Arts Desk

Porno Dan’s Adventures at Slamdance

The Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, is kind of like Sundance—the film gathering it competes with each year—but condensed to a single hotel. And Dan Leal—the subject of the Slamdance selection Danland—is kind of like the porn industry, but condensed to a single basement.

Or, at least, that's how Dan Leal became Porno Dan—by quitting his job selling office machines and filming himself having sex in his townhouse near Tysons Corner. New York filmmaker Alexandra Berger became aware of Leal's world eight years ago when a friend of hers, a recent D.C. transplant, told her he'd joined a Yahoo group for “fulfilling women's fantasies having multiple partners at the same time,” Berger says. Leal contacted the group and offered it a place, as long as he could film it.

“I had thought it would be interesting and wanted to photograph it,” says Berger inside Slamdance HQ, the Treasure Mountain Inn on Park City's Main Street. That particular photo shoot never happened, but Leal got back in touch. Berger and her husband/producer/occasional director of photography Avi Zev Weider decided to make a feature-length documentary.

The film that emerged, Danland, is a three-year journey into the life of a amateur DVD pornographer. Berger followed Leal from his ad hoc porn studio to to the AVNs—basically, the porno Oscars—and back to the Baltimore area as he revealed all he wanted was a little love. The film shows Leal's transition from performer to producer, as he lets go of his gonzo lifestyle and begins creating the DVD series "Fuck a Fan."

As Dan's own amateur porn acting declines, his love life begins to blossom—a coincidental development, Berger says, that perfectly frames the story. “[Alex] is able to hone in on people's core and what's making them tic and what's their desire,” said Weider. “She clued in on that really fast. Functionally for us, as filmmakers, things just began to present themselves to us.”

Recently, as sales of porn DVDs have declined, Leal's Immoral Productions has moved into streamed live shows. He's also co-starring in a reality show centered on his production assistant, The Right Hand, for a Canadian cable channel.

These days, though, Leal's products have none of the lawyers-by-day who appeared in his early DVDs. “I think there was this general amateur porn thing going on the nation's capital, and on the surface it's interesting because when you think of porn you think of L.A.," says Berger. "Or some S&M on the West Side of Manhattan. You don't think basement, swinger gang bangs in D.C.”

Danland premiered at Slamdance, and now it's off to the festival circuit following a successful Kickstarter campaign.

 

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  • maevictoria

    douchebag pornographer to the highest, no mystery there.

  • Lawyer/DJ

    Porn Dan is THAT dude. I first met him at a legendary nightclub in DC. Homey is legit. Helluva nice guy, and always hanging out with cuties that like to get it on. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!!!!

    Kudos to you Porno Dan

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