Tag Archives: Pure Taboo

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Four

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

In this final installment on writer/director Bree Mills, we asked three female porn super stars about working with the Gamma Films head of production. 

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Casey Calvert

I’ve interviewed Casey Calvert several times over the years she has been an adult film actress. I can always depend on the native Floridian to give me the lowdown on the industry. She is honest and smart.

Today’s topic is Bree Mills.

“Bree is one of my favorite directors to work with. She cares about her product and to me that means performance,” Casey says.

The former fetish model refers to the “product” as the “actual scene” filmed, not a “pop-up” internet ad or a “photograph for Instagram.”

That’s important because Bree’s attitude privileges her cast to also “care about the product.” It’s leadership by example.

Does Bree’s gender matter? Is she formulating the modern female director in porn?

Casey doubts that. “I don’t think that Bree’s gender impacts how she runs her set. I think Bree’s personality impacts how she runs her set.”

Admittedly, many directors care about what they shoot, Casey continues. But with Bree, things are different. “Bree is just in a really unique position where the company that she is working for also cares about the product.”

Speaking of the brand and its content, I suggest that Pure Taboo is edgy and a little bit creepy.

Casey doesn’t dispute my assessment, but qualifies it with “sometimes,” particularly as it applies to “creepy.”

I reference her performance in Don’t Talk to Strangers. Of special interest to me is the moment Casey jabs the syringe in Gina Valentina instantly terminating a victim Casey and her husband had kept in sexual confinement. I describe her role as “nasty.”

Casey smiles. “That was my character. I was a lot of fun.”

Did Bree give her any special directions to bring out that malevolence.

“She gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do with that character,” Casey replies.

I speculate that Casey must have dug into her psyche to find the capacity for evil we all carry within ourselves.

“Right,” she responds. “I had the creative freedom to be weird and to be creepy. I didn’t have to make it campy. I didn’t have to make it silly.”

After a pause, Casey Calvert summarizes what is so special about working for Bree Mills.

“I was given permission to just be an actor.”

In the adult film world, that is an affirmation like no other.

Kenna James

Kenna James is new to me and a special girl, I immediately learned. Her bubbly personality is among the best in the industry. After introducing myself at the Adult Time booth, I persuaded her to sit down with my team in the press room.

I’m curious to know how Kenna describes working with Gamma Films.

“Shooting for Bree Mills is unlike shooting for anybody else in this business. I don’t know where she comes up with her ideas, if it’s just a memory bank or a vault. It’s incredible.”

Kenna’s smile warms her enthusiasm.

“Bree’s such an amazing person to be around because she’s so uplifting. Even when you’re dragging and you’re down and you’ve been on set for eighteen hours and you’re tired and cranky.”

I’m aware that Kenna has shot for Jacky St. James. What are the differences between the two directors?

The native Midwesterner observes that there are differences and similarities.

“They’re both very strong women who are brilliant at what they do.”

Kenna is effusive about Jacky. They are best friends, she says. “I adore her with all my heart. With Jacky it’s this playful, loving banter all the time.”

On the other hand, she mentions, it’s different with Bree, but it’s not easy to describe.

“I’m really bad at explaining with words, so I like mental pictures,” Kenna says, laughing.

I help her out a little. Perhaps Jacky may seem huggable.

“Yes,” Kenna replies.

And Bree may be down and dirty.

“Yes,” Kenna says, beaming.

Then I make the script observation I’ve done with other performers. Jacky wants dialogue as its written; Bree prefers improvisation.

“They’re very opposite,” Kenna affirms.

Finally, she distinguishes the two writer/directors with an analogy (or as Kenna would put, her “mental picture”)

“I would get on a motorcycle and go riding with Bree. Jacky, I would go dancing with.”

Perfectly put.

Whitney Wright

Whitney Wright is a native Oklahoman whose name in the business is A-list personified. She is one of Bree Mill’s go-to performers for reasons we’ve previously mentioned in first installment of this series.

When we relaxed in the press room at this year’s AEE, I ask Whitney to give me her version of the Bree Mills experience.

“I love Bree so much,” the former nursing student says with an affectionate laugh. “I had never shot for Gamma before she gave me a chance on Pure Taboo and I think that was partially thanks to Craven Morehead as well.”

