Porn's Politically Incorrect Visionary, Jim Powers
And since then he never really stopped pushing the envelope.
In fact, the very youthful-looking, 47-year-old native Californian has brilliantly covered the entire spectrum, as far as your more outrageous niches are concerned. There’s the rough-sex aspects of Powers’ “Tough Love” and “Violation Of” series; the circus-like flavor of “American Bukkake”; racial sex-plorations in “White Trash Whore”; in-your-face extreme sports with “Gag Factor”; the disturbingly depraved goings-on of the bourgeoisie in “Teenage Babysitters”; anal sex uncompromisingly blended with fetish and bondage in the appropriately titled “Bound”; dark movie spin-offs like “Black Snake Boned!”; and, of course, ALL of the above, with his no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners modern-day classic saga; “Girlvert.”
While he was born in northern California, Powers considers himself a hardcore So-Cal native.
“My father’s job made our family move everywhere from New Mexico to Florida, but I was largely brought up in the Valley,” Powers proudly states. “My mom is from the Valley, I’m from the Valley … Basically I’m fourth generation ‘Vall.’”
His influences as a youth growing up in the ‘70s included comic books, horror movies, fan magazines like the classic “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and skateboarding. Until 1977.
“When punk first came around in the late ‘70s,” Powers vividly recalls, “I was a teenager, and it changed my life. That’s why I left New Mexico the day high school ended. ‘Fuck this!’ I said. ‘I’m outta here.’ So, I got on a plane and went to LA to be a punk rocker and to skateboard. This was back in 1980.”
Flash forward 10 years (and many life experiences later) to 1990, and Powers working as a porn distributor in Florida, which is the beginning of what he considers a purely fateful life as a porn director.
“I never meant to become a pornographer,” he confessed. “I always liked porno, but it’s not like I really tried that hard to become a director. Everything that happened to me after my porn experiences in Florida was totally accidental.”
What happened was he hooked up with late porn actor/director Buck Adams to make a movie called “Speedtrap” which Adams directed and Powers produced and then proceeded to get deep into debt. Adams, that is, quit immediately after the shooting finished, leaving Powers with a formidable pile of post-production bills. Consequently, Jim had to get a “real” job to obtain the money to finish the movie, which was eventually sold to VCA.
This bad porn experience was, unfortunately, ollowed by another negative one, in which one of Powers’ co-producers ripped off the majority of the money compiled for his latest movie project.
“So, after all of that, I was in Vegas gambling in Bally’s in January of 1992, and I accidentally walked into the porn awards show there. I observed what was going on and said to my buddy, ‘You know what? — I know I could make a better movie than most of these people for $5,000.’ So my buddy and I each put up $2,500, and what came out was “The Hills Have Thighs” — another movie which I lost money on. But that movie is how I really got my porn career going.”
With “The Hills Have Eyes” under Powers’ belt — and though our fearless director was still financially in the red —an LA producer approached him to shoot the now classic “Beach Bum Amateurs” series.
“I took him literally,” Powers recalls with unrestrained laughter. “I went down to the beach, got some amateurs who were totally new to the business and filmed ‘em fucking on the beach. I took what I shot back to the producer, he looked at the footage and said, “Holy shit! Shoot me more.” I said, “No.” “Why?” he asked. “Well,” I explained, “I lost another $150 on this shoot. My porn career is not going well. Every single thing I do costs me money.” And he goes, “Okay, here!” and throws $300 cash at me and says, “Now you’ve made $150.o shoot me more!’
“So I’m like, ‘Cool.’ Anyway, I go back down to the beach to film more amateurs fucking — and get arrested for conspiracy and pandering charges.”
Now Powers was trapped in porn. That is, he had to do keep shooting adult movies in order to pay the mounting legal fees which he’d incurred whilst trying to get himself out of this same felony arrest.
And it worked, i.e., he managed to stay out of prison.
Then in 1993, through a mutual friend, he met Jeff Mike of JM Productions.
And history was made. Porn infamy, as well.
For Powers now began to regularly push the limits with sex.
