Q: How do you find your models?
A: In the beginning, when I was shooting stills, I put ads in the newspaper, and that was very successful; too succesful, in fact, because although tons of guys answered the ads, few were useable. So I realized that if I wanted to get good models, I must go out, find them, and approach them personally. If I see somebody I really like, I don’t start by going up to him and offering him a job in erotic films; I just ask if he’d be interested in either posting for photographs or being an extra in a video (in the larger productions we do use a lot of extras). Since BelAmi doesn’t just produce hard-core erotica, we can also use models for solo photography. This way if a model is reluctant to do full-action videos at first, there is a way he can ease into it, that is what he eventually wants.
I also employ talent scouts who know my taste and what kind of models I like to work with. I won’t take just anybody, so the scout really has a difficult task. One month fifty models came and I couldn’t use any of them. I’ve found it helpful to pre-screen potential talent via photographs (taken by the talent scout) before setting up interviews.
If I am interested in working with a model, in almost all cases, the first step is for me to do a photo layout with him and see how it works out. By this time the model and I are getting to know one another better and I will have ample opportunity to explain the different projects Bel Ami work on and how much money the model can earn. Doing photo work doesn’t pay nearly as well as being a participant in the videos, so it is really up to the model to decide how much money he wants to make with us.
Q: What can you tell us in general about the models you work with?
A: Most of BelAmi‘s models are between eighteen and twenty-one age range. About half of them are middle-class university students; very few are “street kids”. All of them do this because they are interested in making extra money; none would think of doing this for a “career”.
Bel Ami finds its models in Eastern Europe where I believe people are very sexual and where sex plays a major role in people’s daily lives. Eastern Europeans don’t share the American concepts of what is gay, what is heterosexual and what is bisexual. Although I have unfortunately found that models whose preferences are for other men are more difficult to work with, I don’t hire models based on their orientation. It doesn’t matter to me if he is homo-, hetero-, or bi-, only that he is sexual. All that having been said, it’s true that almost all of BelAmi‘s models live an outwardly heterosexual life-style; what they enjoy sexually is quite another matter, that much is obvious from viewing the videos.
Q: Now that you are concentrating on videos are there going to be any more photo layouts in monthly magazines?
A: Absolutely. You can look forward to seeing photo sets of our new models, most of whom also star in BelAmi‘s videos. Additionally, in going through our files to select photos for this catalog we disovered more than 20 models whose photographs, for one reason or another, were never published in any form. So we are planning to present those models in the future, as well as new models.
Q: Please tell us more about Lukas.
A: He’s a university student. An assistant of mine brought him to me and I didn’t expect too much at first. Of course I realized how good he looked, but he’s the type that the camera loves even more than the naked eye; I didn’t fully appreciate the magic until after the photos were developed. He’s also an incredibly good person. In the years I’ve worked with him I’ve never seen him get upset, raise his voice, or even be in bad humor. When he has problems he’s extremely open about dealing with them; he just has a very pleasant personality. he also can get a hard-on anytime he wants to – it never takes him more than twenty seconds to get it up and he stays hard as long as is necessary to film the scene!
Q: What about Martin Valko?
A: He was brought to me by a talent scout who found him living in a small city in Central Slovakia. he was actually one of many models recommended by this particular scout. When I started to do videos with Martin, I realized what a sexual person he is. He is also very professional and always prepared. He took a break from shooting for a while but fortunately for us he returned to film other episodes for Lukas’ Story 2 and Lukas’ Story 3.
Q: What can you say about Dano Sulik?
A: He’s a little devil! He loves every minute of every kind of scene; he’s just incredible. He has a hard-on even before I start to shoot; he’s a real little sex machine. And he’s also both the perfect top and perfect bottom – he might just be the most energetic top I’ve ever encountered!
Q: Where was Lukas and Ken Christy‘s scene from Tender Strangers shot?
A: It’s exactly on the border between Slovakia and Hungary, along the Danube River. It was built for a fairy tale film production. I used it again in Accidental Lovers – the episode with all the pilings of the house – it’s really all the same location. It’s a beautiful spot, but we had a real problem during filming because it was full of mosquitoes!
Q: How did you get away with doing that scene on the bus in Lukas’ Story?
A: I just rented the bus, which came complete with a municipal driver. The driver didn’t know what was going on; we just put papers up so that he couldn’t see what we were up to. When we were shooting the sex scenes I stopped the bus and told the driver I didn’t need him for awhile, so he sat in a store and waited.
Q: When was Sauna Paradiso shot?
A: In a fully-functioning sauna which I rented for two weeks. It was during the summertime and the sauna was closed for renovation. The owners needed money for repairs. They started the overhaul but didn’t have enough money to finish, because reconstruction of an old sauna is quite expensive.
Q: And what about the train in Pleasure Express?
A: I wanted to have another location like the sauna to pull the whole film together so it wouldn’t look like a series of loops. Telling the railway company that I was shooting a music video, I paid a lot of money to rent the coaches. but in planning the film I understimated the difficulty in using a moving train as a location for an entire film. It was in the pring and the lighting conditions changed constantly, first it was cloudy, then half an hour later it was sunny, and when the camera shot in another direction it was already sunset! In such a tight space there wasn’t room to use proper lighting equipment. There was also a railway man with us the whole time, sitting three or four compartments away from where we were shooting hard-core, not knowing the kind of film we were making. During a break he came back to where we were and noticed the heterosexual porn magazines which we had left lying around. He opened the magazines, look through them and said, “Wow, it is incredible what these women will do for money!”
Q: Are you going to make any more films for the Falcon International Collection?
A: I am happy to say that BelAmi‘s collaboration with Falcon will continue, but in a slightly different way than before. BelAmi willproduce a new series of Falcon International videos which I will supervise but not direct. From now on I plan only to direct films for my own BelAmi line. One of the more exciting things about this new arrangement is that I wll be developing new directors, giving talented people the opportunity to learn their craft while they work.
Q: What new BelAmi films are you working on?
A: I have already begun shooting episodes for a video called XXL. As you can figure out from the title, I’m using only super-well-endowed models for this one. It is tentatively scheduled for release sometime in 1997. I am currently contemplating other projects in countries which wold provide exotic backgrounds, for example Portugal and France. In keeping with this idea, Bel Ami is planning the first gay erotic video shot on location in Russia, using real Russian models. The performers for this project have already been selected and I’m now in the process of figuring out the optimal time to start filming. We have also decided to shoot an erotic documentary which incorporates actual footage of what goes on behind the scenes at Bel Ami: how we find models; how we work with them, interviews, etc.
Q: What can we expect from BelAmi within the next six months?
A: I am putting the final touches on a film called Playful Morning – it will be of the same genre as Frisky Summer, fun and fresh. Fans can expect the first Bel Ami double-feature in Spring 1997 – the working title is Young Pioneers. These films will usher in a more sophisticated Bel Ami line – more dialogue and great new music, and will feature at least 20 models.
Q: Do you want to make a film in the U.S.?
A: It’s not a question of desire. I would do it if the right opportunity presented itself, but it would have to be on my own terms. When I decided to shoot erotica, I also made a conscious decision to only work with those models and make only the tape of videos which reflect my own personal taste. Within our budget, I can’t possibly afford to hire all the models I want, use all the exotic locations I want, or take all the time I want to shoot. But within those limitations, I try to get as close as I can to my idea of quality erotica.
This interview appeared in the Mandate Bel Ami Catalog 1996.