This film contains adult material.
If you can imagine it, you can find it on the internet – or so it’s been said. But, in the rare cases when this adage proves false, the team at Anatomik Media are here to help. This Los Angeles-based production studio, run by the husband-and-wife team Dan and Rhiannon Humes, specialises in custom fetish videos. The couple used to produce more traditional porn films, but found their calling in bringing people’s fantasies to life. In the short documentary Dream World, the director Chung Nguyen takes viewers behind the scenes at Anatomik, probing the often strange and unexpected, yet sometimes quite rich and emotional work of making dreams a reality.
While the studio’s initial commissions veered toward the sexual, the business has since become ‘something else’, as Dan Humes puts it, with the filmmakers now receiving all manner of requests. Sometimes, they’re asked to recreate a treasured or troubled childhood memory, giving their client the safety to revisit something that might have provoked fear, anxiety or excitement at the time, and to experience it anew. In this way, these custom videos can even be therapeutic – ‘an anchor’ tethering the viewer to the world.
Although it is a collaborative process, where clients send in ideas, sometimes even a script, and the filmmakers and actors work together to bring it to life, the enjoyment of the video is ultimately very personal, and the team might never know how it was received. Yet, despite this distance between business and customer, one actor describes the possibility for an ‘intimate, interpersonal connection’, because clients have trusted her with their desires and allowed her to embody them.
There’s a gentle humour without judgment, great compassion and evident joy in how the team approach their work, and the empathic way they view their clients’ unique requests. For the filmmakers and actors, it’s a privilege to be allowed to see this part of a person that’s usually a secret, and it’s deeply fulfilling to be able to make a client’s secret dreams come true. What some would treat with mirth – a foot fetish, say – is instead allowed to be an expression of something deeply personal, an appreciation for the beauty in what others find mundane. For the filmmaking team, these intimate details provide a meaningful glimpse into what makes us each uniquely human.
Written by Freya Howarth
Director: Chung Nguyen
Website: The Hidden Frame