“I started shooting amateur scenes for Jeff, which kind of segued into that whole gonzo era, in which I was one of the first guys to shoot extreme gangbang and DP movies. We also started doing stories for these things, like “Perverted Stories” which were not features, but were shows where I’d put in little vignettes like old Twilight Zone episodes.”
Aside from still directing — and shooting — for JM Productions, as well as his own company Powersville, Inc., Jim also films series like the reality-based “Fuck A Fan” for Immoral Productions; has recently directed the seventh installment of the “Teen Idol” series for Smash Pictures; and has a variety of XXX websites including FuckTruckSluts.com, WetMILFHoles.com, TeenyBopperCockGobblers.com, GetThatBlackPussy.com and GangedandBanged.com - all titles which inevitably peak your average person’s (let along average pornaholic’s) interest.
We interviewed Jim Powers [a.k.a., Mr. Filth] on a wet, rainy day in early February at his Powersville, Inc. office (located in the Immoral Productions building in the heart of—you guessed it—the San Fernando Valley, i.e., beautiful, picturesque, serene Chatsworth, Calif.), and we chatted with the frequently humorous director about his views concerning movies, girls, business, punk rock [yes, he still plays with his original punk band Killroy] and, of course, “Le Vallee.”
XBIZ: I’ve always viewed you as one of the most prolific directors in the industry, Jim. An out and out machine.
JIM POWERS: People think that I shoot more than I really do because I’m steady. I just truck along. Also, I tend to maintain hours; I can be found; I don’t go on drug binges for two months or disappear from the business because I’m disenfranchised or whatever.
Believe it or not, even though I’m a complete psychopath, I’m a very disciplined psychopath.
XBIZ: So give us a breakdown of a typical Jim Powers’ work month.
POWERS: Realistically, I shoot maybe two movies a month for JM Productions and do a movie for myself through Powersville, Inc., which is the company that I own. JM is a production company that similarly distributes all of my movies. Additionally, I shoot camera for various other entities; shoot a couple of other movies here and there... So, that’s the typical month.
XBIZ: Sounds pretty prolific to me. So where does Immoral Productions fit into the whole Powers’ scheme of things?
POWERS: Immoral is a company which I’m associated with, and it basically started out as an Internet company, which primarily is what it still is, although we’re also putting out content on DVD — I mean, you have to. And with Immoral we’re setting up these news free sites, and we’re going to be selling the advertising and selling the traffic because I think that’s where porn is headed, what with all of these tube sites, which have just destroyed the income in porn. And the way things are currently going, I think the Internet is eventually going to be very much like old broadcast TV, where it’s ree and you’re selling the advertising.
The other alternative thought is to have lawyers go after porn pirates and after the end users who illegally download material; kind of like what the music industry is doing, where you can go after the end users, who receive a fine — and it might be as much as a $5,000 fine.
XBIZ: Getting back to some of your series, let’s talk a bit about your “Fuck A Fan” line.
POWERS: That’s an Immoral line that Porno Dan and I do. Generally speaking, it’s all about having a party in the offices here. We find a porn star, find some brand new guys - who sleaze along the Internet running up ads - and have the new guys fuck the porn star. It’s evolved, however, into a contest where the loser gets a hand job, the runner-up gets a blowjob, and the winner gets to fuck the girl.
XBIZ: What about “The Whore Wagon”?
POWERS: (excited) “The Whore Wagon”! That’s a Powersville series along the lines of the “Fuck Truck Sluts,” which is a website that I have, where we drive around in RVs and/or cars, get drunk, go to football games, fuck girls… It’s a big party the whole day.
XBIZ: From your vast experience with porn girls over the years, what typically happens to them? I mean, so many of them appear and disappear, like comets falling from the sky.
POWERS: The girls are like little angels that flit through our lives. Porn girls are wonderful. Any girl who does porn? The very fact that they’re doing porn is great to me. I love ‘em. And every year I love the porn girls even more. Unfortunately, the average life of a porn girl is about the same life span as a fly.
