Austin Gets Humped

Popular porn festival returns to Austin for one kinky night

Popular porn festival returns to Austin for one kinky night

Dan Savage Hump Film Festival
Dan Savage is an author, gay rights activist, and writer of the internationally acclaimed Savage Love sex column, and has curated the Hump Film Festival for the past 12 years.  Courtesy of Hump Film Festival
Hump Film Festival 2015
The amateur porn festival Hump will visit Austin on Saturday, September 26. Courtesy of Hump Film Festival
Dan Savage Hump Film Festival
Hump Film Festival 2015

“If you hate porn, you might want to give Hump a chance.” Did somebody say porn? Hilarious and pleasure-probing, a long-running festival will reveal itself to Austin on Saturday, going way beyond your typical run-of-the-mill weekend event.

Dan Savage, the author, journalist, gay rights activist, and internationally popular sex columnist behind Savage Love, is bringing his Hump Film Festival to Austin during its national tour. Initially created and curated by Savage in Seattle 12 years ago, Hump is an amateur pornography festival that explores human sexuality through five-minute films.

“There’s porn out there with people in it that’d rather be doing something else, or don’t want to be doing it at all. You’re not going to see that porn in Hump,” says Savage in reference to the common commercial porn we all know. “Usually when you talk to [someone] about what they hate about porn, the word they use is dehumanizing. I can assure those people that if you come to Hump, you’re going to see some really, deeply humanizing porn.”

By showcasing “humanizing porn,” one of the many unique elements stemming from Hump is that it knows no boundaries.

“You’re going to watch porn that takes you outside of your comfort zone,” says Savage. “[During] the first five or six films, people are just knocked back in their seats because you’ve got straight people watching hard-core gay porn, you’ve got gay guys watching cunnilingus, you’ve got vanilla people watching really hard-core kinky porn, you have cisgendered people watching trans porn.

“… And about a third of the way through Hump,” he continues, “everyone is laughing, cheering, clapping, and nobody is being thrown back in their seat any more.”

With great success in the Pacific Northwest, the 2015 national Hump Film Festival has brought together the best films from the past seven years of the fest’s production for an evening full of kinks and giggles.

Here’s one example of what you might see at Hump. “We had a film one year called Pie Sluts, and it was a small group of people hitting each other with pies,” recalls Savage. “Nobody was really naked, and there were no erections or genitals, and no orifices, and people are like, ‘How is that porn?’ No, pie fetish is a real thing; there are actually people out there where that is their kink. And for that small group — of really attractive friends — that was their pornography and they shared it with us.” 

From musical numbers and animation to erotic spoken word, Hump runs the gamut, highlighting desire, passion, vulnerability, and humor.

“When you’ve got straight guys watching a really funny, great five-minute gay porn short, and they’re cheering for it, and would never otherwise have watched that, that’s kind of transformative,” says Savage.

He explains that part of what Hump does is demystify and normalize difference, demonstrating something important: that while sexual preferences may differ, there is a common ground that can be shared in the appreciation and universality of human sexuality, of experiencing joy, connection, and intimacy. In other words, we’ve all got our kinks, however varied they might be.

When asked about his thoughts on Austin’s kinks, he laughs and in true Savage form, doesn’t miss a beat.

“Any place that’s sexually repressed is a kink-generator. …The erotic mind seizes on that and makes boner lemonade out of the lemons of sexual anxiety, hang-ups, and repression,” he says. “So I assume there’s a lot of kink in Austin, it being liberal and hip and surrounded by the rest of Texas.”

But, as Savage affirms, it’s not just liberals who have kinks.

“One thing I recall when I wrote about swinging was there’s a lot of straight swingers in Texas. A lot of heterosexual, married couples who are conservative, Republicans, and Christians that are swingers, which I find fascinating,” he says.

I told him about a community I had heard of in the Steiner Ranch area where swinger couples supposedly place blue gazing balls as decor in their yards to let fellow swingers know their whereabouts. “You know what I would do if I lived there?” he asks. “I would go buy a bunch of those blue balls and randomly put them in people’s yards.”

And while swinging might be all the rage in Texas, Savage returns back to the concept of Hump and how it conveys that pleasure and joy are not only personal but also subjective. But above all else, the Hump Film Festival is meant to entertain.

“Hump’s mission is to be entertaining, to be a fun night in a movie theater. It’s not a graduate seminar in some dour liberal arts college trying to edify and educate people about human sexuality,” says Savage. “It’s a really good time that does a little education around the edges.”

Besides, everybody needs a little Hump in their lives.

--- 

Hump Film Festival will take place in Austin at The Scoot Inn on Saturday, September 26. There will be two separate screenings at 8:30 and 10:45 pm. Tickets are $15 to $20.