Friends and colleagues are mourning the passing of Michael Bushler, owner of Phase One Graphics and FYA Independent, who died suddenly of an aneurysm on April 14 at age 58.
Death was instantaneous, according to Becky Bushler, his wife of 38 years. In accordance with his wishes, he was cremated, with no funeral and no memorial service.
Bushler had been a major presence in the adult industry since 1982 when he and Becky started Phase One Graphics, one of the longest-running and most successful graphic agencies, designing box covers and promotions for a wide range of clients.
A little over two years ago he got into production with FYA Independent, which now has a catalogue of 35 titles.
His widow, a co-owner of both companies, told AVN that both will continue without interruption. She personally notified all their clients before going public about his death, to assure them that operations would be unbroken.
Bushler was the subject of a Business Profile in the April 2007 issue of AVN, in which he said of his wife, "If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be in business."
"Mike and I ran the company together," Becky said, "and every phase of it will continue. My immediate clients have said they'll stay with me, and my great staff is staying with me, and my distributor, Avalon, is staying with me."
Samson Knight, whom Bushler called his "right-hand man," will continue as editor for all FYA releases. Knight, two cameraman and a sound man, Becky said, "have shot every movie Mike and I made together. With those four kindred spirits the FYA product will stay as strong as ever."
The next FYA release will be Gigantic Joggies, with the last of six scenes going into production this week.
Becky will also oversee completion of Bushler's Victimized, a non-adult horror movie to be released on the Hellknight label. "It was his dream," she said, "and I have every intention of finishing it." The movie is edited with an additional scene to be shot.
"Very few people get to do all they want to do," she said, pointing out that her husband was an art photographer (specializing in landscapes), had his own graphics agency, and made his own movies. "Mike lived every day. He loved his work."
In addition to his wife, Bushler is survived by a son and daughter, both in their thirties, and one grandchild, with another on the way