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Tonight is one of the biggest nights in the porn industry, the final evening event of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo: the 2011 AVN awards! One of the definitive "stars" this particular year in awards is sure to be Private Media Group's independent release, An Open Invitation: A Real Swingers' Party in San Francisco, nominated for such categories as best film, best actress, best supporting actress, best supporting actor, best director, and best group sex scene. It's sure to be an exciting night for both the creative forces behind the film, such as director Ilana Rothman and VP of Private's Online Services, Andrew Sullivan, as well as for the amazing stars, such as Kink.com talent Lorelei Lee and Crash Pad Series star Mickey Mod. Also exciting, though, is the fact that Andrew was generous enough to give us an in-depth interview before the award results were even in! Here's what he had to say about the film and the lifestyle it presents:Sarah: What inspired the making a film for couples about swinging and open relationships?Andrew: For couples, modern life can be hard.�Both people are often working, focusing on their financial commitments. Then there?s shuttling kids, shopping, cooking?it?s enough to transform a couple of wonderful people in love into emotionally distant people who, through a series of daily negotiations over time and responsibilities, have lost touch with the erotic base, fueled by open communication, that sets the foundation for vibrant, long-term relationships.So one of the primary motivators for the story was that to show how the trust, history and honesty at the center of healthy relationships can be catalysts for transformative experiences.�Lovers should want their lover to grow and enjoy and seek adventure and live life fully.�We need to rethink our ideas of what long-term relationships are for and An Open Invitation, by starting with a couple very much in love, raises this question.Sarah: This is an independent film up for 11 AVN award nominations. What does it offer viewers that some mainstream porn might not?Andrew: A meaningful, thoughtful script. A great love story. Great cinematography. Great sets. Great acting.� The cast was selected based on their acting skills.� Everyone on set could act and they viewed themselves as actors first and adult stars second.It?s also a docu-drama.�It?s rare to see a fictional narrative intersect with a documentary as smoothly as it does in An Open Invitation.�Most people actually don?t even notice what we did when transitioning to the party scene.We also made a point to shoot on location.�I didn?t want an adult film shot in a villa or on a hotel couch. We wanted to put people in clubs that viewers might have been to, restaurant settings they can identify with, work environments that unify the audience and actor. These efforts are all part of the general goal to create a believable arch of experience.�We want the viewer to think: ?Hey?I can see that happening to me.? This is not a film with a girl at a bar who quickly returns home with a man who compliments her sizeable tits.�This is a film that tries to show how a normal couple might go from having a dinner to ending up a private play party?and enjoy it!Sarah: Who has been involved with the project and what does it reflect about the swinging lifestyle? Andrew: This film is a celebration of the people who are the real cultural drivers behind the alternative sex scene in San Francisco.�I incorporated the people who run the clubs, the websites and the parties into the film.�They?re there. They act in it and we promote that fact.�So this film is an expose to that scene in the most positive sense.Sarah: How did you select the swingers and swingers? party hosts who attend the party in the film?Andrew: The guests selected from a couple of different groups: Kink.com?s list of party-goers, a number of couples from LifestyleLounge.com, and members of local couples? clubs who responded to an invitation email.�All guests were then screened for a couple of criteria, which included aesthetics, experience in the lifestyle and exhibitionist tendencies.�All guests had to take photos and sign model release documents before entering the party.Sarah: An Open Invitation has such an eclectic and dynamic cast. How did you choose which actors would be involved? What?s your personal favorite scene?Andrew: Kink.com?s casting director suggested a number of potential candidates and Ilana and I went through all of the photos and videos of each candidate to determine the right person for each role.�Acting skill was key, as was diversity of cast.�We had a number of debates over some of the key roles and I think we ended up with an ideal pool of talent.�Everyone really delivered. You know, never having produced an adult video and having seen my share of really bad interviews with stars, I came to the set with certain assumptions.�This cast blew them all away ? they are all so articulate, so professional, so passionate and kind.There are many scenes in the film that are my favorite ? they all have an important role in the progression of the story.