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Originally from New York, Steve Orenstein established Wicked Pictures in Canoga Park, California on March 1st, 1993, after developing an interest in the creative aspects of film production while still a partner in his previous adult company, X-Citement Video.
With the creative design assistance from his good friends, Brad and Cynthia Willis, Orenstein formed his fledgling company with a firm commitment to producing quality adult productions created specifically to appeal to women and couples, a move that yield almost immediate dividends - during its first year, Wicked was honored with several industry awards, including Best Video Feature & Best Director for the inspired adult comedy, "Haunted Nights," which ironically starred future Wicked contract director, Jonathan Morgan. Shortly afterward, Orenstein signed the first of the company's legendary Wicked Girls, Chasey Lain.
Orenstein credits Brad and Cynthia Willis for originally bringing the company's next contract girl, Jenna Jameson, to his attention. After signing her in early 1995 and bringing in industry veteran Joy King to promote her, he watched as Jenna instantly heated up the screen and became the first star to win Best New Starlet, Best Actress, and Best Sex Scene in her first year out. The Wicked / Jenna partnership assured Jameson's status as the porn star of the decade, and in no small measure helped to put Wicked Pictures on the map.
Eager to bring a visionary filmmaker in-house, Orenstein next signed an exclusive contract with the actor / director Brad Armstrong, whose jeweler's eye for beautiful women, innovative approach to art direction, and penchant for shooting hot & creative sex scenes have resulted in some of the company's most acclaimed movies, including "Conquest", "Dream Quest", "Flashpoint", "Euphoria", "Falling From Grace", "The Collector", "Fluff & Fold", "Eternity", and "Manhunters".
In a bold move, Orenstein added another girl to his company's arsenal in 1997 with the signing of Serenity. Serenity went on to in back-to-back Best Actress awards from AVN, and gather numerous other mainstream credits, including an internation awareness campaign for the People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Subsequent signings by Orenstein would include Missy, a multiple AVN award winner, and her then-husband Mickey G., to exclusive contracts to both act in and direct movies (making Wicked the first adult video company ever to link a couple to such an agreement). The year also saw Orenstein adding talented performer-turned-director Jonanthan Morgan to the Wicked roster full-time, a move which brought Wicked some of the most acclaimed movies in the company's history, including "Double Feature", "M Caught In The Act", "Hercules", and "Space Nuts".
The end of the decade saw the maverick company's talent roster expanding with the flurry of signings, including Stephanie Swift, Devinn Lane, Temptress, Alexa, and Czech star Meridian. With the DVD edition of "Flashpoint", Wicked turned the world of Adult DVD upside down by breaking new ground in special features and overall quality, prompting Adult DVD Empire to assert that "Wicked will single-handedly take x-rated DVD to the next level". And with the successful launch of their completely re-designed flagship website, www.wickedpictures.com, the company managed to establish an acclaimed interactive site while also hosting websites for some of the Wicked Girls.
As Orenstein moved the company into the new century, he continued to expand its brand presence in the market in new and innovative ways, teaming up with award winning industry veteran Susan Colvin's California Exotic Novelties to produce Wicked Toys, a series of high-end erotic products designed with personal input from Wicked's contract stars
Orenstein also focused on expanding the company's talent roster. The next performer he signed, multi-award winning fan favorite Sydnee Steele, would go on to star in several of the company's finest projects, including "Euphoria", "Turning Point", and "Falling From Grace".
In Spring 2002, Orenstein signed industry legend Julia Ann, who would immediately strike gold with the Jonathan Morgan classic "Hercules". By the fall of 2002, the Wicked family expanded further with the addition of Stormy Daniels, a beautiful and busty 23 year old blonde from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, whose popularity reached mammoth proportions with the release of Morgan's epic "Space Nuts", an AVN Best Sex Comedy winner that would also help her win AVN's coveted Best New Starlet Award.
2003's XRCO Awards saw Wicked not only winning DVD of the Year for "Euphoria", but announcing a triple threat of new signings as well: gorgeous industry veteran Jessica Drake, exotic newcomer Kaylani Lei, and multi-award winning director Michael Raven, who would go on to direct Wicked's most acclaimed movie of 2004, the stylish Julia Ann film noir fantasy "Beautiful".
