Queen
of the Deuce

From pre-WWII Greece to her meteoric rise through the Times Square porn circuit in the 1970s, Queen of the Deuce tells the fascinating story of Chelly Wilson, trailblazing entrepreneur and unconventional matriarch, who built an empire based on desire.

Synopsis

From the late ’60s to the mid ’80s, in the notorious Times Square area known as the Deuce, the eccentric, Greek-born Chelly Wilson built a porn cinema empire and a reputation as one of the most savvy and charismatic figures on the scene.

 

With a cigarette in hand and bags of money stashed in the corner, Chelly regularly held court in her bunkerlike apartment above the legendary 8th Avenue all-male Adonis Theatre, summoning a lively cabal of associates, entertainers and fellow poker players, with her female lovers always hovering and grandchildren often underfoot. Yet few in her circle knew of the risks she took to get there.

 

Queen of the Deuce reveals Chelly’s origins as a taboo-breaking entrepreneur and traces the fraught events that lead to her departure from Europe on the eve of war, and the unconventional trajectories of her American business ventures and personal life. With the rise of feminism, the sexual revolution and gay pride in frame, Queen of the Deuce is an alternate take on cultural history as seen through Chelly Wilson’s empowering story of survival.

Trailer

Chelly's Story

Team

  • Director
    Valerie Kontakos
  • Writers
    Valerie Kontakos, Despina Pavlaki
  • Co-writer
    Christos Asteriou
  • Producers
    Ed Barreveld, Valerie Kontakos, Despina Pavlaki
  • Executive Producers
    Ed Barreveld, Valerie Kontakos, Don Walters, Bondi Wilson Walters
  • Editor
    Rob Ruzic
  • Cinematographers
    Patrick McGowan, Martina Radwan
  • Original Music
    Ken Myhr
  • Animation Director / Lead Animator
    Abhilasha Dewan
  • An Exile Films and Storyline Entertainment production, in co-production with ERT, in association with Channel 8, RTS Radio Télévision Suisse and documentary Channel
  • With the participation of Canada Media Fund, Rogers Documentary Fund, Ontario Creates, with the support of the Greek Film Centre, Creative Europe Programme – MEDIA of the European Union, Jewish Story Partners, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, OMDC Film and Television Tax Credit
  • Valerie Kontakos

    Director, writer, producer

    Valerie Kontakos lives between Athens and New York. After graduating from New York University, she worked as a sound editor for the Maysles brothers, Deborah Dickson, Anita Thacher and others. In 1989 she directed her first feature documentary A Quality of Light. In 1994 she became the deputy director of the Hellenic Foundation in NYC, where she started the NYC Greek Film Festival. Her second feature, Who’s on First? (2006), aired in the US, Greece, Finland and South Korea. She founded production company Exile Films in Athens in 2007 and non-profit Exile Room, focusing on social outreach through documentary, in 2009. Queen of the Deuce is her fourth feature.

  • Ed Barreveld

    Producer

    Storyline Entertainment CEO and Emmy Award-winning producer Ed Barreveld is one of Canada’s top independent documentary film professionals. A hands-on producer with 35 years of experience in both financing and the field, Barreveld brings together Canadian and international storytellers, investors and partners on documentaries that explore underexposed places and perspectives in society and culture. Barreveld has partnered with producers and investors in Germany, Belgium, Australia, Greece, France, Chile, and the US. Storyline titles have sold internationally, screened at Tribeca, Hot Docs, IDFA and TIFF, and garnered numerous festival accolades, as well as Emmy, Gemini and Canadian Screen awards and nominations.

  • Despina Pavlaki

    Writer, producer

    Despina Pavlaki worked as a film critic and festival programmer before getting involved in production. She was the programming director of the Athens International Film Festival and the general coordinator of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. She has worked for production company Exile Films and non-profit Exile Room since 2009. Her credits include Volta (2014), the first Greek short to screen in competition at Sundance. In 2017 she designed Tell Me Your Story, the first educational program in Greece to train inmates to shoot their own short documentaries behind bars. Her latest production is Queen of the Deuce, which she also co-scripted.

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