� But the restaurant scene for me rises above the others. The physical acting is fantastic! The build up from an awkward, tense beginning to a bacchanalian feast was done perfectly. These subtle moments, such as when James Deen (playing Mr. Bloom) and India (playing Mrs. Bloom) swap seats to get cozy with their opposites, or the moment where they wrestle over the glass of wine - which it?s cute and provides a glimpse of the type of comfort that a strong relationship would have - these were exactly the kind of subtle and believable escalations that I was looking for. The restaurant scene was the tipping point for the Blooms, because their lives will never be the same when the leave the restaurant with their new friends, which I think is an experience that we can all relate to.Sarah: Both the director Ilana Rothman and the star Lorelei Lee of this film are women who were heavily involved with the design and style of the feature. How does their perspective as women enhance the film, or allow them to connect more closely with the viewer?Andrew: The fact that the film was directed by a great woman, with much of the sex orchestrated by a great woman, as well as the scenes shot by a great woman - that makes a difference.�Certain subtleties, perspectives, attention to the body and the face and the clothes?I hate to generalize and stereotype, but I don?t believe this film could have been made by men.�It has a distinctly aggressive feminine eroticism to it.�And that is, whether intentional or not, a reflection of the personalities behind it.Sarah: The Kink.com armory is such a beautiful shooting location. How did Kink.com get involved in the project?Andrew: This was PRIVATE Media Group?s second film with Kink.com.�The first, entitled ?A Real Swingers Orgy,? was a strong concept, but fell short in a number of critical areas, though given that it was Kink.com?s first feature film, it was an extraordinary effort, actually.�For our second effort, we wanted to make sure we had more creative control and leveraged what Kink.com does really well: production.�Kink.com has incredibly strong production skills and easy access to some lesser-known, but very talented actors.�We added a meaningful story and the concept of the Open series.�The party scene was filmed in Kink.com?s Upper Floor, which was created using the budget from our first collaboration.�It?s a wonderful space.Sarah: Sex toys are also the stars of the film (such as the wonderful Hitachi Magic Wand!). How did you decide to make sex toys a part of the show?Andrew: Well, for example, when Ilana and I were discussing a particularly passionate sex scene with the Angels (played by Lorelei Lee and Mickey Mod), she made a point to say there would be a Hitachi in the scene. Ilana and Lorelei both made sure the clit was well-cared for.�But it goes beyond that.�The women in this film are extremely relaxed and obviously enjoying the making of the film.�This level of comfort ? of being around strong women who are passionate about what they?re doing and very comfortable in their positions ? was infectious.�Just check out the incredibly hot sex ? made hot because the women are in control of the action.�That?s just a little of what they brought to the show.Sarah: As I understand it, this film is a part of a series. Can you tell me more about that?Andrew: I have the next two scripts written already and the next Open Series film will be shot in Barcelona in the spring.�The series deals with erotic triggers that present opportunities for people to explore their boundaries.�The triggers are everyday, common, quotidian things ? like food and cooking, dance and language. Things that are core to our daily routine but, when presented differently when the mind is open, act as gateways to growth. I?m always looking for the believable creative arch that takes a ?normal? person and leads them into an extraordinary situation.�The series will travel around the world to major cities ? Paris, Rome, New York, Los Angeles, Montreal ? and showcase the local cultural drivers, incorporating them into the film just as we did in San Francisco. People will be able to sign up to attend the real party that will close every Open Series film, and I?ve already had strong international requests to attend the Open Series event in Barcelona.Sarah: What would you like couples to take away from the film?Andrew: A conversation about what they might do to live more in lines with their interests, their desires and their dreams.�What they might do to love more passionately.�Even decades into a great relationship, you can make it even better.�What is it that you can do as a couple to help each other grow? I think this is the key to An Open Invitation: the relationship should be seen as a home base to which you can always return from your risky adventures.�Use its strength, lean on the love, test the trust.�The relationship can liberate, but both parties have to be ready.�That requires an honest talk. me.? This is not a film with a girl at a bar who quickly returns home with a man who compliments her sizeable tits.�This is a film that tries to show how a normal couple might go from having a dinner to ending up a private play party?and enjoy it!Sarah: Who has been involved with the project and what does it reflect about the swinging lifestyle? Andrew: This film is a celebration of the people who are the real cultural drivers behind the alternative sex scene in San Francisco.�I incorporated the people who run the clubs, the websites and the parties into the film.�They?re there. They act in it and we promote that fact.�So this film is an expose to that scene in the most positive sense.Sarah: How did you select the swingers and swingers? party hosts who attend the party in the film?Andrew: The guests selected from a couple of different groups: Kink.com?s list of party-goers, a number of couples from LifestyleLounge.com, and members of local couples? clubs who responded to an invitation email.�All guests were then screened for a couple of criteria, which included aesthetics, experience in the lifestyle and exhibitionist tendencies.