The acclaim continued to mount throughout the year, with Wicked Pictures earning a massive 71 AVN nominations in November, over half of which went Brad Armstrong's stunning trilogy of Editor's Choices: "Fluff & Fold", "The Collector", and "Eye of the Beholder". Both "Fluff & Fold" and "The Collector" emerged victorious on January 8th, 2005, winning a total of sex AVN Awards, including a Best Actress trophy for Jessica Drake's graceful lead performances in "Fluff & Fold".
In the decision indicative of his commitment to innovative filmmaking, Orenstein welcomed celebrated director David Stanley to the Wicked fold in early Spring 2005. Prior to winning AVN's Best Director (Video) award earlier that year, the Minneapolis native had already established himself as a pivotal member of the adult film scene, making a name for himself as a talented visual artist who'd turned his love for the independent film scene of the 90s into a successful career as an adult filmmaker. Stanley's unique vision can be seen in such celebrated releases as "Harlequin", "Creme Brulee", "1000 words", and "Just Like That".
In April 2005, Orenstein signed the very beautiful and in-demand newcomer Keri Sable to an exclusive contract. Keri heated up Wicked productions with her sexual energy and preference for anal scenes in titles like "Sold", "Dark Sins" and "But I'm With The Band". In September 2005, Orenstein expanded the Wicked family once again, signing two industry new-comers to the Wicked arsenal, beautiful Kirsten Price and exotic beauty Carmen Hart. Kirsten was no stranger to Wicked productions, having appeared in "Between The Sheets" and Michael Raven's sci-fi epic "The Visitors", while Carmen made her lead acting debut as a Wicked contract star in David Stanley's "Rendezvous". November saw Wicked Pictures garnering an impressive 62 AVN Award nominations, including noms in the Best Film, Best Actress, and Best Director categories for "Eternity", as well as Best Sex Comedy, Best DVD, and Best Supporting Actress categories for the Jonathan Morgan erotic horror spoof "The Camp Cuddly Pines Tool Massacre".
January 2006 proved to be a pivotal month for Wicked, as Orenstein signed multi-award winning actor Randy Spears to a contract to act and direct for the company. Spears was certainly no new arrival to Wicked Productions, having appeared in over a dozen films for the company prior to signing, and winning awards along the way, including AVN's Best Actor award for his leading role in Brad Armstrong's "Eternity".
The January 2006 AVN awards saw Wicked Pictures coming out on top, with "The Camp Cuddly Pines Power Tool Massacre" taking home several awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Sex Comedy, Best Supporting Actress - Stormy Daniels, and Best DVD Menus. Additionally, the Brad Armstrong feature "Caliente" took home the award for Best Ethnic Themed Release-Latin.
In February, Orenstein made another bold move, signing adult industry veteran and AVN nominated videographer / director Francois Clousot, the "eye" for such award-winning productions as "The Camp Cuddly Pines Power Tool Massacre", "Space Nuts", and "Fluff & Fold", to an exclusive contract to both direct and shoot for the company. Clousot's first effort under his contract as a director was the well-received Jessica Drake vehicle "Tiffany's".
The balance of 2006 would see Wicked diversifying like never before, teaming up with Playgirl to distribute a line of couples-orientated erotica, and partnering with mainstream entertainment agencies to further brand both the Wicked Girls and the company's image in the Hollywood press.
Similarly, Wicked Pictures' cutting-edge interactive division further expanded the company's presence in cyberspace by launching gorgeous, content-heavy websites for several of the company's releases throughout the year. These fascinating, image-laden sites included promotional portals for "Curse Eternal", "The Visitors", and "Manhunters".
All the creative, technical, and promotional activity of 2006 didn't go unnoticed by the critical establishment, as Wicked Pictures received 102 nominations in total from AVN at the year's end, with over 50 nominations going to three spectacular releases directed by Brad Armstrong - "Manhunters", "Curse Eternal", and "FUCK".
As announced by AVN, Armstrong's explosive shot-on-film bounty hunter adventure "Manhunters" led the way as the most nominated industry release of the year. In addition to Best Film, the movie's many other nominations included Best Director - Film, Best Cinematography (Francois Clousot), Best Screenplay - Film (Brad Armstrong), Best Actress - Film (Jessica Drake), Best Actor - Film (Randy Spears), Best Supporting Actress - Film (Carmen Hart, Kirsten Price, and Exotica all received individual nominations), and Best Supporting Actor - Film (Chris Cannon).
