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Moratorium May Impact Adult-Video Action

29 Apr, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The HIV scare that's shut down the adult-film industry for two months may lead to kindler, gentler videos — the kind that don't show everything.

Specifically, adult-film suppliers are talking about producing and releasing less-graphic films that don't involve sexual intercourse

“We are considering doing some girl/girl movies in the United States in the interim,” said Ric Williams, general manager of Private USA.

Daniel Metcalf of Wicked Pictures said his company has more than a dozen films that are either ready for release or in editing, “so we have enough backlog of material to get us through the next two months.”

Should the moratorium be extended, however, contingency plans will need to go into effect.

“There are a number of options that we might possibly do,” Metcalf said, either “soft-core or single girl.”

Another option is producing special editions or otherwise repackaging previously released DVDs.

Still, Metcalf stressed that “no one expects the production moratorium to be extended, so they haven't put a plan in place.”

Meanwhile, suppliers of soft-core video — like Hot Body International, which specializes in contests that end with each contestant taking off her clothes — believe the moratorium will be a boon for their business.

“In my opinion, it could only be a good thing for soft-core, sexy no-sex producers like us,” said the company's Sherry V. Sotres. “We aim to please through tease, and no one has ever been hurt looking.”

The adult-film industry is estimated to be an $11 billion-a-year business. Virtually all of the films are produced directly for home video, cable and satellite consumption. The industry is centered around Southern California's San Fernando Valley and employs about 4,000 people, including 1,200 performers.

Early in April, two adult performers tested positive for HIV. This led to a voluntary 60-day moratorium on all productions as the industry waits for the results of tests on about 50 performers who may have been exposed to the virus, either through direct sexual contact with Darren James and Lara Roxx, the two actors who tested positive, or through their first- or second-generation partners.

Los Angeles health authorities are now pressing for mandatory condom use during sex scenes, a move opposed by adult-industry representatives who fear tighter regulatory controls will drive the industry underground and undermine the industry's voluntary HIV testing program.

Tim Connelly, publisher of Adult Video News, the adult entertainment industry's trade publication, said in a typical year 11,000 films are released on video, 4,000 of them new productions and the rest compilations.

He cautioned that compliance to the moratorium is not 100 percent. “There are still people shooting,” he said.

Once the ban on filming is lifted in June, he predicted adult-film companies will shift into high gear to make up for lost time.

“It doesn't seem Americans will be at a loss for product,” he said. “Porn is pop culture.”

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