THE LOVERS

Dafnah, a “Professional Lover,” has organized her life for minimal technological interaction and maximal sexual interaction. She fucks for sport, for love, for work, for meaning. Having grown up in a strict religious home, the daughter of a Rabbi, she is no stranger to living with rules. Her own life has two: no internet in her home and no cis men in her bed-- even for work. At 36, working for Veronica, a former Madame, and picking up gigs as an extra for Pool Boi Productions, a radical erotic cinema company, she has finally built a life that fully reflects her values. Then, the pandemic hits. Suddenly, touch can be lethal and sociality demands technology.
Through seven episodes and nine characters, an inter-related network of sexual and spiritual workers find their ways through rapidly changing unknowns.

  • Daviel Shy
    Writer
    The Ladies Almanack
  • Daviel Shy
    Director
    The Ladies Almanack
  • Luka Fisher
    Producer
  • Samantha Kelly
    Associate Producer, Editor
  • Project Type:
    Television, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Romance, LGBTQ, comedy, drama
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 31, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    28,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Mixed
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Daviel Shy

Daviel Shy wrote and directed THE LADIES ALMANACK, starring Guinevere Turner, Hélène Cixous, and Eileen Myles, which premiered at Outfest in 2017, THE LOVERS, a seven episode series currently in post-production, and over a dozen short films. She was associate producer of the 2008 Independent Film Week selection, BODY OF WORK, and the widely acclaimed documentary, LADY BUDS. Shy’s writing has been published by Taylor & Francis, University of Chicago Press, and extensively online. Her fiction will appear in the Anthology, SLUTS edited by Michelle Tea, (forthcoming, 2024.) She runs L.M.N.O.P: Lesbian Movie Night Ongoing Project, celebrating its twelfth year.

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Director Statement

With this project, we re-imagine ways of working in and through the pandemic that foreground collaboration and equality, and use the nature of this disease’s communicability as creative constraints for storytelling and production. As such, my community and I have become the subjects and cinematographers, filming ourselves in our own spaces, braiding the scenes together into a pastiche of perspectives. We draw upon our own experiences as lesbians, sex workers, witches, adult entertainers, polyamorous lovers, entrepreneurs, erotic cinema makers, fitness fiends, astrology interpreters, tarot enthusiasts, ex-addicts, ex-Jews, ex-Catholics, radicals, and believers.
As the daughter of a Rabbi, I was raised in a religious household in which the rituals of our practice took center stage. As an adult, I drifted away from Jewish observance but my artistic and personal interests in leather, BDSM, sports, and other experiences of physical extremes reminded me of the discipline and devotion required by my religious upbringing. With The Lovers, I wanted to foreground the forbidden yet inherent connection between the holy and the sexual. I began to ask how engaged, erotic living can be a path to liberation. I wondered, how can kink, BDSM, and queer desire radicalize and reclaim our bodies from the state and religious traumas that have shaped them?
Since my nearest and dearest community includes current and former sex workers, mediums, and astrologers, it was only fitting that the story and creative team behind this project include a variety of workers in spirituality and in trade, as well as those engaged in kink and fetish 24/7 lifestyle dynamics. These same individuals are also parents, school teachers, veterans, students, and PTA leaders, none of which are mutually exclusive roles from the aforementioned. We wanted to make a lighthearted yet poignant series about the decisions and issues that we face in our specific though societally prohibitive, intersecting communities. Some of us play ourselves. Some of us play our characters despite the risk in associating ourselves with a sex-positive production in an ever hostile environment toward sex work. We are a team of filmmakers and artists committed to this story despite the risk. We have come together with the goal of redefining the production process for the safety and pleasure of all collaborators. Our project weaves together a story of connectivity over distance. We share equipment and responsibilities, and work with care and flexibility around risk profiles and day-job schedules. We are self-authoring this story because it felt urgent to respond to the shifting world with love and care for ourselves and each other.