LOS ANGELES—Adult media tend to follow the higher-profile adult stars who cross over into mainstream, such as Sasha Grey, Riley Steele, Jesse Jane, Tommy Gunn, Ron Jeremy and a few others. But one adult star who's quietly rocking the mainstream media world is Brittany Andrews, who's been the producer of three mainstream films, is shopping several TV series, and is about to produce an off-Broadway play as well.
"I had two films that premiered at film festivals last year," Andrews told AVN. "One of them had its exclusive premiere at the New York Independent Film Festival, which was Crumble, and at that film festival it won the Best Directorial Debut. Crumble we shot last year here in New York City, and it was brought to me by Renata Bialkowska, who's been a mainstream publicist and repped a lot of mainstream films. At that time, I was actually working on another film that should be coming out sometime soon, which is Blindfold, which is a drama about a father that reconnects with his daughter after the 9/11 attacks, and whose mother passed away in those attacks. I totally fell in love with the script, and I met with Renata and she asked if I would come on as one of the producers, and I really felt that it would be a lot of fun. What she was trying to do with it was like Requiem for a Dream: Very gritty, edgy, New York underground and as far as visually, something very edgy and provocative as well. So it was very much a labor of love; a lot of work went into it, so we were really happy to get the one award from the New York Independent Film Festival, and then we brought it to the Los Angeles International Film Festival, and on the opening night, they had my two films that I produced premiere there that evening—the other was Trick of the Witch—and between the two of them, they won seven awards."
According to Andrews, Crumble stars Oksana Lada (formerly of The Sopranos) who's married and lives a very conservative life, but her husband Michael (Raymond Hamlin) has begun to get bored, and embarks on a series of sordid affairs and dark addictions. Unsure what to do about it, Oksana is lured into the seedy New York City underground club run by Reda (Steven Bauer), a sleazy pimp, and boldly lets go of her inhibitions, faces her demons and gains strength through a relationship with prostitute Bianca (Alexandra Grossi), whom Michael had earlier tried to use to seduce Oksana. But when Reda announces that Steve has sold Oksana to him and that she'll have to become one of the club's prostitutes, Oksana has to fend for herself in what becomes a triumph of female empowerment.
The film managed to snag five awards from its debut: Best Actress in a Short Film for Lada, Best Actor in a Short Film for Bauer, Best Directorial Debut for Bialkowska, Best Composer for its scenarist Keith Patchell, and the Audience Award for a Short Film.
"I was working 20 hours a day on that film, and at one point I was working 25 hours a day with two hours of sleep," the chronally-challenged producer said. "During preproduction, I was working 15 hours a day easy, and then during production it was 25 hour days and two hours of sleep; it was insane. I was dealing with all of the crazy crew and the issues with the crazy investors on a daily basis and then of course you've got SAG, so on top of everything, I was dealing with all the paperwork with SAG on a daily basis."
Andrews' other big film, Trick of the Witch, was written and directed by her long-time associate Chris Morrissey, and stars Share Cherrie, a veteran of three other Morrissey sci-fi/horror films.
"It's almost a campy horror film; it's got a little bit of comedy—not intentional comedy, but it's for the midnight movie crowd," Morrissey explained. "We're hoping it'll get cult film status, sort of like Rocky Horror."
"The idea came partly from a friend of mine, who was house-sitting out in the desert near a place called the Devil's Punchbowl," he continued, "and it happened to be when there were all those wildfires going on, and my friend's car broke down, and I went to give them a ride back to L.A., and the whole time I was there, I'm thinking, 'This would be a perfect place to film a horror film.' I wrote the script and found a location, and Brittany and I immediately went into production, and it all kind of fell into place from there. But we wound up filming in an actual mansion, whereas the original idea was, it supposed to be in this little tiny house out in the desert, so it's like a mansion that's in the desert in the film."
As one can see from the trailer, the film involves a bevy of covergirl types who, as a result of a witch's curse, are menaced by a number of unsavory characters, who manage to kill most of the girls off one by one, usually in some gruesome manner that incites the remaining gals to scream their heads off—but done with enough intelligence and style that it won the Best Horror Film at last year's Los Angeles International Film Festival, as well as the Audience Award for a Feature Film. Trick of the Witch premiered on the festival's opening night, where it played to a standing-room-only crowd, and gained so much buzz that a second show was added for the festival's concluding evening.
"The festival was in Culver City and we didn't expect a lot of people to show up on a Thursday night," Morrissey recalled, "but there were people standing in the back of the theater watching it, standing up the whole time, so it was really fun and we had such a great reaction from everyone. And now, we're going to do some screenings February 25 in L.A., and we're thinking of doing a small grassroots roll-out like L.A., New York—a couple of weeks at different theaters, and take it from there, because we've actually had some foreign distribution interest, and some of the theaters here in L.A. like the Silent Movie Theater and the New Beverly want to do some preview screenings for their audiences. The crowd there loves these types of films, so we're thinking of doing it on one of their grindhouse nights, if we get it all ironed out."
In fact, Trick of the Witch will begin a limited theatrical run in Los Angeles on March 4 at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatres as part of their Friday and Saturday Midnight Shows, and then will expand to the historic Vine Theater in Hollywood on March 11th.
One might think that between talking up Crumble and Trick of the Witch, and getting ready for the premiere of Blindfold, Andrews has enough on her plate—but one would be wrong.
"I'm also going to be heading to Miami to NATPE [the National Association of Television Program Executives convention] because I have a few other reality pilots that I've produced," Andrews told AVN earlier this month. "One called True Cougar Life, and that's about five women who are living in New York City, older women who like younger men, and kind of do what they want when they want to do it with no excuses for their behavior. They're not the typical porn cougars; they're normal city women that are executives that have jobs, that are very smart and intelligent. One of them, Jasmine, works at WBLS—she has the show right before Wendy Williams—so they're real women living real cougar lives. One of them was married to a younger man for 12 years, and one of the characters of the show is definitely New York City as well; we really highlight that."
"I'm also working on another reality pilot called Pimp My Bride, which is kind of a bridal makeover show," she continued. "I'm the host of it, and we take a married couple who've been married for about seven years or so, and their life is a little bit tired, so I come in and we give the guy to a gay guy, give him a little bit of a makeover, put the sex life back into him, give him some sex tips on how to put the spark back into his relationship. And then I'm also doing a webisode thing called My Real Porn Life, a documentary-style reality type of thing because my life is actually pretty fuckin' insane. On the non-mainstream side, I've just opened up my talent agency and everything; I've done the soft launch with the Exclusive Adult Agency, and I'm always traveling and running around and I have a decent sense of humor, so it makes for some interesting footage. So those three things I'm going to be running off to NATPE for, trying to get some funding, some distribution and so forth for those three mainstream things."
Enough yet? Nope. Apparently she's got a couple of other projects she hopes to get off the ground: These Showers Can Talk, a "lesbian slice of life" comedy short, and new biographical series, The Fabulous Sex Lives Of...
Still want more?
"Brittany is also producing an off-Broadway play in New York, with Penny Arcade, and it's called Porning the Planet," Morrissey said. "She's into film, television, plays—a little bit of everything, but that's great because she has such a wide variety of projects going on, people seem to just come to her and go, 'Hey, let's work on this,' and she's game for anything."
Finally, Andrews has been chosen as one of the jurors tasked with picking the films to be screened at the Independent Film Quarterly Film Festival, which will take place in Los Angeles on February 24-27.
As far as mainstream exposure goes, we're thinking that all this may mean a spot on the 2012 AVN Awards ballot for "Crossover Star of the Year." And she didn't even have to get her head bitten off by a giant piranha!