Two HUGE pieces of news for Viv Thomas members…
First, the sad news. Our wonderful director Guy Ranieri Sblattero has had to take a step back from VT due to personal reasons (don’t worry folks, it’s nothing serious, just something that will take him away from us for the time being). Guy has done a wonderful job of revitalising VT and bringing it bang up to date, and I’m sure you will join me in thanking him and wishing him the very best for the future.
Now, the AMAZING news. None other than Guy’s friend and mentor, the legendary director ALIS LOCANTA, will be taking the helm! For those of you who aren’t already familiar with his groundbreaking work, Alis Locanta is one of the incredible team of artists over at our sister site SexArt. The video above will serve as a quick introduction to a filmmaker whose creative genius knows no bounds. I think when you’ve watched it, you’ll be as excited as we are about the future of VT.
And guess what, folks – tomorrow morning, I’ll be on my way to join Alis, his talented team and a whole bunch of top-class models on location in Spain! Believe me, your mind will be blown when you hear which models are involved in this momentous shoot. I’ll be grabbing every opportunity to interview the girls, capture all the behind-the-scenes action, and generally make sure you don’t miss a thing!
If you’d like to learn more about this inventive, skilful and daring maestro of erotic cinema, read on. I invited the Italian auteur, who is based in Barcelona, to introduce himself to VT members and share his past experiences and his vision for the future of VT…
Alis, please tell us about your background in film, and how you started to shoot erotica.
AL: Life is an amazing journey and sometimes, unexpected things happen! When I was a kid my whole life was focused on music. I spent all my days playing, playing and playing, guitar and piano. I could only imagine my future as a musician (or an astronaut, for sure…!). But my journey had just started, and it took a different direction. One day I started getting seriously interested – almost obsessed – about how they shoot films. I was about 15, and I wondered how they use cameras, lights, dollies… I couldn’t stop thinking. As soon as I started working (in a big company, in IT), I spent my first wage packet on buying a VHS-C camera and started shooting stupid short movies with my friends. That obsession became a real passion. I worked many years for that company till the day I decide to soar. I became a filmmaker. During those years I shot a lot of projects (some good, some less good…) and I was finally happy my passion was my job. But something else was going to happen. One day I was watching a porn movie (oops! I mean… a friend of mine was watching a porn movie!!!... haha!). It was a VHS tape and it started with some trailers: between a lot of trashy stuff, I saw something incredibly unique! It was an Andrew Blake film. I couldn’t believe it was an adult feature! It looked like a fashion or music video! Well… that was the moment I understood I really wanted to shoot erotica.
Do you remember your first SexArt production?
AL: Yes of course! I can’t forget it! It was June 2012 and I was in Budapest. After seeing a demo I shot, Jon [owner of the MetArt Network] asked me to shoot something better, something cooler. I spent many days thinking about that script. I wrote many ideas but in the end I trashed them. So I decided to stop thinking about other films and only imagine something very personal, according to my vision. So, like a tightrope walker without a net, I shot ‘Ode to Beginning,’ a visionary girl-girl scene with Aleska Diamond and Denisa Doll. I shot a lot of stuff handheld, inspired by my great masters, Mann and Soderbergh, using a classical piece of music I love: ‘Clair De Lune’ by Debussy. When I sent the final cut to Jon I was incredibly tense. I’d watched all the SexArt films and I knew I had shot something pretty different. I remember that night; I was in a pub (not my habit, I’m not a night life lover) and I got an email from Jon: he liked it!
What is your proudest achievement to date?
AL: Well… my best answer is: the next one! But it’s not a figure of speech! I really mean I’m so proud about what’s happening soon. SexArt members have known me since 2012 and they assisted me on this fantastic journey. If you look at this teaser clip you can understand exactly what I feel: in these three years I have put all my efforts into giving members a very unique product; my first year was really hard, I hadn’t found my way and I couldn’t express my vision. Then I finally understood how to do that. And now, after shooting more than 200 films for SexArt and having many of them top ranked, I feel ready to start a new journey. So, when I say my proudest achievement is my next one, I mean members are going to see a new Locanta.
How did you get involved with VivThomas.com?
AL: The past year has been pretty unusual: on one side I started experimenting on SexArt with my deepest ideas (thanks to the huge confidence Jon has shown in me); on the other side I have been working ‘behind the scenes’ with Guy. He’s a very talented artist and I only helped him to put all his ideas inside the wonderful MetArt box. A few times I was tempted to change some elements of his filmmaking, but I didn’t. I still believe he did something unique and really new. I think his films are the most mainstream adult content I’ve ever seen. So, here we are. I actually have been involved with VT, as a mentor and advisor, for a year. When Guy said he needed to take a step back, I talked with Jon for days and days. We both felt VT needed a new vision to make it great, as its creator did many years ago.
