ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A racy application and complaints about the owners' past behavior are raising questions about a newly-opened production and casting company.
A-1 Star Casting hosted a grand-opening at the company's new office in northeast Albuquerque two weeks ago after sending out a news release trumpeting the event. Some of the prospective actors, directors and stunt men who attended paid $5 to have their picture taken and posted in the company's online database.
Martin Keven, an Albuquerque actor who's been in the business for five years, said he stopped by A-1 Star Casting during the grand opening and was immediately suspicious. For starters, he said the business was still under construction and looked unprofessional.
"Right away I knew there was something going on," Keven said. "One gentleman, they took like 30 pictures of him, and you know they're telling him, ‘Dance like a chicken,' you know, ‘Spin around, do this and do that.' "
He started to fill out the application and said the questions the company asked raised even more red flags. For example, it asked if applicants were willing to contribute up to $500,000 to fund a TV show or movie.
"They were asking for money, if I was willing to invest or had video equipment," Keven said.
But what really got his attention were the questions on the application asking if he would do partial or full nude scenes or "tasteful school shower scenes."
When News 13 visited the A1 Star Casting office, owner Joe Guinan insisted he was not producing pornography.
Asked why he's asking if people will do "tasteful school shower scenes," Keven said, "Oh well that's a requirement from Hollywood. We can actually take that out."
Guinan and his office manager, Chuck Erickson, said they moved to Albuquerque from the Los Angeles area in January. His website lists a variety of positions they're hiring including actors, directors and stunt men. He said he wanted to fill a void in the Albuquerque market.
But an Internet search for their names turned up scores of California complaints from people who claim they paid the men and never received any services in return.
Albuquerque Film Office Director Ann Lerner said she is aware of the complaints about A1 Star Casting and encouraged anyone with concerns to contact her office. But she said as far as she knows, the company has done nothing illegal
Kathryn Brink, a long-time New Mexico casting director, said was surprised at the questions on the application.
"A legitimate application, first of all, would never, never ask these kinds of questions," Brink said.
If she were looking for a job and saw the application, she'd walk right out of the office, she said.
"This is a really scary looking thing to me personally," she said.
Guinan said he's the real deal and that he's invested $30,000 of his own money to set up his casting and production business. He also claimed he's working on a list of movies using New Mexico talent.
"I'm just trying to do the best I can," Guinan said.
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