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mindgeekfrom – “Montreal is the third largest porn-producing city in the world after Los Angeles and Amsterdam.”

This stat surfaces on a semi-regular basis, and no one ever challenges it; maybe because third worldwide seems so plausible.After all, historically, Montreal has that whole Sin City thing locked down – so it can’t be wrong. Right?


“Yes, Montreal is prolific… [but] that’s just superficial journalism,” says Concordia professor Thomas Waugh, who teaches film studies courses and has published widely on sexual representation in film and video. “What does it matter to establish a size or pecking order among the cities, all of which are certainly different in their activities, when we probably don’t have a shared definition of what porn and the porn industry is?”

For our purposes, let’s restrict porn to the production and dissemination of images of people having consensual sex, and the various sectors that support this, such as website hosting.

So what exactly is going on in Montreal that makes everyone so certain we’re on par with L.A. (porn capital of the known universe) and Amsterdam (no explanation required)?

All roads lead to MindGeek

Formerly known as Manwin, MindGeek is the apex of our local porn pyramid. On paper they’re an IT company that provides content delivery, streaming media and online advertising. In reality MindGeek is a porn empire. It’s a hosting platform and production line for sites owned by a private group of investors, headquartered in Luxembourg with offices in Montreal, Cyprus, Dublin, Miami and L.A. According to a 2011 Toronto Star article, the Montreal office employs over 325 people.

MindGeek owns Brazzers, a porn production company founded in 2005 by two Concordia students. Brazzers was part of a holding group called Mansef, which was acquired in 2010 and re-branded as Manwin, then again in 2013 as MindGeek. The Brazzers Network comprises over 30 websites that cater to every niche and taste, from Real Wife Stories to Big Tits in Uniform. And while their sites are managed from Montreal, most of the scenes are shot in Las Vegas, L.A. and Miami.

MindGeek also owns Digital Playground, Reality Kings and Twistys, three of the most popular adult film studios in the world. MindGeek also owns a variety of porn aggregator tube sites (free porn videos funded by ads), including Pornhub and the Pornhub Network (Redtube, YouPorn, Xtube etc). Combined, Mindgeek controls about 30 per cent of tube traffic worldwide (approximately 65 million unique visitors per day, give or take). Across the board, MindGeek sees around 110 million daily visitors. Pornhub leads the charge with approximately 50 million daily.

Lower down the food chain — but no less significant — are companies like Braincash (,,, who sponsor adult websites and pay webmasters that drive traffic to them. Gamma Entertainment (,, does the same, specializing in IT for the adult entertainment industry.

The webcam revolution

Montreal is a harsh mistress. Opportunities don’t fall in your lap here – you create them. Webcam models like Melody Kush — who perform via live webcam for money — are the Martha Stewarts of DIY adult entertainment. “Porn” feels a bit too black-and-white to describe what she does, which is more along the lines of “erotic modelling.” Melody runs with the Rebels, a small but very successful erotic entertainment crew managed by Ariel Rebel, who discovered Melody way back when she worked at a skate shop. Their niche is primarily tease:  solo stuff, girl-on-girl, no hardcore sex with men.

And like any savvy entrepreneur, she works her ass off to be successful. In a recent interview with Vice, Kush revealed that she generally makes at least $200 in the few hours of each day she cams, roughly four days per week. She has over 100,000 followers on Chaturbate, a U.S.-based webcam platform, and over 1,000 people are watching at any given time.

When she’s not live, Kush’s waking hours are dedicated to getting her own domain up and running. Her soon-to-be-launched site is like Suicide Girls, she says, but with more smut — think of Kush as a Hustler model in a Playboy pin-up world. Her photo sets and cam shows are fun and creative (you’ll never look at a glow stick the same way again), and she clearly loves what she does. It’s ambitious, independent and it pays the rent. The future of porn is here now, and it’s women like Kush who are calling the shots.

Production-wise, Montreal — or Canada, for that matter — isn’t even in the same galaxy as a city like L.A.. It’s like comparing Michael Jordan to a quadriplegic baby. But hey, shake what ya momma gave ya, right?

Pegas Productions In a nutshell, these guys make hardcore Quebec porn – if you’re into storylines about Saint Jean Baptiste Day orgies and sex-starved CEGEP students, look no further. Last August they launched a one-day training course aimed at prospective male porn actors for the bargain rate of $149. Students get to try multiple sexual positions, but only simulated and clothed. Their official motto: “le meilleur du cul Québécois.”

AD4X Distribution Whether you love porn or loathe it, no one can deny that these guys are marketing ninjas. Remember Heidi Van Horny, who wanted to have sex with 23 guys for her 23rd birthday? That was AD4X. Or how about Zoé Zebra, whose breast implant fundraiser / 25-man sex marathon was moved to an RV behind a Gatineau bar due to zoning laws? AD4X again. In 2013 embattled SPVM officer and student protest sweetheart Stéfanie Trudel (Agent 728 if you’re nasty) failed to block the release of 728 Agente XXX, a porn parody. AD4X for the win!

Bruno B It’s your typical rags-to-riches story – Quebec porn version: guy works as driver for porn studio… male performer can’t get it up, so our hero offers to step in… and a star is born. The director-performer is known for his ubiquitous blue bedroom and DVDs distributed through Doghouse Digital, the “only adult video company specializing in shipping Montreal porn to the United States.” (AVN News). If you can only watch one, make sure it’s Swallow My Rod & Share the Wad.

