Director's Chair: C. Batts Fly

Bob Johnson
A photographer by trade who has shot punk metal bands, actresses, models, book covers as well as a number of layouts for adult mags like Hustler, Oui, Leg World, Taboo and Nugget, Carlos Batts’ artistic bent doesn’t stop with fstops.

His past experiences in adult have prepared him for his new passion — directing movies — a path that has recently yielded a comic book fantasy feature, “Sugar Sistas,” complete with a graphic novel as well as a long list of XXX films that includes work for Adam & Eve Pictures. Among his credits are “Voluptuous Biker Babes,” “Kiss Attack,” “Young Hollywood” and “Voluptuous Life” (with Bad Seed).

He’s also directed Heartcore Films’ “Dangerous Curves,” “Behind the Red Door” and “Glamazons” as well as his own films that include “Alter Ego,” “American Gothic” and “C. Batts FLY/Cult Epics 2005.”

In addition to the recent “Sugar Sistas,” the auteur is currently producing “Artcore,” a surreal film that he says glorifies sexual roles and body types. But his interest in film began early on when at 18 Batts shot a short film that made the horror film screening circuit and received a review in a national magazine. That planted the seed that drives him today and what ultimately will help Batts “fly” high in adult.

XBIZ: You’re not the run-of-the-mill porn director who was talent or a P.A. before directing. How did you enter the adult business?

Carlos Batts: I have been working as commercial and fine art photographer for 20 years and shot punk and metal hardcore bands including Danzig, Dog Fashion Disco, Mastodon and hip-hop artists Snoop, DJ QUIK, as well as actresses and models for magazines, albums and book covers. During the magazine era at LFP I received various assignments for magazines like Big Brother, Blunt, Rage, Rap Pages. I then started shooting for adult magazines like Taboo and Leg World that were then just starting. The editors liked my style so I started shooting for others.

I also worked as a set photographer for box covers. I have two distributed erotic coffee table books that feature images from the magazine editorials. — “Wild Skin” (Edition Reuss, 2001) and “Crazy Sexy Hollywood” (Edition Reuss, 2003).

XBIZ: How did you transition from photography to directing?

CB: Being a photographer and artist since the time I was 14, I have always been involved in production and performances. Because of this experience, directing became a relatively easy transition for me.

XBIZ: Do you have any formal filmmaking training?

CB: I went to Broadcasting School for television and studio production. I also interned and assisted with a lot of commercial photographers and directors. I received a lot of on-set training and being involved at the beginning stages of each assignment taught me many valuable lessons.

XBIZ: What about mainstream film experience?

CB: Well I’ve assisted on photo shoots for TV shows. That exposed me to the workings of directing.

XBIZ: Can you tell us about your first directorial role?

CB: I made my first short film when was 18. The film, “Puppadeere,” was reviewed by a national magazine called “Film Threat Video Guide” and I also screened it at various Horror festivals and it later premiered at the Orpheum Cinema in Baltimore. I got my first commercial international project with the cover for Tanith Lee, Personal Darkness for Dell/Abyss books when I was 19.

XBIZ: What’s your directorial “style” – aesthetic?

CB: As a director and artist I feel it’s my job to be creative and to be thought provoking. I use music, light design, unique environments and a diverse cast of different ethnicities and body types as a way to tell stories or create mood in the films. We live in a very unique cultural period in modern media where the lines between art and sex are blurred; movie stars act as porn stars in films, celebrities sell their sex tapes, fashion models wear fetish clothing on the runway, porn stars act on television and everyone has a camera. It’s a sexual world and it’s being recorded.

XBIZ: Who are your adult filmmaking mentors?

CB: I apply the same artistic vision to my fine art and commercial work that I apply to my adult projects. I would say John Waters and Russ Meyer are influences on me because they use sexual subject matters in a creative way. I also worked with the late David Aaron Clark when I first moved to L.A. I admired that he always tried to do something interesting in his films.

XBIZ: What about mainstream filmmaking inspires you. Who are your idols?

CB: The filmmakers that I like are David Lynch, Spike Lee, Tim Burton, Kevin Smith, The Brothers Quay, Todd Solondz, Alfred Hitchcock, Harmony Korine, George Romero, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino and Tod Browning.

XBIZ: How does BBW star April Flores fit into your filmmaking?

CB: April Flores has been my muse on various projects for 10 years. Sometimes she is the center of the project like our series that started with our first erotic film “Alter Ego.” Other times we collaborate on all aspects of the filmmaking process like we did with “Dangerous Curves” where she has asserted her vision in the storyline, make-up, styling and casting great talent.

XBIZ: What are you up to right now?

CB: I am currently directing and producing two new films — “Artcore” — an adult film that explores and glorifies many sexual roles and body types. It’s a very sexual, beautiful surreal film. I am also directing and producing a feature from a registered WGA original horror screenplay — “Sugar Sisters” — written by Darryl Wharton, Nathan Carlisle, and me. It’s a feature that will screen in cinemas, cable, VOD and DVD. I am also turning the screenplay into a graphic novel that’s being illustrated by Nima Sorat.

XBIZ: So what’s on your mind for the future?

CB: My goal is to continue to make original, groundbreaking work whether the genre is commercial or adult. My company is growing and my skill set and artistic/filmmaking voice and style is unparalleled. C. Batts FLY continues to grow bigger with each new production.

XBIZ: Technology in adult is big now, what with 3D movies, tablets, etc. How will tech play into your role as a director?

CB: Technology is a part of the human existence. We always have, and will continue to evolve with it. ... Everyone on the planet is recording their sex life and uploading it for free. Making parodies, low-balling directors and talent, and recycling old, tired ideas are not the future. 3D is a cool idea. People want to be turned on by new and original erotic content. The industry needs a delete button to flush out the garbage and bring the industry to the 21st Century and not relive the 90’s.

XBIZ: So how are you planning to help “flush” out the waste?

CB: The adult industry has evolved with technological advances from 8mm film to VHS to the Internet and now VOD and mobile devices. But in addition to electronic devices and gadgetry there should be an intellectual evolution in the industry as well. I make films that show new ideas about sexuality, body image and different cultures — Blacks, Latins and Asians make up a large part of the buying demographic. My fans, which include all ethnicities, have expressed a desire to see voluptuous women and people of color in more films where they are not stereotyped. People are willing to pay for things that are unique and represent their interest.


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