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Hump Fest 

Dan Savage's Amateur Porn Film Fest HUMP! Aims to Change the Way We Make, See and Share Porn

  • Courtesy of HUMP! Film Festival

How many puns can a porno-fest make on the Make America Great Again slogan? Turns out, a lot.

It was about three films in that I realized what strange and humorous twists my writing career has taken — and that I need living room curtains.

Sitting in my fishbowl of a front room, watching as strangers of all shapes, sizes, genders, non-genders, kinks and quirks embraced their vulnerabilities and got down and dirt-ay for viewers, I realized the mind-boggling feat that Dan Savage's carefully-curated HUMP! Film Festival had achieved. I mean, watching multiple men don a "Make American Gay/Great/Grate again" hat, without it being distasteful, is a tremendous feat alone.

Now in its 12th year, and with recent articles in Playboy, Buzzfeed, Vice and Huffington Post, the traveling fest which normally plays to a modest audience of 20,000 across the U.S. is gaining steam — showing that America is finally getting down with its kinks.

As I watched a montage of two aerial yogis gratifying one another to a Fiona Apple-type-'90s rock song, perched along a Central Oregon ridgeline, I turned to my partner, who, glued to the screen, had to endure my onslaught of inane and not so-sexy commentary:

From the logical:
"I hope they know they're at high altitude... better have slathered on some sunscreen."

To the technical:
"What Go-Pro mount do you think they're using?"

To the genuinely awestruck:
"Wait a second, is that fucking Broken Top in the background?"

  • Courtesy of HUMP! Film Festival

While "Fuck on the Mount" wasn't as much of a cinematic feat as some would come to expect from the conventional porn industry, one that pulls in a whopping $14 billion a year and really, and I mean, really, tries to put the definition in High Definition, the film won in the fest's Best Sex category at this year's fest.

Submitted films are five minutes or shorter and do away with the bouncy-breasted, peroxide blonde and frosted-tip steroid hogs we're so used to seeing in mainstream porn (or mom, if you're reading this, I meant to say HEARING about, in mainstream porn.) No wonder Psychology Today reports that more and more teenage boys are growing up with a skewed view of the female body. It's all that damn mainstream, conventional porn.

It's this concern that makes you realize — and then endorse —that this is a film fest embracing the vulnerable and the outlandish as much as the everyday, serving as a platform for everyone. This is where you'll find that next-door neighbor you've always had an inkling about, the recluse tech-geek coming out of their shell, the curvaceous male-to-female in-transition or the immigrant grandmother you really had no clue about. From "You've Got Tail," which explores animal dress-up and submission to "Camping Trip," a year-long sex journal, to the hilarious "Birthday Boss," in which a sex-call goes awry, the films can be hilarious, mesmerizing, steamy and yes, at times, uncomfortable. I mean, watching a cock-a-pult, (exactly what it sounds like) can be comical, but also, a bit awkward, especially for my male counterpart.

2017 HUMP! Tour Teaser from HUMP! Film Festival on Vimeo.

Portland native Kimberly Brady has been acting and performing on stage and in film for almost a decade. Her film, "Birthday Boss," won Best Comedy at the festival this past year. A cofounder of the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, she's been involved in large fests before, but never submitted a piece to HUMP! Brady touts the inclusivity, and says, "Hump has been a great experience! It's such a unique opportunity for us to take our crazy/dirty little ideas out and put them out into the world. The audiences in Portland and Chicago were phenomenal... it's so great to have such large crowds checking out each other's kinks in a fun, positive way."

Festival creator Dan Savage repeatedly promotes it as a sex positive experience, and in a recent article for Playboy, said, "You're a straight guy watching hardcore gay porn, or you're a gay guy watching cunnilingus... But then the mood changes. Everyone is cheering and clapping after every film. At first all anybody can see is the differences. And halfway through everyone starts to see the similarities, or that everything is exactly the same."

  • Courtesy of HUMP! Film Festival

Last year when I dragged my partner to the fest at Volcanic Theatre Pub, I was eager to see who would be in attendance. "It's gonna be like a mini Portland," I said, brimming with excitement "We can all fly our freak flags!" I was disappointed, however. Everyday humans wearing puffy jackets filled the space, bringing about a realization that HUMP! has an uncanny ability to bridge boundaries and foster a comforting space to even those not-so-kink inclined (hey, I'm not judging puffy-jack-ers, I wear one too.)

It's a promise to performers to destroy the submitted content and forbidding cell phones and recording devices that harbors an extraordinarily inclusionary feel, whether you're straight, bi, gay, trans, vanilla, kinky or otherwise. Films at HUMP! will make you celebrate the sexuality that is within all of us. They will make you push boundaries and make you uncomfortable. They will make you laugh, maybe even cry and most definitely turn you on. And isn't that when the magic happens? No, not when you're turned on (although I forgive you for having your mind in the gutter). The magic happens when you're pushed out of your comfort zone and get to see the other side. That moist other side.

HUMP! Film Fest

Sat., May 20, 7pm & 9:30pm

Volcanic Theatre Pub

70 SW Century Dr., Bend


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