• "Orgasm Inc .," which opened nationwide last month, is documentary filmmaker Liz Canner's first-hand, nine-year account of a would-be medical breakthrough shooting itself in the foot. In 2000, she took a job for Vivus—the medical company claiming to have developed the Viagra equivalent for women—editing provocative videos for test subjects supposedly stricken with the “disease” of Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). Discovering that certain Vivus employees themselves weren't all that knowledgeable about FSD, she dug deeper, interviewing other drug, patch and device makers (including the inventor of the now-notorious “Orgasmatron”), as well as their proponents, subjects and detractors. The result is a probing, illuminating documentary that could protect scores of healthy women from misdiagnosis and in turn damaging side effects. Screen Comment talked with Liz Canner about making "Orgasm Inc."

    How did you develop the idea for “Orgasm Inc”? Was it something you always wanted to make a film about or did the idea come about gradually after working for Vivus?

    Liz Canner: I had been shooting documentaries on human rights issues for about a decade, and I was burnt out from looking at footage of genocide and police brutality. Images from my films started to give me nightmares, so I decided that my next film would be on something more upbeat. And then I started having pleasurable dreams.

    I decided to work on a film on the history of what medics and scientists had said about women, conception, sexual response and pleasure. I was in the middle of working on that when I got offered the editing job at Vivus, and I realized this would be a great way to look at what the contemporary notions are about women and pleasure. So I asked [the people at Vivus] if I could film them and they said OK.