Vid Vicious and Quebec productions je viens Broadcast veteran-turned-porn director Vid Vicious is more Quebec than poutine and Passe Partout combined. Want proof? Go into ANY sex shop, head to the DVD section, and look for the “Made in Quebec” releases — he is legend. Quebec productions je viens content is “100% Québécois,” a legit claim with titles like Auto-Stopeuses XXX and Recettes De Salope. Vid writes, books, shoots and edits everything on his own, and requires all performers to be tested (HIV) prior to every shoot. In an email, he coyly alluded to “lots of projects on the horizon for 2015.”

Homegrown porn stars (or vedettes triple-X)

Some thrive, not all survive.

Vandal Vyxen
Famous for… superhuman ejaculatory powers — she is the uncontested squirt queen of Quebec. See her in… 3 Dudes Get Their Asses Attacked and Quebec’s Kinky Lesbians.

The Lane Sisters, aka Shana and Roxy Lane
Famous for… being real sisters who perform together. They’ve also worked with French (as in France) director Marc Dorcel, which is a pretty big deal. See them in… Course de Pitounes and Camping X Treme.

Judy Star (1982–2010?)
Famous for… her mysterious death. Star, born in 1982, may or may not have committed suicide in 2010. A prolific performer, she’s featured in 130 scenes and worked for some of the biggest studios around: Hustler, Zero Tolerance, New Sensations, Evil Angel and 3rd Degree to name a few. In that time she was allegedly quarantined by an HIV scare that shook the industry (unverified).

Samantha Ardente
Famous for… getting fired from her job as a high school office assistant for moonlighting as a porn star. Her last Tweet is dated 2013, and in it she announces that a website is on the way, but the URL goes to a “coming soon” splash page. Filmography credits include GangBang de Samantha Ardente and Beach Party de Cul Québécois.

Lanny Barbi (inactive/retired) Famous for… appearing on the covers of Hustler and Penthouse, and being the first Vivid Girl from Montreal. She’s an AVN nominee (the Oscars of porn), and arguably the most successful Quebec-born performer to date. See her in… Where the Boys Aren’t 19.

Lara Roxx Known for… contracting HIV in 2004 while shooting a scene with Darren James. She is the titular star of the documentary Inside Lara Roxx by director Mia Donovan.

Patricia Petite (inactive/retired) Known for… her constantly changing hair colour and spotty English. Current information is scant, unlike her CV — Red Light District, 3rd Degree and Anabolic are just a few of the powerhouse studio she’s worked with.

Casual nudity? Drug-fuelled pool parties? Perish the thought. Turns out that working for one of the biggest porn companies in North America is not as crazy as one might imagine. In some ways, from the catered breakfast to state-of-the-art amenities, MindGeek sounds like a pretty great place to work. A former (anonymous) employee shares his (or her?) experience:

“I was working for MindGeek in its previous incarnation, Manwin. The office floor I was on had, I’d say, at least 100 people. My department had about 10 artists. The location I was in handled accounts, customer support, writing, design and administration, as far as I know. I never heard of any local production, which all seems to happen in the United States on the West Coast (though I know artists would drop by the office on occasion). That isn’t to say scenes weren’t filmed in Montreal – we just weren’t really privy to it.

“The work environment is very corporate, but I think looking at porn all day gave some people leeway to be a bit more vulgar than what you’d see in a regular office. There was about an 80 to 20 split of male-to-female employees in the department I was in.

“When I was there, there was a fully catered breakfast every morning: waffles, bacon, scrambled eggs in chafing dishes; free coffee, cappuccino and tea all day. They outfitted you with whatever you wanted, equipment-wise – nice headphones, drawing tablet, and serious computer setups with multiple monitors.

“My bosses were respectful and encouraging. They ran a pretty tight ship. There were a lot of advanced metrics in play for what counted as a “successful” banner ad, in terms of click-through. They also had serious full time security there (nicely dressed, lethal-looking guys with those in-ear walkie-talkies) posted at the front doors of the floor.”

Overheard at the porn factory

Adult entertainment brings together all sorts of colourful characters. This former porn industry employee had the forethought to write down some of the best gems to come out of his coworkers’ mouths:

“Listen, just put yourself inside the average couch-wanker.”

“We need to barter a deal, because we’re just not going to get the hardcore jerkers.”

“Sexual harassment? My pants are still on.”

“They’re called ‘airplane titties’ because if she runs fast enough with them flapping, she’ll fly.”

“Q: Can you have such a thing as mutual molestation? A: Dude, what’s with you asking me all these metaphysical questions?”

“No! Put ‘NUTS’ in capital letters.”

“Do you remember that one banner I did? The one with the girls coming out of the rusty barrel?”

“I stopped believing in god when I realized men have nipples for no reason.”

“You look at Russian porn stars and they’re pretty, but they look like they’re unhealthy and have no vitamins flowing through their brains.”

“Man, I wish I was alive when the Marquis De Sade was. Before the 24-hour news cycle and new media, you could do whatever you wanted behind closed doors.”

“I just wrote ‘nut sack’ into Google Video and got all sorts of strange results.”