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Poster for Queen of the Deuce (2024)
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Queen of the Deuce (2024)

Opens on May 24

Director: Valerie Kontakos Run Time: 90 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2023

Starring: Chelly Wilson

Country: Canada, Greece
Language: English, Greek

About the film:

World Premiere, DOC NYC 2023.

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.

“Kontakos’ film has the feel of an engrossing photo album, with snapshots offered of wartime Greece, the porn scene in New York and the heyday of The Deuce as well as of Wilson’s descendants.”

—Amber Wilkinson, Screen International

About the filmmaker:

Valerie Kontakos lives between Athens, Greece and New York, 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 the production company Exile Films in Athens, Greece in 2007 and non-profit Exile Room, focusing on social outreach through documentary, in 2009. Queen of the Deuce (2024) is her fourth feature.

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