LAS VEGAS - Five years ago, Dan O'Connell inadvertently began a successful foray into adult entertainment with the production of Lesbians Uncovered: The Naked Truth. Conceived by O'Connell as an insightful, no-holds-barred documentary on all things Sapphic, Lesbians Uncovered birthed the business model that would define his studio, Girlfriends Film.
Based out of Reseda, Ca, Girlfriends Film carved out a niche by producing titles depicting authentic lesbian sex. "We had no intentions of going into the adult industry," said O'Connell. "But, we got a lot of fan mail. People wanted something different and found it in our films. We started producing movies part time. Now, we're doing 4 titles a month."
The studio made its industry debut during the 2003 AEE show. "We opened at the show with a10 x10 booth," recalled O'Connell. "We didn’t know how to sell the movies or how to price them. It took a couple of years to make a profit. It's interesting to see how many studios drop off from year to year. I think most people probably don't realize what a big investment it is to do movie production."
Nowadays, Girlfriends Films is not only reaping the rewards of consistent market presence; it's sharing the wealth. The studio donates yearly to charities such as The Cancer Research Institute, Doctors Without Borders, Boys & Girls Club, and The American Humane Association.
Last October, Girlfriends Films called on all adult studios to make charity donations, promising to match each contribution dollar by dollar. HotMovies.com answered the challenge with a $1,000 donation to The Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee. For more information, visit girlfriendsfilmscharity.com.
"We're still growing," said O'Connell, surmising the crowd of buyers gathering around the Girlfriends Films booth.
"When we come to the show we’re 6 feet tall; when we come out 7 feet tall. This show is always a great opportunity to meet new people and get things rolling for the year."
As for production strategies, O'Connell plans to stick with what he knows best. "We have a huge female base," he noted. "We have to produce real lesbian material. You can fool the guys, but women will know."
Girlfriends Films is nominated this year in the AVN categories for Best All-Girl Release (I Like to Kiss; Women Seeking Women 34), Best All-Girl Series (Women Seeking Women), and Best All-Girl Sex Scene (Elexis and her Girlfriends).