“WANTED: Anonymous Naked Male Subjects to appear on camera for interviews.” In August 2008, Brian Fender posted an ad on Craigslist inviting strangers into his living room. Over the course of a year he would interview a vast cross-section of subjects ranging in age from 21-80 - from monks to transsexuals, ex-marines to designers - about their relationships with their penises. Hoping to demystify, illuminate and even celebrate this often-ignored “member” in our society, This DIY documentary is a revealing and candid exploration of what it means to have a dick.
My motivation for all of my creative endeavors is social justice, education, and exposure that would otherwise not be provided to the average person. Dick The Documentary is simultaneously about personal and creative freedom. Since I was old enough to point and speak I have been fascinated by what most people try and pretend isn’t there at all. Like most children, that curiosity was conditioned out of me and my modus operandi became dependent on what those who surrounded me considered appropriate behavior. When I started to develop my creative life in my thirties, I naturally went back to exploring topics that made other people uncomfortable; much to my families chagrin. But it wasn’t until the age of 40 that my therapist looked at me and said, “Brian you haven’t lived in that small town for twenty two years. You don’t have to abide by their rules anymore. You can be whoever you want to be.” These were obvious statements, but surprisingly ones that my 40-year-old self needed to hear. Not too long after that session I found myself sitting in an HBO sponsored symposium for independent filmmakers and my mind started to wander. I started asking myself what documentary could I make that would be commercially viable. Then I thought the only guarantee for a commercially viable documentary would have to be about sex. I thought about what my therapist said to me and I knew what my next documentary was going to be about. I got up from my seat in the auditorium, took the subway to my apartment on the Upper West Side, and placed an ad on Craigslist.
“WANTED: Nude male subjects for documentary film.” Within an hour I had three responses, was shooting the next day, and over the following year would invite 63 strangers from the ages of 22 – 82 into my dining room to take their clothes off and discuss how they have been affected by their DICKS. After the first three interviews I spoke to my mother on the phone and told her what I was filming. She said, “Can’t you wait until your grandmothers are dead?!” Her immediate response is similar to many reactions I’ve encountered when I tell people about my project. But eventually, people’s hesitation gives way to curiosity and what emerges is an unending list of questions about the film or their own confessions and funny stories. How have other men been affected by their penises from puberty to impotence? How have their opinions changed if at all? How do they feel about their dicks? Do boys get information about their dicks and sexuality when they are going through puberty? How do men feel about other men’s dicks? It is my intent that this frank exposure and the accompanying narratives will help demystify Men and their DICKS and broaden the dialogue of human sexuality.