�All guests had to take photos and sign model release documents before entering the party.Sarah: An Open Invitation has such an eclectic and dynamic cast. How did you choose which actors would be involved? What?s your personal favorite scene?Andrew: Kink.com?s casting director suggested a number of potential candidates and Ilana and I went through all of the photos and videos of each candidate to determine the right person for each role.�Acting skill was key, as was diversity of cast.�We had a number of debates over some of the key roles and I think we ended up with an ideal pool of talent.�Everyone really delivered. You know, never having produced an adult video and having seen my share of really bad interviews with stars, I came to the set with certain assumptions.�This cast blew them all away ? they are all so articulate, so professional, so passionate and kind.There are many scenes in the film that are my favorite ? they all have an important role in the progression of the story.� But the restaurant scene for me rises above the others. The physical acting is fantastic! The build up from an awkward, tense beginning to a bacchanalian feast was done perfectly. These subtle moments, such as when James Deen (playing Mr. Bloom) and India (playing Mrs. Bloom) swap seats to get cozy with their opposites, or the moment where they wrestle over the glass of wine - which it?s cute and provides a glimpse of the type of comfort that a strong relationship would have - these were exactly the kind of subtle and believable escalations that I was looking for. The restaurant scene was the tipping point for the Blooms, because their lives will never be the same when the leave the restaurant with their new friends, which I think is an experience that we can all relate to.Sarah: Both the director Ilana Rothman and the star Lorelei Lee of this film are women who were heavily involved with the design and style of the feature. How does their perspective as women enhance the film, or allow them to connect more closely with the viewer?Andrew: The fact that the film was directed by a great woman, with much of the sex orchestrated by a great woman, as well as the scenes shot by a great woman - that makes a difference.�Certain subtleties, perspectives, attention to the body and the face and the clothes?I hate to generalize and stereotype, but I don?t believe this film could have been made by men.�It has a distinctly aggressive feminine eroticism to it.�And that is, whether intentional or not, a reflection of the personalities behind it.Sarah: The Kink.com armory is such a beautiful shooting location. How did Kink.com get involved in the project?Andrew: This was PRIVATE Media Group?s second film with Kink.com.�The first, entitled ?A Real Swingers Orgy,? was a strong concept, but fell short in a number of critical areas, though given that it was Kink.com?s first feature film, it was an extraordinary effort, actually.�For our second effort, we wanted to make sure we had more creative control and leveraged what Kink.com does really well: production.�Kink.com has incredibly strong production skills and easy access to some lesser-known, but very talented actors.�We added a meaningful story and the concept of the Open series.�The party scene was filmed in Kink.com?s Upper Floor, which was created using the budget from our first collaboration.�It?s a wonderful space.Sarah: Sex toys are also the stars of the film (such as the wonderful Hitachi Magic Wand!). How did you decide to make sex toys a part of the show?Andrew: Well, for example, when Ilana and I were discussing a particularly passionate sex scene with the Angels (played by Lorelei Lee and Mickey Mod), she made a point to say there would be a Hitachi in the scene. Ilana and Lorelei both made sure the clit was well-cared for.�But it goes beyond that.�The women in this film are extremely relaxed and obviously enjoying the making of the film.�This level of comfort ? of being around strong women who are passionate about what they?re doing and very comfortable in their positions ? was infectious.�Just check out the incredibly hot sex ? made hot because the women are in control of the action.�That?s just a little of what they brought to the show.Sarah: As I understand it, this film is a part of a series. Can you tell me more about that?Andrew: I have the next two scripts written already and the next Open Series film will be shot in Barcelona in the spring.�The series deals with erotic triggers that present opportunities for people to explore their boundaries.�The triggers are everyday, common, quotidian things ? like food and cooking, dance and language. Things that are core to our daily routine but, when presented differently when the mind is open, act as gateways to growth. I?m always looking for the believable creative arch that takes a ?normal? person and leads them into an extraordinary situation.�The series will travel around the world to major cities ? Paris, Rome, New York, Los Angeles, Montreal ? and showcase the local cultural drivers, incorporating them into the film just as we did in San Francisco. People will be able to sign up to attend the real party that will close every Open Series film, and I?ve already had strong international requests to attend the Open Series event in Barcelona.Sarah: What would you like couples to take away from the film?Andrew: A conversation about what they might do to live more in lines with their interests, their desires and their dreams.�What they might do to love more passionately.�Even decades into a great relationship, you can make it even better.�What is it that you can do as a couple to help each other grow? I think this is the key to An Open Invitation: the relationship should be seen as a home base to which you can always return from your risky adventures.�Use its strength, lean on the love, test the trust.�The relationship can liberate, but both parties have to be ready.�That requires an honest talk.