I began by writing and producing, while my partner, Lauren Niemi, directed. She and I conceived the idea of Femme Productions together with the blessings and financing of my ex-husband¹s family who were successful producers and distributors in Europe. My ex-husband, Per Sjosted, was also a terrific producer and assistant director who worked on the project with us. Our first two movies were “FEMME” and “URBAN HEAT”. With our third, “CHRISTINE’S SECRET”, I began to co-direct. “CHRISTINE’S SECRET” won five awards that year from the East Coast Critics Association including “Ladies Choice”. (This predates the AVN awards!) With “THREE DAUGHTERS”, I became the director. (Lauren went on to do other work.) After having VCA as our distributor, we launched FEMME DISTRIBUTION in 1987 with THREE DAUGHTERS, a very expensive movie for that time with a budget of $75,000 (still a big budget in the adult industry!). THREE DAUGHTERS went on to be our biggest seller for many years and received an award for the sound track which was created by the British musician, Gary Window, who played with Pink Floyd, the Psychedelic Furs and whose studio we recorded it in. Gary also happened to be the husband of the star of THREE DAUGHTERS, Siobhan Hunter.
Then I produced a three volume set called the STAR DIRECTOR SERIES, with each volume consisting of two short stories written and directed by an adult film-star: “TASTE OF AMBROSIA” featured pieces by Veronica Hart and myself; RITES OF PASSION featured pieces by Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera; and “SENSUAL ESCAPE” featured pieces by Gloria Leonard and myself. “SENSUAL ESCAPE” brought us three AVN awards including ³Best Sex Scene² starring Nina Hartley and Richard Pacheco (who had been hot to work with each other for some time! Richard stopped appearing in adult movies once HIV became an issue and only returned to work for Femme because we adopted a safer sex policy).
Next came “REVELATIONS”, our first 35mm film, which I spent a year working on before releasing it in 1992. This was a very political piece about what life would be like without the freedom to express ourselves creatively and sexually. It was my response to the right-wing attacks on the adult industry and the apathy of consumers buying and renting adult movies but not standing up for their right to do so. This movie is frighteningly pertinent once again given today’s political climate.
In 1995, wanting to return exclusively to production, I signed on with Adam and Eve to finance and distribute more FEMME movies. The first, “MY SURRENDER”, was released in 1996, and won AVN’s Best Actress award for Jeanna Fine. (It has also been nominated for four other awards including directing and editing.)
After that I directed “THE GIFT”, a romantic love-story with lots of lush outdoor locations, starring Shauna McCullough, a terrific actress, and the ever sexy Mark Davis; “BRIDAL SHOWER”, which starred Nina Hartley and a bunch a other terrific actresses; “ONE SIZE FITS ALL: A SEX COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS”, which featured a great ensemble cast of women including Missy, Nina Hartley and Shauna McCullough, and also some great guys including Mark Davis and Tom Byron; “EYES OF DESIRE” PARTS ONE and TWO, a steamy dramatic two-parter starring Missy and her then husband, Micky G; and a really fun comedy, “STUD HUNTERS”, which starred Ava Vincent and Alexandra Silk and a bunch of New York ³studs² that I discovered. STUD HUNTERS received five AVN nominations that year, including best director and best editing.
In 2005 we released a lush visual piece with little dialogue called “CARIBBEAN HEAT”. It was shot in Panama and featured the directorial debut of a young woman named Manuela Sabrosa, and produced by Italian writer/film-maker Michele Capozzi.
In 2007 we just released a really fun sex comedy called “UNDER THE COVERS” that features a mixed cast of new performers from New York and a couple of stars from LA; and ³AFRODITE SUPERSTAR², the first in our new line of erotic movies featuring a mix of ethnic talent. We¹re calling that line FEMME CHOCOLAT. It¹s also the first in my new project of grooming young new female directors.
I think it’s difficult to generalize, but I think it’s safe to say that women are more likely to understand what other women want. In my opinion, women – or at least my audience – want a context. We don’t just want to see two people come in to a room and start having sex. We want to know who these people are, why they’re having sex, and what kind of sex they would have given their situation.
Also, as I often point out, women aren’t such delicate flowers. We like to see the sex, but we want to see it done well, and we don’t necessarily want to see every scene end with a cum shot (there are no cum shots in my movies save a few that happened spontaneously and I thought were sexy enough to leave in), especially one on the woman’s face. It’s more about the quality of the sex rather than how outrageous or violating it can be. Then again, there are definitely woman who DO like to see the cum shots as well as extreme sex. What I’m seeing young women put out now seems in some ways every bit as hard core as what most guys produce
I define the Femme line as “sensuously explicit” adult erotic movies that women can relate to and share with their partners. My movies feature high production values, non-formulaic eroticism sans the gynecological close-ups and obligatory “money shots”, and attractive people who are more realistic, varied in age and body type, who genuinely relate to each other with passion and sensitivity. I try to create characters with personalities and real lives and relationships, and make every effort to hire actors and actresses who can stay in character once the sex starts rather than reverting back to being porn stars and studs.
Women tend to thank me for creating movies that are sensitive to what they want to see, that encompass class and taste, and make them feel good about themselves and their sexuality. Men thank me for creating movies that they can share with their woman. Some say they’re used to harder movies but are happy mine turn their woman on, while others bemoan the fact that so many assume they like the so-called “male porn” when they in fact prefer what I do.