Chuck Holmes (1945-2000) founded Falcon Studios because he was tired of the cheap, sleazy porn which was being offered to audiences during the early 1970s. Holmes wanted to pleasure himself to films which offered decent production values and attractive models who looked like they were enjoying themselves. He founded Falcon so that he could watch the kind of films that he wanted to see.
Apparently many people agreed with Holmes. Soon after its founding in 1971, Falcon was THE gay porn studio. No other company could match its financial success.
In the recently produced documentary "Seed Money" filmmaker Mike Stabile traces the history of Falcon. Stabile recounts the company's swift rise, and how the AIDS crisis of the 1980s nearly destroyed it. Stabile also recalls Holmes' lifelong struggle to gain the respect of a hypocritical community who was willing to jack off to his films even as they disassociated themselves from him.
In "Seed Money" Stabile points to an early political campaign by out lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin). Baldwin received a sizable donation from Holmes--the money was returned. Baldwin was afraid that being associated with a pornographer would harm her career. A few years later San Francisco's LGBT Community Center was named after Holmes, who had donated huge amounts of money so that the building could be completed. Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco's LGBT newspaper, received numerous angry letters from community members who were "disgusted" that their hallowed Center could be named after a man like Holmes.
Incidents like these weighed heavily on Holmes and caused him much anguish. Numerous friends, colleagues, and Falcon models, speaking on camera for Stabile's film, recall that Holmes was quite sincere about wanting to make his community a better place. They also recalled a man who cared deeply about producing films with higher production values featuring attractive models who took care of their bodies. To that end Holmes could, on occasion, be a bit of a tyrant. When a film was in production he took on a "my way or the highway" attitude.
Holmes must have known what he was doing, as many of his titles brought in huge amounts of money. Stabile doesn't reveal the dollar amount made by any Falcon film, but its made clear that Holmes became a wealthy man via Falcon.
Stabile further points out that Falcon films were lovely to look at. The models were well groomed and the settings were impressive--a Beverly Hills mansion, a lush tropical beach--as many of Holmes' associates rightly point out, Falcon films were the best the industry had seen up to that point.
What's most impressive about "Seed Money" is how much information Stabile was able to include in the film's scant running time. Holmes was 55 years old when he died of AIDS in 2000. During his half-century sojourn he changed the face of an industry and touched countless lives. Stabile tells that story in a mere 71 minutes. Viewers may walk away from the film feeling as though they've met Holmes personally. Perhaps they'll also feel that Holmes was indeed worthy of the respect he never got during his lifetime.
"Seed Money" is now available on Amazon.