And things have changed even more with the Internet: The young girls now get shoved into this cybermachine, get shot through all of these sites because the webmasters are totally needing these new faces, seeing as they want to get that affiliate program money from everybody. So they’re pushing through new girls. Constantly, constantly, constantly. Sure, porn has always been about new faces. BUT … now the push has been amped up to such a level, that these girls’ careers are over in 60 days. It’s that fast. Sure, you’ll always have certain exceptions to the rule, like the Belladonnas of porn. But, still, the average cute girl currently today does not have a long life span in porn.
And before we’re called sexists, it’s the same thing with guys on the gay end of things. Porn is a meat grinder. That’s all it is. And we try to be arty and do what we can, especially me because I at least like to look back at the movies that I’ve made and be entertained by them. I love looking back at old porn movies because of all of the memories that they conjure. So that’s why I try to put a little more into my movies than the average guy does.
XBIZ: Porn in itself is politically incorrect. Yet you, Jim Powers, are politically incorrect even within the realm of porn itself.
POWERS: (in affected self-important tone) I am the ultimate politically incorrect pornographer. (laughs) Actually, right now we’re in a really bad period of porn. Look at the garbage coming out. There’s just nothing interesting. Porn, in a creative capacity, peaked back in the late ’90s with Extreme Associates going nuts. Whether you liked them or not, Extreme pushed the envelope. I’ve always thought that I did it in a more cheeky kind of way, whereas they did it in a more URGHHHHHHH! right-in-your-face kind of way. Almost like a monkey. But the point is, they did push the envelope.
XBIZ: What’s one of your favorite films and/or series that you’ve shot?
POWERS: To this day, probably my all-time favorite porn that I’ve ever did — keeping in mind that I’ve never really made a movie that I was completely happy with — is “Perverted Stories The Movie,” that’s on the short list. Number two is the original “Chamber of Whores.” “Texas Dildo Masquerade” would be number three.
My favorite all-time series is “Perverted Stories” because Jeff Mike used to let me do ANYTHING. My other favorite series would be “School Girls,” which is put out by Powersville, where the music is very Ramones-ish. Hey, I’m an old punk rocker, still playing in my old punk band Killroy (myspace.com/ killroy-punk.com). We even have the original members in it — well, all except for the drummer. But drummers don’t count in life. (laughs)
“Girlvert” is another one of my all-time favorite series, and I think you’re going to see the pendulum swinging back to that sort stuff. Because, even though we’ve currently got the Obama Administration, the pendulum has really swung back to very, very conservative porn. And right now with the Internet you really need specific things; lines like “Violation Of” and “American Bukkake” have a very specific niche on the Internet which people can find. Hey, to this day I love shooting bukkakes because it’s just like going to a sporting event.
XBIZ: What’s the dream movie you’d still like to make?
POWERS: I have the script and everything. In fact, it almost came to fruition about eight years — then things kind of fell apart. The script contains all of the classic elements of a modern B horror movies, and it’s basically a cannibal/womenin-prison film, where girls gocamping, are captured by this inbred family who proceed to rape and eat the girls. And the cannibals have people buried in the ground and all sorts of really freaky stuff so … Yeah, I’d like to make it as a mainstream film — but I’d also simultaneously shoot it as a porn.
XBIZ: As you’re somewhat of a visionary, Jim, what does your JM-Powered crystal ball reveal about the future of XXX?
POWERS: Everyone says that it’s bleak out there in our industry—but it’s only the media that are changing. As a filmmaker, you still have to be a creative, and there’s still going to be a demand for that creativity. You think that rock bands stop making music because they can’t sell CDs? Ridiculous. Of course not. What bands do now is get out on the fucking road and sell their merchandise and CDs. That’s why every old band like REO Speedwagon and whomever is getting back together again — because they don’t get residuals anymore. Why? Because kids don’t buy CDs anymore. Nobody buys CDs. So you gotta get back out there in that big, wide world and perform.
So I think there is most definitely a future in porn. And, yes, things are looking somewhat bleak right now. But you gotta stay positive. I think it comes down to the fact that, in porn, you can’t grow up. (laughs) To me, the best guys in porn aren’t here for the money. They’re here because they’re degenerates who really like doing this. Consequently, they’re the ones who stay in this business year in and year out. You just can’t look at this as a job.