by Rich Moreland, October 2016
Angie Rowntree and her husband Colin are leaders in the internet porn business.
Mindbrowse is marketed as “a place where the adult entertainment industry’s ideas go to grow up.”
All photos are courtesy of Angie and Colin Rowntree.
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In the second part of my interview with Angie Rowntree, I brought up Mindbrowse.
Do the woman-friendly podcasts contribute to the crossing over phenomenon?
“Encouraging crossover isn’t a goal of Mindbrowse events per se, but we do want to let the consumer see behind the ‘porn curtain’ and understand neither porn nor the porn industry is a monolith,” Angie says.
In following that approach, the podcasts reflect a variety of purposes or functions, she indicates.
“I hope to answer some of their (the viewers) questions while tackling real issues within the adult entertainment industry like performer consent and the ever-expanding leadership role played by women in the industry.”
Having written about the adult business for a few years now, I understand what Angie is doing. Women are finally moving to the forefront though not as fast as some would like. Tragically, the recent loss of Candida Royalle silenced a pioneering voice for female empowerment in porn.
The founder of Sssh.com gives us a little perspective on the strides women have made on both sides of the camera.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize just how much the industry has changed since the old days and how many women are writing, directing, and producing adult films these days, not just performing in them.”
So true. Jacky St. James, Mason, Courtney Trouble, Nicole Noelle, and jessica drake come immediately to mind as innovative women who are moving forward with their own brand.
Candida Royalle’s FEMME Productions started it all, setting a standard for production company ownership and shooting sex that laid the groundwork for the generation of women that followed her.
That thought leads me to bring up Gone, Angie’s award winning contribution to porn’s female-friendly Hall of Fame. The production stars Madeline Blue in an emotional performance and is the kind of film Candida Royalle would admire.
Cinema exhibitions such as the Swedish International Film Festival, Cinekink, the Los Angeles Film Festival, Wendy’s Shorts, and the Holly International Film Festival honored Gone in 2016 with an “Official Selection” for mainstream audiences.
Other accolades specific to the porn crowd were given out in 2016 by AVN and XBIZ.
Angie was also recently recognized as a ground breaker.
“I was the first person from the adult industry to speak at a Sundance workshop,” she says. The subject was “Creative Tensions: Sex.”
Obviously, Gone as a narrative has moved past traditional porn expectations into a more literary worthy realm. Has it created a compromise or midway genre between hardcore and mainstream?
Angie is unsure about that but she does know the film “represents an approach to merging a story with explicit sex [and] that’s a road much less traveled in porn.”
She mentions there are “a number of erotic films with strong plots and character, but the vast bulk of adult entertainment these days is ‘gonzo’ porn–meaning no story, no characters, essentially nothing but wall-to-wall sex.” That’s not her cup of porn tea.
“I like story, I like context, and I like the sex between characters to mean something within the story, rather than the story be nothing but a handful of disconnected sex scenes.”
Could that be the formula that punches porn’s ticket onto the mainstream stage?
Perhaps, but there is more.
Naturally, when we’re talking narrative with plot and dialogue acting has to step up. Is there a greater demand on porn performers to beef up their acting skills?
That depends according to the eras of porn you’re talking about, Angie asserts.
“Is there more demand for them to be able to act than in the late 1990s and early aughts when gonzo really started to take a dominant position in the market? Possibly. But if you compare it to the early days of porn, even if you think the acting in those movies was atrocious, you have to admit there was more acting on average than there is most modern porn.”
The director mentions films like those she shoots and the currently popular “porn parodies of mainstream superhero movies” do value acting. As for Gone, Madeline Blue and her co-star, Gee Richards, certainly pass the theatrical test.
On the other hand, acting is not an ingredient in gonzo where sexual frolics and “how someone looks while performing them” sells the product, Angie says.
Simply put, adult film is an opportunity for those who want to turn up their creativity a notch and for others who just want to play.
Finally, I inquire about crossing over as an influence how adult films are made.
“I can’t speak for other directors, but it’s a consideration for anybody who intends to distribute their work on platforms like cable or satellite which are subject to a lot more scrutiny and tighter standards than content produced strictly for internet and DVD distribution.”
It can stimulate rethinking on how to shoot a scene, though it doesn’t affect dialogue, she believes.
“I’m definitely mindful of needing to shoot in a way that the sex scenes will hold up and still be arousing and hot, even after being edited for penetration or otherwise altered for broadcast.”
We’re looking forward to more from Angie Rowntree. Another production like Gone that stimulates story and emotion is needed in today’s porn environment.
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Colin Rowntree at work. You can follow him on twitter here.