Freedom of Choice
Manhattan-based director Jacky Goldberg is going to present his latest documentary film called Flesh Memory at this year´s festival. In nearly one hour time, he observes his hero Finley during her everyday activities, which consist mainly in making her own videos for erotic portals, sex on the phone and her own perfumes production. Finley´s customers see her as a carefree, attractive woman. However, she also bears worries and failures she has gone through in her life, just as anybody else.
The main character of your film, earns her living by providing sexual services online. Not only her neighbourhood, but also huge part of population judges this kind of labour. What’s your opinion about this way of earning the living?
First and foremost, as a filmmaker, I don’t judge the people I chose to film, especially Finley who trusted me enough to let me into her intimacy. So even I didn’t like what she does, I wouldn’t allow myself to judge it. Or I just wouldn’t make the film.
Then, as a citizen, even before I decided to make this film, I was in favour of caming, and sex work in general, if done in normal conditions, not like slavery. Finley is an independent worker, she has no boss, she makes a decent living (she was very poor beforehand), and she feels no shame at all. She’s at ease with her body, she decides what she does and what she shows… So I’m totally cool with that.
Your protagonist strips down not only psychically but also mentally. During her time on the webcam, she acts independently and sedately. However, you were able to go underneath her tough skin and record her confrontation with her real emotions and troubles. Was it difficult to get so close to her?
It wasn’t so difficult for two reasons. First, Finley has known me for more than 12 years and trusts me. I already made a short film inspired by her (a pure fiction), that she saw and enjoyed at the time. So it wasn’t too hard to convince her I would respect her and her story truthfully. Secondly, she’s a natural exhibitionist and likes to share her life on social media. She keeps telling her friends what happens to her, and she considers me as a friend. The trickiest part was about her child, since I wanted him in the film, but couldn’t film him for legal reasons. I’ve to come up with formal ideas in order to include him without showing him. He’s absent, but he’s at the center of everything.
Has anything changed in Finley´s life after the shooting?
Yes, many things. I’m not sure exactly how it relates to the shooting, but she has done many changes in her life. First, she stopped caming. She was bored, so she stopped. It’s not that she was ashamed, but after 5 years of doing it, she wanted to try something new. So she’s currently figuring out her next job. Not a perfume maker (it didn’t work) but probably a community manager since she’s good at it.
Then, she got half custody of her son back, after a long, expensive and painful judiciary battle with her ex-husband.
Finally, she’s more social, goes out a little more…
As anybody else, she grows up, becomes wiser and is trying to have a better life equilibrium.
I would like to make another film about her, but this time including myself, later.