An indecent proposal: A former Durango resident finds love – and lust – on the set of socially responsible erotic films
It’s not uncommon for couples to capture their marriage proposal on video. Still, very few pop the question during the filming of an erotic spoof of a public service announcement on anal sex – especially an award-winning one.
“Remy” is an editor, cameraman, and occasional actor for Spark Erotic, a Denver-based adult film studio. In addition to occasional screenings, the studio provides a subscription service through its website. (Because some people at Spark choose to keep their identities separate, many adopt stage names.)
Remy went to high school in Pagosa Springs and followed some friends over to Durango, spending the better part of his 20s in the service industry, “cooking, waiting tables, serving drinks, and going down to Animas and having a good time.”
Around 2012, he followed his then-girlfriend from Durango to Fort Collins, where she was headed to graduate school, and where he had a job waiting at a friend’s bar. It was at that bar that he would eventually meet his future fiancée, “Rogue.” (Yes, ’90s X-Men fans, Remy’s choice of stage name is a direct homage to Gambit and his relationship with that Rogue.)
Going Rogue At the time she met Remy, Rogue was already involved with Spark Erotic. In fact, she was the star of the studio’s first film, “Redemption,” a one-woman show, if you will, in which the star comes home after getting laid off from her job and improves her day through some self-gratification in the shower.
Rogue, who emigrated to America from Lithuania at the age of 10, said her background led her to get involved in the adult film industry.
“Coming from Europe ... my upbringing was definitely very different. As far as sexuality goes, sex wasn’t really as taboo as it is here,” she said. “We use it to sell everything here – but God forbid women enjoy it and talk about it.
“I was always very open sexually about my experiences, and I always enjoy talking about it from an educational standpoint, and just having no shame,” she said.
This led some mutual friends to introduce Rogue to the founders of Spark: “Urvashi” and “Kama,” who are the director and director of photography of its films, respectively. The filmmakers were having a hard time finding a leading lady in Colorado at the time.
“I hadn’t done anything like that before, but I had always wanted to. And I just wasn’t quite willing to go with the mainstream of the industry,” Rogue said. “It was probably going to be a fantasy I never fulfilled. And then ... I met these people and their vision aligned with mine, so I was totally on board right away.”
Real peopleKama and Urvashi have been doing erotic photography for about 15 years, Remy said. About 4 years ago, they decided to try their hand at making their first erotic film, which resulted in “Redemption.” Now that they’re in full swing, Spark releases a film about every four to six weeks.
The goal of Spark, Urvashi said, is to portray sex in an authentic manner. The company shows real people having sex, but in a professional way.
“We use real couples,” she said. “Normal people can see themselves in them and not these professional, plasticized actors.”
“All of the people that we work with are good looking and they’re all very sexy people,” Remy said. “But some of the guys have, like, dad bods, and some of the girls have stretch marks because they have ... three kids and everything.”
The result, Urvashi hopes, is to give viewers permission to engage in better sex in their own lives. “People are like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re doing that? I can do that.’” she said. “I really want sex to be more normalized for people – for people to see sex in absolutely normal situations in people’s lives.”
There are certain things that Urvashi and Spark will never have on film, Remy said. “There’s so much going on in the adult film industry right now, of cheating and family hook-ups and all of these taboo things that we are going to distance ourselves from. We’re not saying that that’s wrong – we’re not kink-shaming anyone – but we will never cast a light on that because we don’t feel that we need to.”
The cast and crew of Spark Erotic would rather make erotica that women want to see, that couples want to see, and that nobody at the end of the day is ashamed of having watched or been a part of, he said.
Enter RemyRogue met Remy either while he was bartending (if you ask him) or working the door (if you ask her). They dated off and on for a while before making it official in 2016.
Every year, the Spark Erotic team goes down to Vail and spends two to three days on a team retreat, which features acting exercises and monologue readings and the like, Remy said. Rogue invited him to one of the retreats, and that was when he met most of the Spark crew.
“The first time that I met most of the team was basically committing to be in the same condo with them for three days,” he said. “It just really clicked, and we all became fast friends. And I was always like ... I’ll help out. But I don’t ever see myself being in front of the camera.”
Spark had an editor and a cameraman when Rogue met Remy, but life got in the way and he became too busy. So Remy volunteered.
“I was like, ‘Well, hey ... I used to kind of dabble around with editing and stuff like that if you guys want some help,’” he said.
Remy took CCTV classes in high school and worked the closed circuit TV news channel in the morning, filming sports teams and the like, and putting together videos. Later, in Durango, he opened a small company with some friends.
“It was just basically an excuse for us to get together and hang out and goof around,” he said. “We’d do local TV commercials, we’d shoot music videos for friends bands. I would make silly little stop motion things to put on like YouTube and stuff like that. ... It was never anything that I really made any money off of.”
Remy worked on a couple of projects for Kama and Urvashi and they liked what he did enough to keep giving him work. The most contentious element of Spark’s films, Remy said, is the music. He tries to save money by getting royalty-free songs while his bosses prefer to splurge a bit, and the editing of the films can’t really begin until the music is chosen.
At first, he would work his normal 40 to 50 hour per week job and edit Spark projects at home, or take weekends off to shoot with them. But finally, in March 2018, they offered him a full-time contract. Shortly thereafter, his life would change.
A modest proposal Remy said that he came up with the idea for “P.S.A.” as a comedic take on an erotic film because he hadn’t seen many people take on that sort of project. The first half of the film would be shot in black and white, with film artifacts reminiscent of mid-20th century public service announcements. The second half – the sex scene – would be shot in color.