Whitney and Craven follow each other on social media and he noticed a fetish scene she had posted. That led to a shoot for Pure Taboo.

Things took off from there.

“I’ve got seven or eight scenes on Pure Taboo alone [with] three more coming. So, Gamma is essentially like bread and butter. They’re the people I shoot for so much,” Whitney says.

Give us some words to describe Bree.

Whitney quickly rattles off “motivational. inspiring, vivid, animate.” Then, she adoringly adds “weird.”

“I think that’s why we get along so well,” Whitney says, reflecting on her list, especially “weird.”

I mention her role as the girl who is sexually used by a group of guys on her prom night in the Pure Taboo film with the same name.

“I believe that was the second time I had shot for Bree. It was really great. I loved the whole concept and again the taboo of it. That’s something I’ve loved in every scene I’ve shot for her.”

Whitney addresses what attracts her to the Bree Mills product.

“[It’s] the taboo and the complexity of whatever role I’ve been given whether it’s someone with a hidden agenda or someone who’s been wronged and tries to wrong someone else to make up for it. Or like my character in Prom Night who was just an innocent bystander,” Whitney explains.

Pure Taboo is website generated with an active membership so the fans comment on what they see. Whitney loves to hear what they have to say.

“There’s definitely an interesting mix of them,” she says, and their opinions are all over the place. Some fans will say the scene was “too rough” or they felt sorry for her character and they “couldn’t get into it.”

She understands their comments, Whitney says, but reminds us that pulling off the taboo component on-screen is up to the cast.

“Maybe the actress didn’t portray it well or they [fans] couldn’t get into the guy character ‘cause he didn’t sell it.”

That’s important because, as Whitney explains, “I feel like your partner is so vital in how the scene comes off.” That means everybody should be at the top of their game.

Whitney Wright concludes, “I always try to go for the gold. Especially with anything taboo. Whether it’s rougher sex or family stuff or anything like that.”

Achievement requires commitment and hard work, elements this private Christian school grad learned through the value of personal responsibility. They have served her well.

*          *          *

As we stated at the beginning of this series on Bree Mills, the writer/director is reshaping the future of porn. Among her most important contributions is validating that women in positions of influence can make a difference in content, production, and marketing.

Perhaps the days of porn’s entrenched patriarchy are beginning to wane.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Three

By Rich Moreland, April 2019 

In this post and the next, we will take a look at how five performers who exemplify the super star concept in porn react to the question, “What is it like to shoot for Bree Mills?”

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Box cover courtesy of Pure Taboo.

*          *          *

Based in Montreal, Gamma Films Group is an entertainment network that currently maintains several production studios. Among them are Girlsway and Pure Taboo that appear under the umbrella label, Adult Time. Recently, Burning Angel joined the corporate family.

Bree Mills writes, directs, and produces for Gamma Films. She is best known for the operation of Girlsway, an all-female content producer, and Pure Taboo, a niche-oriented studio that, according to its website, delves into “the darkest corners of sex and desire” through the exploration of “forbidden subject matters.”

Key to a Mills production is superb cinematography and impressive acting. Without a specifically written script, performers have the freedom to rely on their talents to create the characters the New England born director wants. The results are spectacular and, in the case of Pure Taboo, often disturbing.

Part of a rising group of female writers and directors in porn, the thirty-something Mills possesses the right skills to fuel performances previously thought foreign to the industry.

Like Jacky St. James, Kayden Kross, Angie Rowntree, and others, Bree Mills knows that the thespian talent in adult film is far greater than the public . . . and many in the industry . . . realize.

Proof is in the 2019 AVN awards. Gamma received an astounding eighty-four nominations that encompassed the best of filmmaking in porn.

*          *          *

In seeking opinions on shooting for Bree Mills, I was fortunate to talk again with three “old friends,” if I may be permitted to use that phrase, and chat for the first time with two performers whose work I’ve come to admire.

To begin, we’ll see what two of porn’s male veterans have to say.

Tommy Pistol

Interviewing Tommy Pistol is always a joy. His acting ability is beyond reproach and his enthusiasm for the industry is likewise unvarnished.

He begins by describing the fundamentals of a Bree Mills film.

“We’re making a feature but it is only a long scene. It’s almost like a play,” he says. “Bree calls it porn theater.”

