The Stamford Times Profiles Assence Films’ Mike Kulich

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WESTPORT — from www.thestamfordtimes.com – At the ripe old age of 25, Westport native Mike Kulich has built an adult entertainment empire in California that would make any young man blush.

With Assence Films, OGEE Studios and Monarchy Distribution under his belt, Kulich is sitting high atop the socially taboo industry, with a third studio in the works and nods for film awards.

“We put a lot of work and a lot of love into our movies,” Kulich said.

“From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to produce great stuff and I’ve been very fortunate. There is a lot of opportunity and a lot of money to be made in this business.”

An entrepreneurial spirit, Kulich’s entry into the industry was forged at a young age when he found himself in hot water selling his father’s Playboy magazines out of the trunk of his car at Staples High School.

“My dad had a huge collection, so I kept a nice array of magazines and sold them for $25 each to students,” Kulich said. “I’ve always been a salesperson.”

After a faculty member joked that he should be in the industry, the wheels in Kulich’s mind started turning. Although tempting, Kulich strayed from his passion and briefly attended John Jay College in New York with the goal of becoming a police officer. He soon realized it was not the path he was intended to take.

Packing up his bags, Kulich moved out to Los Angeles with his sights originally set on a long-distance relationship, but instead, ended up with a change in careers.

“I lived in the valley and got surrounded by people in the (adult) industry,” Kulich said. “I researched it and met up with Howard Levine at Vivid Entertainment, who was hiring a sales assistant. I was all cocky, probably 19-years-old and asked him to teach me everything about the business….he told me to get out.”

The rejection only made Kulich work harder. He landed his first job with International Video Distributors (IVD) making cold calls and generating sales, went on to work for a male enhancement company, which he despised, and ended up returning to the video world.

“I started a company called DVD Makers, contacted all of the studios and got them to replicate their videos with us,” Kulich said. “Eventually, the company was bought out and became DVD Factory.”

Money garnered from the sale prompted Kulich to start his own studio, which in turn led to Levine, the king pin who once gave Kulich the cold shoulder, to now work for the young impresario.

“Monarchy Distribution is the main company with 150 studios contracted through me,” Kulich said. “Assence has more of the name brand girls and regular, good ol’fashioned porn, with OGEE having more of a niche market. I generally write the scripts and do the casting, have some people do editing and artists do the box covers, but we really don’t outsource anything.”

Through his marked success, Kulich decided to give back to the community and in the process, reached out to the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” program with 10 percent of all proceeds from a title with actress Sasha Grey. The donation was rejected and eventually snatched up by the University of California Davis.

“I was trying to come out of the gate with some good PR, but it blew up into this huge media storm,” Kulich said. “I was a little taken back by it. My money is as green as anyone else’s.”
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