HUMP and the Porn Dream

I used to think that the only reason people blush when they talk or hear about sex is owing to our centuries of social conditioning. It used to be and is for a large part of the world, the forbidden, which shall not be named out loud. Our puritanical ideas around sex, sexuality and its exploration still results in the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of high school meanderings. I was glad to watch the preview of this unique film festival called the HUMP, the brainchild of Dan Savage, who since 2008 has brought together some wild and real short films of aspiring porn stars. These are not people who are brushed up to ‘act’ in front of a camera. They are not porn stars who rule X rated websites. These are people like you and I, who have always had this hidden desire to be in front of a camera, wearing their sexual exploits on their sleeves. I think most of it is daring for someone like me because I wouldn’t have been able to live out my fantasy like this.

The HUMP film festival is a collection of twenty-some porn shorts, with regular folks who decided to make and even star in them. The films range from reading the most obnoxious rhetoric from Mike Huckabee’s new book (an interesting choice for a porn short), to Cake Boss where a man uses a woman’s body to bake a cake. The films move from Cuckold, where a couple comes face to face with what it means to make their sexual fantasy a reality to someone collecting cups of sperm to exploring bodies that are not normative and don’t fall within binaries. A guy just casually chooses to walk into the woods and jerk off, while enjoying being in nature; from kink to leather, from queer to heterosexual, BDSM to vanilla, this is a variety that is uniquely porn. And then there is Level Up, which is a videogame that looks at feminism, where women characters face their misogynist perpetrators; very political, yet with a strange climax. (See tomorrow my interview with the cast and crew of one of the shorts ‘Level Up’).

I have engaged with porn in various ways in the past few years, from (healthy) addiction to complete abstinence. And everyone has a very personal approach to how and what kind of porn they watch. In watching these shorts, what did emerge was the complete absence of any norm, rule or commonality. The shorts reaffirm that everyone is different, has different tastes and it’s ok to be like that. My only critique of this is the typical lack of people of colour in most mainstream porn. There are always the token few, but even people driven projects like these lack the authentic representation that our modern societies are.

Check the festival out for its brave and unabashed assumption of the participant’s deepest desires. And as a film buff, when a film is called ‘Film Bonoir’ you know that it’s more than just about a film movement and must be explored.

HUMP comes to Montreal at the Cinema du Parc with screenings on April 15 at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. and April 16 at 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Tickets $18 and can be found HERE. Stay tuned for our interview with the makers of Level UP.



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