The native New Yorker elaborates that Bree’s script is not really that, it’s more of a “breakdown, a blueprint.” She describes the characters and “the situations they’re in” and what it all leads to.

“She leaves it up to the actor to fill in the dialogue,” he says. That allows performers to give the characters their voice within the framework of the story.

The result is an intensity that adult actors rarely get to show on-screen.

“Bree trusts her performers to do dramatic, dark roles, to dig deep,” Tommy explains. “She gives us a platform to shine.”

I suggest that Bree’s set is “guided spontaneity.”

“Guided spontaneity is perfect,” he exclaims. “She already has a vision [and] trusts us to give it words.”

As an example, we discuss Tommy’s role as a parent in one of the Future Darkly series. In the story, scientists bring back his deceased daughter (played by Jill Kassidy) in the form of an avatar. He’s intense as the grieving father.

“I am a parent. I have two boys and I love them,” Tommy comments then talks about putting himself into the “mind frame” of how he’d feel if he lost them. The result was beyond awesome.

Next, I mention my urge to fast forward through the sex scenes to follow the story when watching a Bree film. Not that the sex falls flat, but that the story is so deeply engaging.

“Isn’t that something!” Tommy comments with glee. “We’ve grown as an industry.’”

Referring to the porn formulas of sex positions with minimal storytelling, Tommy says, “the cookie cutter stuff is cool, but we gotta do more [in making films]. We have the skill, the talent, [and] the equipment.”

“As a performer, sex is one thing, but when you get honest appreciation for the things you do [as an actor], that’s amazing.”

He leaves us with an observation. His role in Pure Taboo’s The Weight of Infidelity created quite a stir on set. The story is the brainchild of performer Angela White who stars in the production.

His portrayal of the repugnant husband “made people uncomfortable,” Tommy says, because he insulted and humiliated Angela. Nevertheless, he adds, outside media sources proclaimed that the film “isn’t a porno, this should be an art piece.”

That’s Bree Mills’ goal, to bring porn out of the shadows and into artistic daylight.

Incidentally, The Weight of Infidelity won AVN’s award for Best Featurette and Tommy Pistol for Best Actor in a Featurette.

Derrick Pierce

Porn veteran Derrick Pierce brings a business vision to the Bree Mills discussion. He points out that Bree became “a director out of necessity.” She was “a numbers person for Gamma,” so she knew the score at the company.

Bree learned directing on the fly?

“A hundred percent,” DErrick says. Bree is “the originator of what she does,” and takes the attitude with performers of “let’s try it and see how it goes.”

In describing the writer/director’s strength, Derrick says she gives performers “a lot of depth” to explore their roles within the scope of her narrative.

Her premise is to develop “the synopsis and the background” of the story and introduce the characters. The rest is up to the actors.

And, she pushes boundaries.

Bree is “always looking to see where the line of uncomfortable starts and finishes,” Derrick states. If the actors feel uneasy about what’s going on, Bree reminds them that the viewer will feel that way also.

“They’re clicking on the uncomfortable moments” that precede the sex scenes, the Massachusetts native adds. Those moments bring the sex in her films to life.

“That’s what makes her so dynamic as far as being a storyteller,” he believes.

Derrick goes into what now is evident about Bree Mills. She turns the porn formula on its head because the sex scenes are “secondary to what she wants.”

Bree is transcending the mantra of “sex is sex is sex,” Derrick explains. “The premise is always the key and if you don’t have the buildup the sex is always going to be mediocre.”

As he previously mentioned, Derrick insists that Bree never forgets the business fundamentals of building a brand and the fan following necessary to sell it.

“She came from the numbers. She’s watching and seeing what people are clicking on and purchasing.”

To reinforce his point, Derrick Pierce touches on Bree’s business acumen when he says Adult Time “acquired the rights to Vivid catalogues” and Burning Angels’ production.

“She’s purchasing and unifying other companies and their content and putting into a functional application that’s user friendly.”

In conclusion, he describes the totality of the Bree Mills enterprise as a “juggernaut.”

*          *            *

Next we’ll look at shooting for Bree from the perspective of female performers.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Two

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

In this second installment on Bree Mills, we will look at her filmmaking philosophy from a business and creative point of view.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Logo is courtesy of Girlsway.

*          *          *

Data and Creativity

Like every successful businesswoman, Bree Mills understands how to produce the best content for the dollar. And, like every renowned artist, she knows how to find the right story to keep her fan base coming back for more.

