HUMP! Film Festival: Beyond the Bedroom

Hump Film Festival

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The couple who took home the Best in Show award from Dan Savage’s 2019 HUMP! Film Festival put a whole lot of skin in the game to ensure their win.

Around the World in 80 Lays saw the daring duo getting it on everywhere from India to Indonesia, and far beyond. They racked up air miles and took risks in a number of public places during their erotic quest, and the sold-out crowd watching the action unfold on the big screen during last March’s HUMP! tour stop at the Pickford Film Center appeared to be intrigued by their amorous audacity.

Although the winners had gone global, most of the compendium of sex-positive short films that aired that night didn’t appear to require such far-flung itineraries or locales (a crowded mountaintop orgy probably took some precise planning, however). They were by turns funny, kinky, romantic, raw, rough, informative, abstract and alluring. It wasn’t always easy to watch the intimacy unfold, but it was never boring.

When the 15th annual HUMP! Film Festival makes its way back to Bellingham for March 13-14 screenings at the Pickford, audiences should expect that a masterful mix of DIY films will once again be on the roster. Submitted by amateur filmmakers and curated by Savage, creative sexual expression is at the heart of the festival the Seattle-based advice columnist started with a mission to change the way America sees, makes and shares porn.

Judging by the tens of thousands of tickets that are sold every year when the HUMP! tour hits the road, audiences are keen to see dirty movies representing a variety of body sizes, shapes, ages, ethnicities, sexualities, genders, kinks and fetishes. The people they’re watching aren’t porn stars, but for a limited time, they’re the stars of the show.

However, when Facebook and Instagram deactivated HUMP’s business page for “explicit content” and refused to run its ads, it challenged the festival’s ability to promote to new and existing markets. Despite these roadblocks, Savage and his team are still determined to get the word out about this one-of-a-kind film festival.

“With our government and major corporations like Facebook waging war on so many of our sexual freedoms, just being at HUMP! is a modest act of resistance,” Savage says, pointing out in a recent interview that that there’s no actual porn to be found on the organization’s website, or in any of its advertising.

“What’s galling for me is the hypocrisy of it,” he told Seven Days last August. “There’s plenty of terrible porn on the internet. We’re bringing people together to show them a vision of a different kind of porn—porn that’s more humorous, more humanistic, more compassionate. Porn that you know is people who are having fun with their friends and lovers, so you don’t have to worry about the conditions under which it was produced. And that we can’t have.”

If you believe the festival’s mission is worth supporting, bring an open mind to the screening. After all, you don’t want to miss this year’s Best in Show, which features a couple attempting to reproduce every HUMP! trope in five minutes. It’s something you won’t see anywhere else, and that’s a promise.

WHAT: 15th annual HUMP! Film Festival
WHEN: March 13-14
WHERE: Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St.
COST: $20

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