What film makers have influenced you? "Well I guess you could say I've been most influenced by Alfred Hitchcock. If Hitchcock made sex films I think he would have handled certain scenes the way I did."
After this answer many people started shifting restlessly in their seats and, shortly afterward, the presentation came to a close. Later, at the Aegean Fare Restaurant in Kenmore Square, Damiano told me more about himself.A native New Yorker, Damiano started making movies seven years ago at age 38. Before that time he had been an X-ray technician for 12 years and then a hairdresser for eight more. His only film background was a six month course he took in directing and editing at the New York School of Visual Arts.
"I got into films late in life. I met some people and for three years I learned film working on the nudie cuties. But back in those days the sex wasn't explicit. Most of the pictures I worked on played the porno houses and died in a matter of days, weeks. It was only the attempts at censorship that brought these films their notoriety."
Damiano denies making sex films solely for the money. He claims to have "only" made $200,000 in seven years of film-making. His ninety minute appearance at Boston University netted him a thousand dollars.
"The money has never been upper most in my mind. But I was anxious to make films, to learn, so I went where the market is. Right now the market is in sex films. That's the only kind of films you can make."
Damiano's two famous films Deep Throat and The Devil In Miss Jones were both made for under $25,000 (stars Linda Lovelace and Georgina Spelvin were both paid around $500 for their participation) and have each grossed close to 10 million. Damiano is reluctant to talk about the financial aspect of his business but he does admit to being forced to sell his share of Deep Throat for $15,000. Rumor has it that Damiano and his family were threatened with violence if he did not sell out his share of Throat. Damiano will not directly comment on this saying: "I really don't want to comment on that because nothing can be served by it. The money is gone. Any of the news that came out about it did not come out through me. I really don't want to go into it. It can only be uncomfortable."
"It's a part of the past," his wife adds, "we'd like to leave it there."
The 5'4" producer will, however, enthusiastically discuss the actual making of Deep Throat. In an interview with Linda Lovelace last November the performer told me that she was an afterthought for the lead in Deep Throat. Damiano denies this: "I was looking for someone to play a sex role in a picture I made called Changed. Linda was originally supposed to make that film with me but when she came to my office with her boyfriend-husband-trainer, whatever he was, and I saw what she could do on film, I decided not to use her in Changes but to write a film around her. I knew she was completely unique.