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Need to Know: Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story 

Need to Know: Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story

Chuck Holmes

The doc about Falcon Studios' Chuck Holmes premieres at the Boston LGBT Film Festival.   

Porn and politics collide in Seed Money, the eagerly anticipated documentary about the late gay porn pioneer (and gay rights activist) Chuck Holmes. After years of crowdfunding, the long-gestating film will premiere at the Boston LGBT Film Festival April 10. Director Michael Stabile traces Holmes's early days in San Francisco, fleshes out his role in revolutionizing the gay porn business in the early '70s as the co-founder of Falcon Studios, explores the contradictory nature of his political and social activism, and tackles the controversy surrounding his desire to use his massive fortune to fund the growing gay rights movement.

Moving away from the "peep show" format of the 8mm short film and elevating porn as a cinematic art form -- with higher production values, better lighting, and a cast of white, smooth, athletic, "college boy" types -- Holmes aimed to erase the back alley cliche and take gay porn into the mainstream. According to Stabile, this new breed of porn star was far removed from the mustachioed lumberjack stereotype, and brought the industry above ground with a glammed up, decadant aesthetic. By interpreting popular culture and utilizing it in their films, while capitalizing on the emergence of the home video, Falcon became a forerunner in producing and marketing feature-length adult films. His high profile position and the financial influence that accompanied it, eventually gave Holmes a platform to pursue his political interests. As Stabile has written, "Pornographers were the advance troops of our sexual revolution."

As the film shows, Holmes was seemingly indifferent to AIDS, both in his films and his personal life, until he himself became infected during the crisis. Ultimately, this was a catalyst for his philanthropy, but this new-found interest wasn't without its detractors. Some in the community feared his association with pornography would somehow tarnish the image of the movement. Through archival footage, interviews with stars who knew and worked with Chuck -- such as Jeff Stryker, John Rutherford, Chi Chi LaRue; California politicians Mark Leno and Carole Midgen; and Falcon film lovers John Waters and Jake Shears -- Stabile documents the enduring legacy of Holmes's work and his influence on the adult film industry, gay culture ,and politics.

Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story premieres at the Boston LGBT Film Festival on April 9, 2015 at 7PM. For Tickets and Information, visit Boston LGBT Film Festival.

Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story from Mike Stabile on Vimeo.

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