This Amateur Porn Film Festival Is Actually Heartwarming AF

dan-savage-hump-film-festival
Miles Griffis

I thought that at an amateur porn film festival I would be dripping like a George Foreman grill, but tbh, I actually just cried like a baby...

The annual Hump! Film Festival, now in its 12th year and on its most expansive tour yet, features numerous mini amateur erotic films where anything goes (except, well, you know...poo). The festival is hosted by famed gay activist and sex advice luminary Dan Savage who strives to produce a sex positive festival that celebrates people of different body types, sexualities, and all expressions. There are two main rules at the festival: 1.) No video taping. And 2.) All submissions are burned after the festival.

That's right—this is your one-time, get-out-of-jail-free card to to dabble in pornography.

The first few films were what I expected. I found myself fangirling over an expeditious couple who performed acroyoga sex in thin, mountain summit air.  The second film was a humorous jab at dirty talk between a straight couple. The third, a queer puppy fetish scene sporting three pups and their master trainer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, been there, seen that at the Eagle. More or less what you'd expect at this type of thing, right?

It wasn't until film five that the dam broke. The film? Camping Trip, a body-centric focus on the story of an overnight camping trip between two young, Patagonia-clad bros no older than 25. Being a boy of the trail, summer camps, and having partaken in many backpacking trips myself, the film had me at my heartstrings. Tension, apprehension, both characters testing the waters, “what if he's not gay?”

The memories of all my camping trip crushes came pouring in with their handsome, chapped-lipped smiles and Teva sandals. But, unlike my real life where none were ever realized, the build-up was expelled as the two skinny dipped, horsed around, and eventually gave anal a try using their sunscreen as lube. Looking beyond their studly bodies, the film captured an endearing moment of male bonding squeezing the homosocial and homoerotic into one neat trail mix.

But these nostalgic, outdoor bro tears were only the appetizer. The true emotions lit up when I'm Not Poly But My Boyfriends Are began streaming. In a documentary style interview, the elderly, female lead discusses her battle overcoming sex guilt as she explores sexuality with four of her closest boyfriends. She talks compassionately to an imaginary younger version of herself, regretful of her conservancy, extending a sex-positive hand.

Yikes! That one really made a hot mess out of me. But with my nose running, I forged on.

Thankfully, I was given a small lighthearted break with an animated film about a very curious octopus (giving the term “octopussy” a very real visual) before the grand finale tear jerker wrecked havoc on my dear little heart.

A Pervert's Guide to Avoiding Loneliness had me in tears from the first line. The film is a recording of a live performance of an original song. (You can listen to the self-released song by Scott Steven Erickson here.) In a tacky living room, a man wearing a classic jockstrap plays his accordion and sings with a heavy, yearning soul. Two verses, a heavy accordion solo, and the final lines, "Now that doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of love.../ Now that doesn’t mean that I can’t handle commitment” and I was reduced to a puddle on the theater floor. Like, DECEASED.

After the last squeeze was compressed, I looked over at the total stranger to my left wondering if she saw me bawling. To my adoration, she was wiping her eyes on her wet sleeves.

Hump! Film Festival: 1. Our tenuous emotions: a complete disaster.

As I watched one film about two queer women sharing an amorous, vanilla moment after an intense BDSM threesome near the end of the festival, I came to the fruits of my emotional labor.

My final musing of the night: Sex is simple. It is about deep companionship. Typical porn studios get lost in money shots and the partialization of human anatomy. They forget about bond. That companionship comes in hundreds of forms and deserve no judgment. We most want someone (or someones) in our lives who we can do everything we fantasize about with. And here, all definitions of wild and tame are accepted and agreed upon by their participants. The range is wide and the mind is imaginative.

When the bars finally shut, after a long week at work, we want someone to come home to who has seen us in our greatest, most liberated selves and loves us regardless of it. Perhaps if we're especially lucky, that someone will love us more for it.

The Hump! Film Festival plays throughout the year in select cities. Watch the trailer in the video below, and find the tour dates here (but make sure to bring your biggest box of tissues!).

 

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