DISTRIBPIX INC./VIDEO•X•PIX : 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most prolific and important producers and distributors of adult-oriented entertainment in the film industry’s history. What a strange and wonderful journey it’s been for Distribpix, a company with historical roots in all aspects of film and video production and distribution and continuing to bring its classic film library to new audiences in the digital age.
In 1965 young upstarts Arthur Morowitz and Howard Farber pooled their funds together and founded Distribpix Inc., a New York-based distribution company specializing in low-budget sexploitation films.
The company soon became known as a reliable go-to distributor for novice filmmakers looking to break into the business. Independent producers like Sam Lake and Leonard Kirtman began their long-term partnerships with the company, producing provocative sexploitation films directed by up-and-comers like Ron Sullivan (“Henri Pachard”) (Lust Weekend), Graham Place (The Procurer), Don Walters (Felicia), Tommy Goetz (A Bride for Brenda), William K. Hennigar (Thigh Spy), and Armand Weston (The Hot House), as well as popular erotic masters like Joseph Sarno (The Bed and How to Make It) and Michael Findlay (The Closer to the Bone the Sweeter the Meat).
As times changed and softcore cinema transitioned into harder territory, Distribpix took the plunge into the world of hard-X with early efforts from the Amero Brothers (Bacchanale), Armand Weston (Personals), and Michael and Roberta Findlay (Vice Versa). Robert Sumner and Sam Lake’s company Maturpix would soon be absorbed into the Distribpix library, including legendary films by Armand Weston (Take Off), Chuck Vincent (A Girl’s Best Friend), Gerard Damiano (People), Radley Metzger (Maraschino Cherry), Jonas Middleton (Through the Looking Glass), and even French masters like Max Pecas (Felicia) and Didier Philippe-Gerard (The Kinky Ladies of Bourbon Street).
Distribpix was one of the key companies involved with the Adult Film Association of America, a union formed by distributors and producers of adult entertainment, and soon the best of the east coast became business associates with west coast adult film royalty such as David F. Friedman and Harry Novak. These continuing professional relationships with fellow producers and distributors would be contributing factors to the success of companies like Troma and Something Weird Video, only two of many companies to benefit from working with Morowitz and Farber over the years. Distribpix also became one of the first producers to sign stars such as Jennifer Welles to exclusive contracts, at that point unheard-of in the business, resulting in memorable star vehicles from Evart Enterprises like Inside Seka, Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle, and All About Gloria Leonard. The company’s love for its stars continues to the present day, as when a special exhibit for Annie Sprinkle was created for Las Vegas’ Erotic Heritage Museum in 2010.
In addition to producing and distributing films, Distribpix also owned and operated the Sweetheart chain of movie theaters, including the World, the East World, the Harem, the Orleans, and the Circus, where many lavish red carpet film premieres of some of the biggest hits of the “porno chic” period took place. Some of these premieres would be announced through special invitations distributed to critics, distributors, and talent.
Continuing to advance with new developments in distribution, Distribpix embraced the new video format for both home entertainment distribution and new video production. With video came new alliances with theatrical distributors seeking home theater distribution, including Chuck Vincent’s Platinum Pictures, responsible for such classics as Roommates, Wanda Whips Wall Street, and In Love. Its first video arm, Quality-X, would soon change its name to the more familiar Video-X-Pix, and would also debut on video the cream of the crop in classic gay adult cinema from the Hand-in-Hand Films library.
The company soon became the gold standard of adult film classics on home video, and even established its own video store chain, Video Shack, with its vast flagship store located in the heart of Manhattan.
While Video-X-Pix has been at the forefront of the classic adult DVD market, it was with its introduction of the Platinum Elite Collection and line of special edition releases that the company shot to the head of the class.Restorations from the best available elements are paired with one-of-a-kind historical content and bonus material, including cast and crew commentaries and interviews, deleted scenes, and ephemera galleries covering all aspects of a film’s production and history.
Even smaller-scale releases, including two new double-feature brands, are treated with genuine care and affection.
The company’s partnership with the legendary Radley Metzger resulted in the critically-acclaimed and award-winning Henry Paris Collection. This collaboration included creating brand-new restorations from original vault elements, scanned in 2K, and resulting in the very first classic adult film release on the Blu-Ray format, The Opening of Misty Beethoven, a package that was selected as one of the best of the year by BFI’s Sight and Sound. Future partnerships with additional rights holders are in the works.
In recent years, Distribpix has also expanded into the world of repertory theatrical distribution, providing 35mm archival prints for screenings of some of its most popular titles, including Through the Looking Glass, High Rise, Wanda Whips Wall Street, Expose Me Lovely, S.O.S. Screw on the Screen, Roommates, MIsbehavin’, and Joy, as well as the films of Henry Paris. The overwhelming response from enthusiastic audiences promises more screening events in the future.
In addition to rescuing and restoring films of the adult variety, the vast Distribpix archive also holds surprising discoveries, such as a pristine print of Orson Welles’ Falstaff and the original negative of Jeff Lieberman’s cult horror classic Blue Sunshine. The hunt for more treasures continues.
Distribpix stands apart from other genre film distributors, proud of its vast and fascinating library of classic soft-X, hard-X, and general exploitation releases from some of the most talented directors and producers of the era. It is also the only archive of its kind that continues to be managed and run as part of a continuing family legacy by Arthur Morowitz’s son, Steven, who has developed the company into the unchallenged Criterion of the classic adult film market.
As the vaults continue to be explored for the best quality elements and valuable stories of a bygone era, Distribpix invites you to join us on an incredible continuing journey into a unique history of American cinema, unearthed, preserved, and restored for your pleasure.