to purchase the screening rights, according to Carnegie Mellon Activities Board chairman Andrew Moore.

Carnegie Mellon’s Activities Board Films screens an adult film about once a semester.

At Yale, a panel featuring the film’s star Jesse Jane, director Joone and Samantha Lewis, president of Digital Playground — which made the film — concluded the school’s Sex Week Feb. 18.

Yale Sex Week Operations Director Soren Sudhof said the panel provided educational answers about the film and the pornography industry, surprising the audience.

“Everyone did come out of the panel with genuinely changed views about the porn industry and about the movie,” he said.

Sudhof said that informal Pirates-watching parties had become popular at Yale.

He said that some who normally abstain from the genre “would go to these porn pre-gaming things … to see what all the hype was about,” he said. “The more hype there is, the more people are interested it it, and it perpetuates itself.”

Digital Playground, the film company that made Pirates, contacted student publications at Penn, Harvard and Princeton — including The Daily Pennsylvanian — last week to determine whether students might be interested in a Pirates-related event.

Digital Playground spokeswoman Adella O’Neal said these universities were chosen because, like Yale, they are well-ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Students at Yale and Carnegie Mellon learned of the film independently and contacted the studio regarding events, she said.

O’Neal added that the company is not trying to impose the film on anyone.

She said that the level of education and earning potential of the audience was a factor in targeting well-ranked schools.

Social Planning and Events Committee Film Society Director and College senior Flora Chang said that, to her knowledge, SPEC has never screened an adult film.

Chang said that, if approached with such a film, her committee would review it with an adviser and consider potential audience turnout and University policies before deciding whether to show it.

Pirates has won acclaim for its use of advanced production techniques. The movie cost more than $1,000,000 to produce and market — an industry record — and sold over 200,000 copies.

Adult Video News, a monthly magazine, granted Pirates 24 awards nominations and 11 awards — another record — including best high-definition production, best actor, best actress and best video feature.

Moore said that the film’s theme and quality contributed to its popularity.

“A porn about pirates, kind of along the lines of Pirates of the Caribbean — it’s kind of a novel thing,” he said, adding that the movie looked surprisingly like a high-budget mainstream film.

Sudhof said he saw Pirates as an attempt to guide adult movies toward the mainstream, especially because pornography is not the taboo it once was and sex is prominent in popular movies.

O’Neal said that Digital Playground, owned and operated by women, is marketed toward women and couples as well as men, the industry’s traditional target.

Moore said that though adult movies are often criticized as degrading to women, a female character was “the leader of the gang” and the Carnegie Mellon Women’s Center supported the film.

However, Moore said he would expect a response similar to the one at Carnegie Mellon at any university.

“Pretty much anywhere, you’re still going to find a reaction,” Moore said.



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