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From Hungary: Tits, bums and money shots; Kati Kiraly Interviewed

Hungary [hvg.hu]- Tits, bums, dicks, actors panting and ready – oh, and a fresh, two-week-old AIDS test certificate in a non-existent pocket – and the filming starts. We asked the porn actress Kati Kiraly and the best-known Hungarian porn director, Kovi, about the secrets of their profession. Secrets from behind and in front of the camera.

“I made my first porn film in 1991. There were loads of difficulties at first. I didn’t know where I was going, because I’d never moved in cinematic circles. Until then, I’d been a photojournalist. I had no professional experience, and nor did I have a close-knit team. Back then, there wasn’t a single Hungarian company on the market making professional, high quality films with an expert staff and good equipment,” says Istvan Kovacs – or Kovi, as everybody knows him.

The porn director set up his own company at the beginning of the 1990s, which only makes Hungarian films with local actors. Shortly after the first casting, things almost went tits-up: Kovi finally reached the top of the waiting list for a knee operation just as filming was about to start. But, thanks to a professional team and a helping hand from a friend, the filming took place. The Hungarian porn industry was about to take off.

One clear sign that porn consumption habits have changed dramatically is that it is no longer necessary to “lasso” actors, because they are happy to lend their names and faces to a production. In the early 1990s, things were very different. Actors tried to remain anonymous. That worked while films made at home were only seen abroad. But as soon as they started being seen at home as well, and as films started being distributed on the internet, anonymity came to an end.

“There’s space for all kinds of films on the market. I’ve made lesbian films, and I’ve done gay porn. I’ve no problem with that,” says Kovi, emphasising that he refrains from making overly extreme films. “My films are special, because not only do I lend my name and face to them, but the actors can bump into their audience on the street at any time,” explains Kovi. He soon realised that making his own films would not bring in enough money, so he decided to buy the Hungarian rights to films made in this country.

The director’s greatest challenge so far was filming the Porn Wars trilogy. He himself admits that it cost him many sleepless nights. “A week before filming, for example, in November 2005, the heating broke down in the studio. The temperature was below zero, it was snowing. And every night I had a few new ideas about how to film it, and I forgot my ideas the next morning,” says Kovi, who has to deal not just with the difficulties that arise during filming, but also with the actors’ own problems – whether the men will be able to sustain an erection, and whether the girls are attractive enough.

He is less selective about the men. They don’t get too old for the profession after seven or eight years, although there are plenty of pitfalls. It is not rare for somebody to give up the ghost during filming. At such times, you just have to wait until the man gets back into “working order,” or find somebody else to take his place – in which case everything filmed up until then has to be thrown away. For women, the main problem is when they “don’t feel the camera,” behaving like a lump of wood. It is risky to accept an agent’s recommendation without doing a casting session first. What’s more, he says, “this is a genre where forcing yourself doesn’t work. If you can’t persuade the viewer that what he is seeing is real. You then have to ask what is motivating the director?”

He continues: “It’s a nice feeling if I get up from the editing desk feeling I’ve got the most out of the recorded material and that people will recognise my style once the film is ready. When I lent my name and face to productions, my aim was to bring an end to the prejudices that surround this profession.” This approach worked. Porn stars appeared who were prepared to say how they earned their money in public, and even the public accepts this now.

“I’ve only had positive responses, from friends and strangers. I’ve never been attacked, nobody called me a whore – maybe because I’m selective about what I do,” says Kati Kiraly, one of the best-known Hungarian porn stars, who has been working in the field for eight years.

“My parents are proud of my success, and I’ve never had trouble finding boyfriends as a result of my work. Though it’s true that after a while, the long absences and the irregular hours can lead to tensions. At first, men love being with a pretty girl who turns their friends on. The problems begin when you’re away a lot. Then they start asking why I keep doing it, why I can’t give it up. I’ve always taken care of myself, and that’s not going to change,” says Kati. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

How do you get a role in a porn film? Legends about girls orally stimulating their future colleagues turn out to be baseless. The truth is that the girls turn up with their portfolios, showing off their earlier work. They enter the casting session, undress in front of the camera, and then the director decides if they are suitable for the role.