In “P.S.A.,” the audience meets a 1950s nuclear couple that is seemingly happy with their sex life. But, as we get to know them, it turns out that they could use some help spicing things up in the bedroom. A few jokes and a bit of buggery later, we find them very much enjoying themselves. And, at the end of the film, both the couple and the audience have learned a lot.
Remy said he modeled the sense of sexuality the film would depict after his chemistry with Rogue. “We’re goofy in the bedroom,” he said. “We laugh, we fall over, we make mistakes, you know, and it’s just fun when we’re together.”
However, this also made the two of them the ideal people to play the couple. It wasn’t a role Remy had ever really prepared himself for.
“If there’s a group photo going on, I’m the guy that’s like, ‘Oh, here. Let me take the photo.’ ... I’m camera shy even with my clothes on.”
But Remy had another reason to go through with the shoot.
As Rogue and Remy finished up the first day of shooting “P.S.A.”, which consisted of the clothed, black-and-white part of the film, the director, Urvashi, asked the performers to pose for some still photos.
“When (Remy) first told me he loved me, he learned how to do it in Lithuanian,” Rogue said. “And while we were posing that day, he said, ‘Oh, did I tell you that other phrase I learned in Lithuanian? We were kind of bickering the day before – I taught him how to say ‘fuck off.’ So I thought that’s what he was going to say to me.”
Instead, Remy got down on both knees and asked her, in Lithuanian, to marry him.
“I had the idea of, ‘Okay, well, if I do this film, wouldn’t it be cool if at the end of all the dialogue sequence, if ... since we’re going to have the cameras, we’re going to be in makeup, we’re going to be a nice clothes? What if that’s the day that I proposed to her?’” Remy said.
Knowing that “P.S.A.” would be the platform for his proposal motivated him, he said. He told himself, “I’m going to follow through with this thing because I can’t think of a better way and a more unique way to propose to this woman I love than to do something like this.”
As a bit of behind the scenes trivia, attentive viewers might notice that between the black and white portion of the film and the sex scene, the ring on Rogue’s finger changes from the director’s wedding ring to Rogue’s engagement ring.
In front of the cameraRemy said there were two things that surprised him about performing in his first sex scene. The first was biological.
“As a guy, you would think that the biggest problem that you’re going to have when you’re having sex with someone in front of people ... there’s a sound guy there and there’s a makeup person, there’s the director, there’s the two cameramen, and there’s all these people ... you would think that the biggest problem would be keeping it up and making sure that you’re performing,” he said.
“For me, I actually got so into it that I came early. ... And so I was like, ‘Uh oh, guys. I’m going to need like a sandwich and about 20 minutes, and then we’ll be able to keep going here. Sorry, everybody, let’s break for lunch real quick. And it’s such a close knit family of people that everybody just kind of laughed and was like, ‘Oh, man, good for you. That’s great.’”
The other surprise for Remy was how he felt after the shoot.
“The way it was received, the way that people have told me that they enjoy it, the way that I get to look at myself literally from a different angle than I’ve ever seen myself before – I kind of took a step back and I was like, ‘I’m a good looking guy. This is sexy, this is hot what we did,” he said. “It’s been something that has boosted my confidence ... it’s something that I’m really proud of, and I’m not embarrassed or sheepish about.”
People seem to agree with Remy’s assessment. At its screening at the 2019 Cinekink awards in April in New York City, “P.S.A.” tied with another film to win the “Bring It!” Adult Industry Showcase award. The award is selected by audience ballot during a presentation of short works and excerpts showcasing adult cinema. It was the third consecutive year that Spark Erotic took home the award.
“It was such an amazing feeling to have this recognition,” he said. “I may have been having a couple of cocktails that night, and as soon as they announced it, I may have shouted over the crowd, ‘I have an award-winning penis!’ Which I have been reminded of now pretty much every day, multiple times a day ever since.”
Life in and outside of adult filmSince the filming of “P.S.A.,” Remy and Rogue have worked together in two more films. Their second, “Tiger,” is a simple film in which a man’s morning routine is orally interrupted. Remy said that while Spark strives to create feminist, female-driven erotica, the team also wanted to do one that focused on the guy in the scene.
Their third, “Breathless,” is set to release this month. In it, Rogue and Remy are joined by three other men. It’s the first film Rogue has made with other male actors. (Her second film, “Heaven,” centered on a five-way scene featuring exclusively women.) This doesn’t make either of them uncomfortable, though. While one of the other actors was single at the time of filming, the other two are married to women who are also part of the Spark team.
“It was a matter of first asking the guys if they were interested, and then going to the wives and being like, ‘Hey, would this be okay with you?’ Because, above all, we want to condone consent in everything that we do,” Remy said.
Their level of comfort performing with others may be an outgrowth of their personal lives. Outside of their on screen roles, Remy and Rogue have dipped their toes into the swinging lifestyle for about a year and a half. As with erotica, it wasn’t something that Remy thought he would ever get involved in.
“To be quite honest, I’ve been a jealous bitch my whole life when it comes to relationships – that whole confidence thing and not being sure of myself,” he said. “But then something happened when I started dating Rogue and when we met the Spark team.
“It’s something that in a weird way has brought us closer together. And then it makes things, you know, more intimate for us. ... Somehow, even though I’m sharing her and she’s sharing me with other people, it makes me feel more special to her. ... It’s all about open communication and trusting and loving people.”
Ultimately, Remy has found life in the adult film industry to be fulfilling.
“I’ve created friendships because of Spark that are deeper and more meaningful in ways than I ever have before in my life,” he said. “The entire experience has been such a wild ride, and it’s worth every single hour that I spend and every time that something’s not working right and I’m pulling my hair out. ... I really do love the people that I work for.”