Also shot on film, Armstrong's elegant erotic vignette release "FUCK" impressed the critics as well, receiving a dozen important nominations, including Best Film and Best Cinematography.
Turning to the video categories, Armstrong's "Curse Eternal" scored such significant nominations as Best Director, Best Screenplay - Video (Brad Armstrong), Best Video Feature, Best High-Definition Production, Best Actress - Video (Jessica Drake), Best Supporting Actress - Video (Kaylani Lei), and Best Supporting Actor - Video (Randy Spears). Interestingly, as a performer, Armstrong also received a Best Actor - Video nomination for his fine work in front of the camera in Michael Raven's "Women On Top". Raven's Summer 2006 alien abduction blockbuster "The Visitors" received 13 nominations in total, including Best Director, Best Videography (Francois Clousot), Best Editing (Michael Raven), Best Screenplay - Video (Michael Raven), Best Video Feature, Best Actress - Video (Kimberly Kane), and Best Supporting Actress - Video (Keri Sable).
Thanks to their exceptionally strong 2006 showing, both in Wicked's product and in the popular media, the enduring strength of the Wicked Girl brand was recognized in the newly minted Contract Star of the Year category, with nominations going to both Stormy Daniels and Jessica Drake, while Kirsten Price received recogniation in both the Best Actress - Video (for David Stanley's "Just Like That") and Best New Starlett categories. "Just Like That" also earned filmmaker Stanley nominations for Best Director and Best Sex Comedy.
Always at the forefront of innovation, Wicked Pictures closed 2006 by becoming the first adult studio in history to release an adult film in the HD DVD format. The HD DVD release of the "The Camp Cuddly Pines Power Tool Massacre" became a major mainstream news event, receiving coverage by such media giants as Variety and Fox News.
The 24th Annual AVN Awards were held on January 13th, 2007, and over 7,000 members of the mainstream and adult communities watched as Jessica Drake deftly hosted what's now been confirmed as the largest AVN Awards Show event of all time. For Jessica though, the night would take on even greater resonance, as one of the evening's first presentations saw her receiving Best Actress - Film for her bravura performance in "Manhunters".
The pace continued to pick up throughout the evening, and by the end of the night, Wicked had received 15 major trophies, with "Manhunters" and "FUCK" accounting for 12 of the wins.
"Manhunters" led the way as the evening's winner for Best Film. In addition to Jessica's Best Actress - Film win, the movie's other major awards included Best Director - Film, Best Screenplay - Film (Brad Armstrong), Best Actor - Film (Randy Spears), Best Supporting Actress - Film (Kirsten Price), and Best Anal Sex Scene - Film (Jada Fire, Sandra Romain, Brain Surewood).
Armstrong's "FUCK" impressed the critics as well, receiving five major awards, including Best Cinematography (Francois Clousot), Best Art Direction - Film (Rod Hopkins), Best All-Girl Sex Scene - Film (Jessica Drake, Felecia, Clara G), Best Group Sex Scene - Film (Carmen Hart, Katsumi, Kirsten Price, Mia Smiles, Chris Cannon, Tommy Gunn, Randy Spears).
The enduring strength of the Wicked Girl brand was recognized in the newly minted Contract Star of the Year category, with the maiden award going to Stormy Daniels in recognition of all the mainstream attention she had achieved over the last 12 months.
Turning to the video categories, Michael Raven's "The Visitors" received awards for both Best DVD Extras and Best DVD Menus, further validation of the excellent work being done by Wicked's award-winning DVD division.
The company continues to extend its corporate brand in 2007, exploring ancillary methods of content delivery like MySpace and the world of Pay-Per-View television while releasing high-profile features on DVD like Michael Raven's paranormal thriller "Supernatural". And it continues to be an HD DVD innovator, with the HD DVD edition of "Curse Eternal" being the first adult title in history to be released in a superior 1080p transfer.
In the mainstream, Wicked is establishing brand awareness like never before, advertising at such high profile events as the McDonald's Air and Sea Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Having swept the 2007 AVN Awards for excellence in the many areas of performance, eroticism, craftmanship, and design, Wicked Pictures continues to break new ground while producing quality adult entertainment, strengthening its appeal with women and couples, and enjoying ongoing success.