END OF LOVE is a feature documentary film about the epidemic of youth and young adults being convicted of downloading and distributing child pornography - why is it happening and what does it say about who we are?
"END OF LOVE promises to be an important and even necessary film, one that will open our eyes to a tangled social, legal, and psycho-sexual problem that we would all rather avert our gaze from. The problem is pandemic and effects thousands of families and hundreds of thousands of individuals, most of them adolescents caught in the web of Internet pornography. END OF LOVE makes it possible for us to begin confronting it now."
Russell Banks, Author, Lost Memory of Skin
"Never before have filmmakers taken such an unflinching look at the way porn, as the major form of Sex Ed today, is laying waste to a generation of boys and young men. END OF LOVE is long overdue and will become a documentary that will, without doubt, reframe how people think about the effects of porn on consumers and on the culture."
Professor Gail Dines, Author, Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality
Possession and distribution of Internet child pornography is one of the fastest growing prosecuted crimes in the U.S, increasing 150 percent every year since the mid-2000s. Yet meaningful conversations about why people download child porn and the potential of rehabilitation are almost non-existent.
Josh spent his childhood dreaming of playing professional baseball. At 7, while home sick from school, he caught his first glimpse of Internet pornography. “By 13 I’d started seeking it out...all my friends were...It was normal.” In high school, Josh, by then a talented right fielder and gifted student, spent four hours a day watching Internet porn. As Josh's addiction to online porn intensified, so did his appetite for hardcore, sometimes violent content. “The old stuff wasn’t doing it for me anymore,” he recalls. “I knew this wasn’t normal and couldn’t tell anyone.”
At 14, Josh landed on investigators' radar for downloading child pornography, but wasn’t arrested until he was 18, ensuring he’d be prosecuted as an adult. Psychologists testified during the sentencing hearing that Josh had no desire to make contact with a child and that he exhibited none of the characteristics of a pedophile; and they recommended that he be rehabilitated through treatment, not incarcerated as a sex offender. But the judge, following mandatory minimum guidelines for sentencing, sent him to prison for eight years. Josh is now living in a trailer on his father’s land, and has a landscaping job with a neighbor. His life is structured around meeting the requirements of his sex-offender probation.
Stories like Josh’s are not uncommon as more and more young men struggle to navigate the intersection of technology and sex. The average American male is now exposed to porn for the first time at age 10. Eighty percent of 15- to 17-year-old males have had multiple exposures to hardcore pornography. With the proliferation of porn and the growing number of adolescents raised in a digital world, we find ourselves in a vast, uncontrolled social experiment. One parent asks, “What did we do wrong?” END OF LOVE asks, what have we done wrong as a society? By wrapping the personal narratives of our three main subjects around an examination of the social, legal, and technological issues, we hope to show that this is not an “us and them” problem.
END OF LOVE raises critically important questions around a taboo subject and shows how child pornography destroys the lives of vulnerable youth on both sides of the screen.
My nephew was arrested in Operation Candyman in 2002. He started his fascination with porn when he was in high school. He was 26 and single when he was arrested. He spent almost two years in a federal medium security facility. He is now 38, and he has just recently gotten a job as a cook after being out of work for 18 months. Before that he was a server in a restaurant. But he has a college degree and was a teacher before he was arrested. He would be homeless if I had not been in a position to buy a small house for him. I guess I'm telling you all this because everything you said in your interview on Radio Vermont is so on target, and I am just so grateful that someone is addressing this issue in this way.
We are acutely aware of the inherent challenges of END OF LOVE. While many of our characters were arrested and prosecuted for downloading child pornography, none of them ever attempted to make contact with a child. Our advisory board has worked closely with us to carefully vet our subjects. We realize we’re asking a lot of them by being on film and have had long discussions about the ramifications of their participation, including the risk of vigilante blowback. Mutual trust is always important in documentary filmmaking and we are placing a premium on that trust for this film.
People have difficulty with the subject of pornography in general, and child pornography is an exceptionally sensitive issue. We have encountered a few subjects who decided after initial interviews that they do not want to be involved in the film. One mother felt that her participation in the film could compromise her son’s re-entry into the community after his release from prison. Another subject worried that participation in the film could diminish his professional opportunities and compromise his legal status. We understand their concerns. One of our biggest challenges to date has been spending the time gaining the trust of our subjects. That trust is key to our next stage of production - spending intimate time with our characters shooting material from which compelling stories unfold.
This is a critical moment for our film. We have raised seed money that has allowed us to engage in significant research over the past two years. Now, we have identified our 3 major characters, and several secondary characters. And, it's time to be in the field shooting their stories. Our goal is to raise $35,000 this fall. Your donations will allow us to spend coming months shooting crucial footage that will form the backbone of our film. For example, a donation of $500 will cover our cameraman’s rate for one day. A donation of $5000 will cover all costs for one week of shooting. This is an expensive stage in the production of a film, but arguably the most important in getting this story told. With your help, we anticipate releasing END OF LOVE in 2018. All donations are tax deductible.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
Please share this page with people you know who will be interested in supporting the film. And, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter. Help us spread the word about these issues and our film! Please donate what you can. Every little bit counts and makes a difference. Thank you in advance for your support.