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Sep 6, 2019

Maria Beatty is a filmmaker who for the past two decades has been working with themes of feminism, subversion, abjection, body politics and the agency of womens’ desire. 

Maria is inspired by expressionist German cinema, French surrealism, American film noir, and gay underground filmmakers such as Jean Genet and Kenneth Anger, who set new standards in erotic cinema.

After a start in the ’80s as a photographer for musicians and performance artists, Maria started filming in Super 8, making experimental short movies that profiled the eccentric women and transexuals living on the Lower East Side of New York City.

In 1989, she directed her first film, entitled Gang of Souls, a documentary that explored the insights and influence of the Beat poets on the artistic rock and poetry scene. Artists featured in this film include William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jim Carroll, Marianne Faithfull, Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch, and Henry Rollins. 

Maria also directed two more documentaries. The first one, entitled, Sphinxes Without Secrets (1991) presents  work produced by women performance artists, among them Diamanda Galas, Carolee Schneemann, Holly Hughes, and Annie Sprinkle. Sluts and Goddesses (1992) came next; it delves into the slut and goddess sides of female sexuality.

In 1995, Maria produced her first erotic film, The Elegant Spanking which was shot in black and white, without words, and accompanied by music and sound composed by John Zorn. In it, she portrays a submissive maid, in a sadomasochistic relationship with another woman.

In 1997, she shot and produced The Black Glove, which quickly became a cult film. That same year, she started her own distribution company, Bleu Productions, and since then she has produced, directed and edited over thirty lesbian and queer transgressive erotic films. She has performed in several of her movies, live stage performances, and was featured in the documentaries, Didn’t Do It For Love by Monika Treut and Fetishes by Nick Broomfield.