How do you feel about taking the directorial helm at Viv Thomas?
AL: Good good good!!! This is exactly the kind of adventure that excites me! MetArt Network members are incredible people! I used to look at many adult sites and I spent a lot of time reading members’ comments. Well, let’s just say that here we have the best community. I’m not saying our members always appreciate our job; I’m saying we have real communication, a person to talk with, to match, and to be inspired by. And I want to tell them I’m already spending every drop of my sweat to make them happy!
What are your plans for it?
AL: I think I’ve read every single VT comment in the last year. Yes, really!!! It helped me a lot to understand what the members like and what they hate. First of all I want to say something very important: don’t expect to see SexArt Locanta’s films, just VT branded… You’d be completely wrong! Many members already know I have a huge passion for filmmaking and some addiction to dark scenarios. But I’m a pro. The pro doesn’t shoot for himself. I’m not the kind of director who says, “I shoot my film for my own taste…” I have worked hard with Jon, Rose and my priceless executive producer Estelle Adams on developing a magic potion. Its ingredients come only from members’ feedback. Now I don’t want to give away too many details, so I can only say that members will “see.” Yes, you are going to watch a celebration of female beauty, passion, connection and lust. The only thing that will be the same as my SexArt productions is the models – be ready to see all the top-ranked girls I have worked with, and new models too, including some fantastic girls from the US!
Is there a model who particularly inspires you?
AL: Ahhh! That’s a hard question! In the past three years I worked with a lot of models, more than 100, but only a very few of them could really understand my vision. I’m not saying I didn’t work well with the others, but those models really helped me to get what I wanted. I can say Melena A and Mango A are my muses when I have to create a visionary world based on breathtaking beauty. While my great friend Amarna Miller (especially in ‘Love For Sale – Crossdressing’ on SexArt) and Czech Iwia (just think about ‘The Contract’) show me incredible acting skills, worthy of mainstream productions.
How do you get the models to understand the role and get into character?
AL: Do you want to know a secret? The real answer to this question is: Google Translate! Hahaha, no, just kidding! When I shoot a model who already knows me, it’s pretty easy for us to understand each other. For example, with Amarna I go on defining the role even during the shooting (“… let’s try to do it like this, like that…”). With new models it’s more difficult: we talk a lot, I show them examples, scenes from mainstream movies, just to describe the emotions and expressions. A funny story: when I shot Lola Reve for the first time, for ‘The Heat 2,’ it was really hard; she only speaks French and I don’t speak French at all! So I really had to use a translator before and during our shoot!
What inspires you – movies, music, books, dreams?
AL: I don’t read many books (even if it sounds like an excuse, I don’t have time) and my dreams are not so erotic – most of them are about school exams or classwork! I get my inspiration from mainstream movies and music videos. I watch a lot of different genres; comedy is the one thing I don’t like that much. My milestones are ‘Traffic’ by Soderbergh, ‘Insider’ by Mann, ‘Memento’ by Nolan and ‘Babel’ by Inarritu. When I shoot my films I always want to tell a story. If you are not telling something, you have failed. Those movies and how they have been shot, help me to find a cool way to tell that story. When you shoot a scene, you have plenty of ‘tools’ for describing characters, moods and feelings. If you shoot the same action in two different styles, you can express two completely different emotions.
How much planning goes into a shoot? Do you storyboard every shot in advance?
AL: I write a lot. To be honest I completely suck at drawing! So it’s impossible to have storyboards. So I have to write everything, every little detail. For a fifteen minute film I might have a five page script. Most of the time I decide the music soundtrack before shooting; as many of you know, music is so important for me. And having a good music track in my mind helps me a lot during the shoot.
You shoot a lot of technically complicated shots. Do you spend a lot of time experimenting with different techniques?
AL: That’s my passion, that’s my life. It brings me back to my very beginning: when I was obsessed to know HOW they shot films. Even if every filmmaker has a style, I’m trying not to shoot the same feature every time. I like to experiment with new solutions, but I need to think, develop, write and test before doing it in a final film. If I have a rule it is: what’s in front of the camera must be as perfect as what’s behind the camera.
How is your relationship with the MetArt Network?
AL: As I said at the start, life is a long and incredible journey. In 2012 I couldn’t have known I would get to know Jon and get involved in the MetArt Network. I could say that was one of those moments when your life changes. My relationship with Jon is one of those things that makes my job priceless. I’m not saying it has always been easy… it could sound fake! But it has been a continuous growing up process. Jon helped me a lot with all his words, his critique; if now I have raised the bar so high, it is thanks to him. When we meet in LA we always have a great time, talking about new ideas, new projects and laughing about some of the ‘less good stuff’ I shot in the beginning!
Alis Locanta’s movies will be available on Viv Thomas starting from December 1. Prepared to be dazzled and delighted!