Neither of the above accomplishments works without a collective effort.

“My content is a real mix of data driven decisions and creativity,” the head of production tells me. “I sit on a lot of data and I have a whole team at Gamma that studies what people want.” She refers to the accumulated information as her Petri dish she can “source from.”

“I speak with customers and porn fans, so I use that intelligence to fuel my ideas. But I try not to let the data override the creativity. It ends up being a good balance.”

To what extent does fan response drive future productions?

For an “ongoing series” it has tremendous value, she insists. What’s more, fans can be co-authors of a Gamma Films production.

“Girlsway, one of our big studios, is very involved in member feedback and sourcing ideas for our stories. My finger’s always on the pulse of how our fans are reacting to content.”

Usually she will produce a full season of a series then get feedback to generate the material for the next one. But with the recent development of Adult Time, she’s changing things a bit. Now Bree puts out “pilots of concepts so we can start getting feedback from members right away.”

The result has an “impact on subsequent episodes that we shoot,” she says, “so that we can start building an audience, build engagement, [then] refine our series.”

It’s a partnership of sorts, she indicates, because we are “shaping the content together.”

Outsider

A closer look at her product reveals that Bree considers herself to be “a pop culture vulture.”

“I’ve watched a lot of films, read a lot of books, and watched a lot of television. It’s in my genes.”

She explains that inspiration for a project comes for many sources and likes to quote Pablo Picasso, “Good artists copy and great artists steal.”

“When I come up with a concept, I’ll pull a little thing I saw here, a frame of a film that I remember here . . . to help me craft the piece I’m doing. I allow my respect for pop culture to influence the way that I work,” Bree explains.

Having said that, she qualifies her work in adult. “I’m an outsider. I’m not a pornographer who grew up through this industry. I kind of came in and crashed it in many ways.”

Admitting that people may not understand exactly what she is doing with a film or a series, Bree is undaunted.

“I do it because that’s the pull that I’m receiving creatively or the direction I’m going.” In other words, she follows her instincts.

Lastly, Bree mentions the feedback she gets from women. There is “strength in the female characters in Pure Taboo that is more relatable to a lot of female viewers,” she comments. Consequently, they “find porn very empowering.”

Her films present “something other than just a stereotypical portrayal of a woman as a sex object” that is characteristic of the industry.

But the picture is complicated, Bree infers. With Pure Taboo productions, there are “no winners,” male or female. In fact, “there are a lot of anti-heroes.”

Sex is the Last Thing

Finally, we talk about crossing over from adult to mainstream, or, to put it another way, from Porn Valley to Hollywood.

Bree concedes that there is some crossing over between “mainstream pop culture and adult culture,” but that is more lifestyle oriented. Her dream is to have one of her films cross over.

For the upcoming year, she is developing a “primary project” that can be shopped to film festivals she characterizes as “mainstream outlets.” It will have a hardcore version for her fans.

Her objective is to create “a film with sex in it.” A workable idea, Bree insists, because “half of the films on Netflix these days [have] a good degree of sexuality being depicted.”

Though her intention is to “showcase quality stories, if people are interested in seeing the extended, uncut, uncensored version, they can,” she affirms.

Lastly, the writer/director offers her assessment of what she does as a filmmaker.

“The sex is kind of the last thing I’m thinking about,” she says. “I’m thinking about how to build the tension, build the narrative, how to develop the characters. If I have done my job right, I’ve gotten into the actors’ heads, they will carry out the scene with their own experiences.

“They know how to have sex. If can get them to have sex in their characters, it will be a good scene and secondary to the story. It’s the end result of the story.”

Then she summarizes her goal.

Create a “good enough story that people can watch all the way through, are left thinking about it, and are amazed that we can do a story that is really interesting.”

Bree Mills ends with “I think that is completely possible.”

Gamma Films’ record eighty-four AVN award nominations for 2019 validates her point.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part One

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

Bree Mills is a rising power in adult film. By that I mean writer, director, producer, and businesswoman. Her bold creativity and ability to play on the edges of legitimate (i.e. mainstream) production is reshaping the future of the adult industry.

We sat down in the press room for an engaging discussion during this year’s adult trade show in Las Vegas.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers. Pure Taboo supplied the logo.

