Inside Lara Roxx is a moving documentary about Lara, a young Montreal native who had been working in the porn industry for two months when she became the first of three  women who contracted HIV from a male pornstar in LA. The doc explores Lara’s life after the press frenzy surrounding her diagnosis, following her through mental health wards, the porn industry in LA and Vegas, crack addiction, and more. This films reveals a powerful connection between director and subject, and we spoke with Mia Donovan about the experience of making such a powerful piece. 

What was your ultimate objective with this doc? 
It’s easy for a lot of people to dismiss a news item about a girl like Lara who contracted HIV while working in porn. I wanted to make this movie to make people aware of the precarious working conditions that porn stars work in despite the fact that pornography is becoming more and more associated with the mainstream.  

What do you think about the porn industry in LA? How does it make you feel? 
I think the porn industry in LA can be a very intimidating environment for young women. Any girl that is thinking about getting into porn has to realize that there really aren’t any industry-wide rules or regulations, so she has got to make up her own personal rules and stick to them. And there will always be pressure from agents and producers to do more than you may be comfortable with and they will tell you anything to try to get you to go along with them. They will offer you more money or fame or threaten to tell other producers not to hire if you don’t comply. 

What is the biggest misunderstanding about HIV today? 
I was extremely surprised that a 28-year-old male friend of mine didn’t think a girl could contracted HIV from anal sex, as Lara had. That was a huge shock to me. 

What was the biggest challenge you faced making this doc? 
The biggest challenge was getting it funded and convincing people that Lara Roxx’s story was universal enough for people to relate to. 

What part of Lara’s story affects you the most? 
Her self-destructive side, the part of her that is vulnerable to drugs. 

In the wake of finishing your film, what other questions opened up? 
What will become of Lara five years from now? And how our audience will respond. 

How did making Inside Lara Roxx change you? 
I guess making Inside Lara Roxx taught me a lot about patience and perseverance. I never gave up on Lara even when most of the people in her life had. It took her over five years to really confront her personal demons and I truly believe she has a bright future. 

Inside Lara Roxx screens

Thu, May 5 6:30 PM
Bloor Cinema

Fri, May 6 9:45 PM
Cumberland 2

Sun, May 8 9:30 PM
The Royal Cinema

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