It is without question the iconic series in the gay porn industry, its name alone virtually defining the studio that started it all and helping shape those that followed. Debuting in 1983, “The Other Side of Aspen” set a standard by combining the hottest stars with high production values and scenic locations. It instantly defined the Falcon brand and spawned four more successful sequels that concluded in 2001 with “Part V,” another hit that continued the quality trademarks fans came to know and love.
“‘The Other Side of Aspen’ was the first movie Falcon studios ever made — and the series as a whole is the high point of the Falcon library,” Chris Ward says. “I saw each of the ‘Aspen’ movies as a porn fan. ‘Aspen 1’ was a watermark event in the history of porn — it was one of the most popular films of all time and it certainly got my attention as a fan before I ever got into the industry.”
Thus it may come as a surprise to some that Ward — who took over the reins of the famed studio when VOD giant AEBN acquired Falcon in late 2010, merging it with the famed director’s Raging Stallion Studios to create a production powerhouse — chose to revisit the classic series so soon. Released this spring, “The Other Side of Aspen VI” is meant to return the Falcon name to its glory days.
“When I became head of Falcon we started a new chapter in the history of the company. I wanted to make a bold statement to say to everyone that the great Falcon of old was back in business. I thought that going back to the greatest franchise in the library would be a statement about continuity and about change,” he explains. “For continuity, it showed that Falcon would stay ‘Falcon’— not become another Raging Stallion. For change, it meant that real filmmaking and very high quality that had often been lacking in recent years was back to stay.”
Not only did the decision force instant comparisons to some of the most popular and lasting titles ever, it immediately put Ward under the microscope. “I know that my own reputation as a top director was on the line, so I just wanted to make a great movie,” he says. “I kept the basic Falcon style — not the recent style, but the old style from a decade ago. I focused on penetration — something that is my trademark as a director. The big thing in “Aspen” for the Falcon fan will be much-better-filmed sex — the camera is a lot closer. ‘Aspen’ is a basic Chris Ward film, but shot with guys who are not as hairy and macho as in my Raging Stallion films.”
Keeping those two identities separate was key for Ward and the fans, and the finished product promises to be one of (if not the) biggest events of the year. Running nearly three hours, the new film boasts a star-studded cast and also includes a bonus DVD including extra scenes and a retrospective documentary on the series that includes interviews with other Hall of Fame directors. It’s also available in a collector’s set with the other five films, some of which have been out of print.
“It was a good shoot — my favorite part was when all the Falcon exclusives came up to me and let me know how excited they were about being part of the new merged operation. Many of the Falcon models love Raging films, so it was nice to hear the excitement in the air. It was my first chance to work with Roman Heart and Landon Conrad — and what porn director would not want to work with guys of that caliber?”
Ward is proud of the finished product, which has nine scenes — including a final 90 minutes filled with “100 percent fucking.” It also pairs Heart with Tony Buff, a duo sure to draw attention. That heat made the cold conditions worth it.
“It was very, very cold and we had a blizzard that buried us under six feet of snow,” Ward says. “Being from Florida, I found it exciting…it’s the most snow I have ever seen in my life. It’s difficult to shoot outdoors in the snow and cold, so the movie is mainly shot inside — same as the previous Aspen movies. Fortunately, the location we rented had lots of huge windows so you get the feel of winter throughout the movie.”
And series fans will be pleased to know that yes, there is an orgy — it wouldn’t be an ‘Aspen’ film without one. Although in this instance, Ward thought it best to focus on quality and not be obsessed with quantity.
“I did not try to top the earlier orgies. One of the earlier ones had 26 guys in it! Imagine, that is over $30,000 in model fees just for one scene! I knew we had to have a big group scene — indeed, the orgy in ‘Aspen VI’ is the heart of the movie. I just focused on eight guys and filming them well.”