An Interview with Tony Rios, CEO of AVN
Indie filmmakers, performers, and producers who work outside the mainstream adult industry circuit are welcome – now more than ever – to participate in the pre-nomination process for the AVN Awards, held virtually in January, 2021.
Over email, Tony Rios, CEO of AVN, talked to me about the changes to porn trends after COVID-19 hit, and how the awards show has adapted in response. In his eyes, “The show must go on.”
“We are in the middle of a pandemic. We have all been stuck in our homes for many months now with really no clear end in sight yet,” he says. “Now more than ever we need to find creative ways to bring people together and put a smile on people’s faces. Nothing beats the experience of an in-person event but virtual events is where we all are right now, globally. It’s the safest choice we have.”
There are new categories this year, including “Best Quarentine Sex Scene,” and the Grand Reel, modeled after the Palme d’Or bestowed each year at the Cannes Film Festival. A full list of category descriptions can be found on AVN. Any type of “red carpet” or related press events, performances, and the much-awaited host announcements, “will be made in the coming months,” Rios says.
In order to qualify for a nomination, your scene, film, website, or product needs to be on 2 distribution sources that fit AVN’s updated rules. VOD sites like HotMovies, PopSugar and PinkLabel, as well as membership sites, meet those requirements. Clip stores like ManyVids, OnlyFans, or AVN Stars are not eligible.
In order for your submission to be eligible it needs to have been made commercial between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. You will need to be able to prove record keeping for any nominated works, so make sure your submissions have clearly marked release and shoot dates.
“There is more digital-only content being created than ever and so we’ll be taking a very close look at these productions that aren’t necessarily available on DVD,” says Rios. Further, in response to the changing porn trends, he remarks, “We will have a handful of new award categories.”
Two new categories have been announced: Best Cultural Appeal Production and Best Cultural Appeal Series or Channel. “We’re excited to have a category to celebrate the many different cultural groups that drive some of the most popular content the adult industry produces,” said Rios. When asked what the difference was between a cultural group and a niche, he explained that AVN niche categories are, “meant to highlight specialized areas of adult entertainment with a more narrowly targeted audience,“ while work made around/by a “cultural group” would be considered “content highlighting various cultural groups.” AVN defines Best Cultural Apeal Productions as, “Full-length work with a primary theme of and multiple sex scenes all featuring people of one or more specified cultural group(s).”
Adapting to a virtual format can’t be easy when you’re used to throwing a 5-day convention and awards show in a packed and popular casino in Las Vegas, but Rios, representing his team, remains optimistic about how technology will push them forward. “We’re always excited to reward outstanding achievements in our community and this year is no different with it being virtual,” Rios says. “This show is still about recognizing the best of the best across every sector of adult entertainment in the past year. We already like what we’re seeing with the possibilities for an all-digital event.”
If you want to nominate something you’ve made this year to the 2021 AVN Awards, you can do so at submissions.awards.avn.com. Let us know if you get nominated!
Further questions can be directed to AVN Senior Editor Peter Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org
This informational piece is not an official endorsement of the AVN Awards or Adult Video News. Many performers are still on the fence about a boycott. I will be following this story as it unfolds and will make sure to keep you up to date.
courtney writes about what’s happening in the queer worlds of sex and art and has been performing in porn since 2001. they have an MFA in studio arts and visual critical studies and focus on the crossroads of resistance and making things. they joined Peepshow Media in 2020.