Candice Vadala aka Candida Royalle is known to many as the “godmother of feminist porn.” She began her career as an adult performer at the height of the sexual revolution, and in her thirties turned to directing and producing her own films, which flipped the male gaze on its head by focusing on women’s sexual pleasure. She produced pioneering porn that was radically different from the mainstream and invited women to proudly explore and celebrate their sexuality.
In Candice, director Sheona McDonald goes beyond the headlines to craft a layered portrait of the woman behind the icon. The film captures Vadala in her sixties when, confronted with an ovarian cancer diagnosis, she is eager to tell her story in her words and to confront questions that have haunted her since childhood. Through intimate conversations, in true cinema verité style, McDonald portrays Candice as a prolific filmmaker, entrepreneur, and advocate for women’s rights, but also as a woman coming to terms with a tumultuous personal life. Candice is ultimately a tribute to a resilient woman who unapologetically carved her own path. The dialogue she brought forward on sex positivity and women’s sexual autonomy echoes far beyond the adult film industry. -MS