Confessions of a Vice Baron

Sexploitation Filmmakers Meet the Academy

A Roundtable Discussion Presented by the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University

Panelists, Moderators, and Organizers


Richard E. Brooks
Richard E. "Dick" Brooks began his feature filmmaking career as an assistant cinematographer on the sexploitation classic White Slaves of Chinatown. He also worked lights and camera on several other sex-exploitation features.
Audrey Campbell
Audrey Campbell is a name well-known to exploitation film aficionados as the face and voice of the notorious "Madame Olga." In addition to having created perhaps the most enduring female character within the sexploitation cinema, Audrey worked extensively for many years as a print model and actress on numerous soap operas and is a veteran of other early sexploitation features.
David F. Friedman
Without doubt the greatest natural historian of 20th century exploitation film, David Friedman's career in the American film industry has spanned over fifty years and encompassed nearly every position one could imagine. Distributor, producer, director, exhibitor, screenwriter, actor and ambassador of goodwill, Dave was also the first President of the American Adult Motion Picture Association. His memoirs, A Youth in Babylon: Confessions of a Trash-Film King, has proven to be one of the fundamental source texts in exploitation film studies and another book is said to be waiting in the wings.
Arthur Morowitz
Arthur Morowitz is a graduate of New York University and a founding memberof Distribpix, the largest distributor of adult-oriented film fare of the sexploitation era. He is responsible for having produced scores of sex-exploitation features and opened up considerable new markets to adult film.
Kemper Peacock
A former NYU filmmaking student, Kemper Peacock's first editing job in the feature film industry was cutting a trailer for a Joe Sarno movie. He quickly became Joe's principal editor and began working on numerous other projects within the New York sex-exploitation milieu during the mid-1960s. Kemper eventually left feature film work for a long career in sports television.
Joseph W. Sarno
Probably the most prolific sex-exploitation filmmaker of the 1960s, Joseph Sarno is known to have completed over 50 sex-exploitation and soft-core features between 1962 and 1975. A natural cinema stylist whose work is distinguished by a psychological and aesthetic intensity rarely matched by filmmakers in any aspect of the industry, Joe's work has been the subject of attention by critic Andrew Sarris and Artforum magazine and was recently celebrated at a tribute by the New York Underground Film Festival. One of the true pioneers of the sexploitation genre, his films have employed countless people who went on to work in every area of the film industry.
Peggy Steffans-Sarno
Beginning her acting career in Adolfas Mekas's Hallelujah the Hills, Peggy Steffans quickly transformed herself into one of the most versatile actresses in Sixties sexploitation. Under the name "Cleo Nova" she has appeared variously as a gypsy, a spy, a chambermaid and a charwoman and her close association with director Joe Sarno has led to a life-long collaboration. Peggy has co-produced many of Joe's best films and continues to work as an actress.
C. Davis Smith
C. Davis "Chuck" Smith was one of the best-known and most active cameramen in the New York sex-exploitation film world. A co-producer, director and editor on several sex-exploitation features of his own, he is also remembered for his tremendous contribution to the films of the late Doris Wishman—the only female producer/director continuously active in the sex-exploitation genre. As Wishmanıs director of photography, Chuck brought a unique documentary sensibility and acute eye for detail to Wishman's best work, elements which have contributed greatly to her current renown.
Bondi Wilson Walters
Daughter of the virtually legendary Times Square exhibitor Chellee Wilson, Bondi Wilson Walters grew up within the matrix of the New York exploitation film world. Active in every aspect of her mother's business, she has distinguished herself as a producer, distributor and cinema operator, continuing in that function right up to the Disneyfication of 42nd Street.


Moya Luckett
Moya Luckett is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh. With Hilary Radner, she is the co-editor of Swinging Single: Representing Sexuality in the 1960s (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999). She has published articles and reviews in academic journals including Screen and Velvet Light Trap and has essays in several recent anthologies. Her article "Sexploitation as Feminine Territory: The Films of Doris Wishman" is forthcoming in Mark Jancovich and Antonio Lazaro, Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003). Moya has also recently completed a manuscript entitled Cinema and Community: Progressivism, Spectatorship and Identity in Chicago, 1907-1917 and is working on a book provisionally entitled Femininity and Cult Film.
Eric Schaefer
Eric Schaefer is Associate Professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston. He received his Ph.D. from the Radio-Television-Film Department of the University of Texas at Austin and is author of the book "Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!": A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959 (Duke University Press, 1999), the first and only scholarly account of early exploitation films in the United States. Eric's writing has appeared in such journals as Film Quarterly, Film History, The Journal of Film and Video, Velvet Light Trap and Cinema Journal. He also reviews films on a weekly basis for NPR affiliate WBUR-FM in Boston. Eric is currently working on Massacre of Pleasure: A History of the Sexploitation Film, 1960-1979.
Grady Turner
Grady Turner is a curator and critic of contemporary art best known for his work focusing on challenging subjects from the socio-historical milieu. Former Director of Exhibitions at the New York Historical Society, he was responsible for such break-through exhibits as "Before Central Park: The Life and Death of Seneca Village," "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America," and "Flophouse: Life on the Bowery." He was also curator of the Museum of Sex's inaugural exhibition, "NYC Sex: How New York City Transformed Sex in America," and is editor of the book of the same name. He has written for such publications such Art in America, Flash Art, ARTnews, The New York Times and Bomb, where he is a contributing editor.


Michael J. Bowen
Michael Bowen is a graduate student in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University. His work as an independent scholar in the field of sexploitation has spanned several years, including a long association with filmmaker Doris Wishman, about whom Michael has published several articles and is currently preparing a book. Michael's proposed dissertation is a cultural history of sexploitation film culture in New York City during the 1960s. He organized a recent tribute to filmmaker Joseph Sarno at the New York Underground Film Festival and has made numerous live and media appearances.
Elena Gorfinkel
Elena Gorfinkel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University. Some of her recent publications include an article on Radley Metzger's arthouse erotica in Underground USA: Filmmaking Outside the Hollywood Canon, and on Doris Wishman's Double Agent 73 in Unruly Pleasures: The Cult Film and its Critics. Her dissertation examines 1960s sexploitation cinema and issues of spectatorship, taste, and erotic temporality. Elena has also worked in film programming, serving on the programming committee of MIX 2002: the New York Lesbian & Gay Experimental Film & Video Festival, and co-curating the SEXperimental series at Ocularis in November 2001. She has additionally organized a number of conferences, among them a symposium on Cinephilia at NYU in Spring 2002.