Beginners go from casting to casting, while known stars can choose between offers. Young, inexperienced girls cannot afford to turn down any offers, while stars are almost expected not to star in too many productions, because audiences will tire of them.

The porn industry overproduces. There are plenty of new faces, and the number of girls expressing interest rises from year to year, even if relatively few will reach the top, holding on to their position for many years.

“I should think about three or four of the girls I began my career with are still working,” says Kati. Most tire quickly: if they don’t lose their allure, then emotional problems tend to put an end to their career. People who are prepared to do anything on camera, from group sex to anal sex, find it much harder to deal with the traumas that arise from their work. Many of them feel that even a shower at the end of the day is insufficient to wash off the stains of the day’s filming – and the marks of as many as four or five men.

“From the beginning, I only accepted solo, vibrator-focused and lesbian scenes. I never accepted work involving a man – that was for me and my boyfriend,” says Kati. “Over the years, this has changed to the extent that I accept scenes involving boys, but they can’t touch me.” A porn actress’s popularity is not primarily influenced by how many men she appears with and what positions she adopts. Kovi kept asking Kati to appear in a film, knowing full well that she wouldn’t work with men. Kati eventually came, acted and inspired – to the extent that the entire scene was rewritten so that she could star without participating physically.

You have to be committed to do it. The money doesn’t necessarily compensate for the emotional and even physical injuries that can result. It is a requirement to have had an AIDS test within the past 14 days, but that does not guarantee the actor won’t catch something else from his or her partner, says Kati. “All of us have had some kind of infection. Most of these are bacterial or fungal, sometimes chlamydia. Now there are products, like disinfectant cloths or spermicidal sponges, that should provide some kind of protection against STDs.”

Many believe the porn industry is one endless orgy, where boys spend all day having sex with beautiful women who enjoy the attention. But a closer look shows that the scenes as originally filmed are far less exciting. A lot of work goes into the editing, and the actors themselves work very hard to achieve the final effect.

How do the men keep themselves ‘battle-ready’? During breaks, apart from thinking of exciting things like attractive legs, they put their hands to good use – and their partners occasionally step in to help.

Another myth: when sex toys appear to pass from one girl to another, they are in fact carefully cleaned beforehand.

The sex scenes (or action scenes, as they’re known in the trade) aren’t the hardest part of a filming session. Waiting is the most tedious. An hour for the make-up, then comes the hairdresser, before you head to the stylist. “Even if I’m only in a later scene, I have to be ready all day – sometimes I’m there from the morning of one day to dawn the next,” Kati says. While an actor is in front of the camera, the director tells him or her what to do and in what pose.

During filming, attention has to be paid to make-up, to the camera and to the sexual position. It’s not relaxing. Sometimes, the sex toys used are painful – but you have to carry on. “I like working with girls who really do like girls, because it’s easier to get on the same wavelength. It’s best if we’re on track from the very beginning,” laughs Kati.

And what of inhibitions? “If your first experiences are good – and they were for me – then your inhibitions disappear, and you don’t get embarrassed even if you have to perform in the most extreme circumstances.”

Like the time in Mexico when Kati was posing for erotic photographs in a protected zone of natural beauty. They were posing at the top of a pyramid when the police showed up. “They took the film from the cameras, but we managed to hide a few reels in our underwear. It ended up in the newspaper,” she says.

“I don’t think I’ll be doing this in a few years’ time,” says the 28-year-old. “Last year, I got a degree in HR management from a college. I’m going to keep on studying, and I want a child in a few years as well. How did my work affect my sex life? I got to know my body better, I learned a few good techniques, and I tried all kinds of positions. I just became more open, sexually speaking.”

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