The Roxy Theater will host Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival 2019 this week, a 90-minute compilation of provocative, authentic and hilarious amateur porn.
The goal of the festival is not to get Missoula’s citizens turned on at the theater, although this certainly may be a side effect. HUMP! is here to challenge conventional societal norms of what “porn” really is.
“Our motto is ‘Everyone is Sexy,’” says Caroline Dodge, the marketing and promotions director of HUMP!, and one of the original founders of the 15-year-old festival.
The HUMP! team reviews over 100 short film submissions to create the 90-minute compilation. The final product is a mix of films that give visibility to the kink community, LGBT+, people of color, and various body types and abilities.
When HUMP! began 15 years ago, many submissions were still adhering to the conventional porn style, Dodge says. In other words, the films were professional-looking, and generally lacked goat costumes, glow-in-the-dark paint, musical numbers, or confetti.
“Because all the cash prizes are awarded by the audience, it became clear that the winning films were the ones that were authentic, down-to-earth, funny andhot. Now, people get it, and they send us their ownversions of sexual expression and creativity. Not what version is being peddled in the Valley,” says Dodge.
The festival delivers an alternate narrative to straight, cisgender and often misogynistic traditional porn by giving visibility to the underrepresented and only taking submissions from regular people, who “aren’t porn stars but want to be one for the weekend,” according to the festival’s website.
Among these sex-positive portrayals are celebrations of intimacy, masturbation, and BDSM. One short film, entitled “My Cathartic Release,” is an animation with a voice-over narration depicting someone’s personal first experience with BDSM as a bottom. The narrator describes how she was “reborn” and felt great release and liberation during the experience. “Please” is a short film that explores healthy consent and the idea of conventional sexual desires. “Porn Yesterday” is a collection of interviews with people reminiscing about magazines, manila envelopes, VHS tapes and other various “old-school” ways they consumed porn.
Several films don’t make a statement other than just being plain wild, including “Tax Master.” A man follows instructions via text, covering himself in various food like chocolate sauce and raw eggs. “Whatever Floats your Goat” involves several girls in “horny” goat costumes.
Dodge says choosing the films for the compilation isn’t an easy job among the HUMP! team.
“It’s always a fight because everyone has their favorites, but the most important thing is for our audience to see as much fun, hot, crazy, diverse sexuality as humanly possible,” she says.
Especially in more conservative areas of the U.S., Dodge thinks it’s important that places like The Roxy continue to support creative sexual expression.
“We wish we could go to all our conservative states and share the magic of HUMP!” says Dodge. “In many ways, those are the places that need it the most.”
Dodge says people will walk away from the festival with a new perspective. She also has some advice for attendees.
“Come with an open mind! Be ready to learn something new and get ready to laugh and have a great time!” she says. “People always leave HUMP! with a smile on their face.”
HUMP! will screen Wednesday, Sept. 25through Saturday the 28. Ages 18+.