*          *          *

The Process

The focus of our interview is Pure Taboo, the studio and its productions.

Bree give us the basics. “I actually oversee quite a few different studios. When it comes to Pure Taboo, I have two intentions. The first is to challenge the psychological side of sexual desire and sexuality and take popular porn tropes and tell them with a different tone.”

That means taking a typical porn scenario and “treating it like a drama” or “tragedy” rather than “a lighthearted comedy.”

She explains. “I want to make people think about the content [they’re] watching, to confront it . . . to question [what they see].”

The native Bostonian believes viewers will either love or hate what she produces, but they will certainly never forget it.

After looking at a handful of Pure Taboo films, it’s hard to disagree with her.

Bree’s second intention involves her casts. “How can we work with these very underrated actors [and] provide a vehicle for adult actors to show their range?”

Part of the answer involves dialogue. “What’s interesting to note, which you may not have realized, is that those are all improvised acting performances. There are no scripts,” she says.

Bree describes the process.

“We work off a scene treatment that I write, or a member of my team writes, and the directors bring those characters to life. We rehearse and choreograph it.”

In effect, the scenes turn into “long single takes.” In the end, it’s challenging because improvisation is the key. “That is the most powerful aspect of this,” she adds.

Gangbang in a Prom Dress

Bree uses words like “raw emotion, realism, grittiness” to encapsulate what she wants from her performers. To realize this outcome, she works with them “from their own experiences or their own emotions. This means supporting the “method acting approach” to getting what she wants.

“I call it porn script theater,” she says, and that means spending “the day like a theater workshop.” It works because Bree sees her role as “the storyteller.”

After that, she lets “the actors flush it out and then we rehearse it” which means tweaking things a bit here and there.

Because she likes to focus on “realistic situations and bringing them to life,” that became the genesis of Prom Night starring Whitney Wright.

The film is “one of a kind,” Bree declares. “I had the idea to do a gangbang in a prom dress.” There are many stories of women who “end of losing their virginity on the prom nights in ways that were not what they had expected and it’s very complicated,” she states. So, why not delve into what for many girls is a bizarre and painful rite of passage.

She and Whitney talked through “how we wanted this character to feel” and “how we wanted to keep the realism of it,” Bree says.

“Whitney is one of our go-tos. She’s a great actress. She’s versatile and a great sex performer,” the director says of the twenty-seven-year-old.

There’s more when it comes to this charmer. Whitney’s “just a really great person,” Bree continues. “She’s funny, she’s weird, shows up on set with a smile on her face. She’s very generous and very willing to go the extra mile. The perfect type of person to bring on your set as cast.”

In the end, Bree approached the plot as “this fantasy that so many people have.” Create a group scene involving a prom dress that becomes a nightmare and a film is born.

Don’t Talk to Strangers

The other film I bring up is Don’t Talk to Strangers. It’s about a young girl kidnapped and imprisoned by a married couple. Bree says it was “inspired by several famous true crime stories that occurred in the early nineties in Canada.”

Having lived there for a while, Bree says, the scenario was “this nightmare I grew up with.”

The narrative explores the “Stockholm Syndrome” and the film became “one of the grittier scenes that we’ve put out,” Bree comments. “It was interesting to work with all three of those actors who we’ve shot multiple times in multiple different roles.”

One of them is Casey Calvert.

“That was the first time that her and I have worked together,” Bree exclaims. “I was very impressed. She’s exactly how I would have imagined that character. Really beautiful, but very cold.”

Bree gets some of her ideas from others, including her fans. But what is of particular interest to her are the stories she hears from performers.

“I’ll work with them to bring that story to life and for some people it’s therapeutic . . .  a way for them to combat either something that happened to them personally or an issue that affected them otherwise,” she explains.

It’s an outlet, Bree believes, and she’s been able “to provide a platform for performers” to explore the deeper psychological aspects of their personality or their past.

“Sex is a complicated thing, you know. When making sex films, there’s a fair amount of emotion and anxiety and energy and vulnerability brought together. To be able to provide an outlet for people is therapeutic to me as a director. It’s one of the main reasons I’m in this business.”

Well said and we hope Bree Mills stays in the adult industry for a long time.

*          *          *

You can visit Pure Taboo on twitter at https://twitter.com/puretaboocom

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized