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HUMP! Film Festival Promotional Poster
HUMP! Film Festival Promotional Poster | © HUMP! Film Festival
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This Adult Film Festival is Redefining the Porn Industry

Picture of Samantha Ladwig
Updated: 12 May 2018
The Pacific Northwest’s HUMP! Film Festival is a pornographic wonder that seeks to remind people that “everyone is sexy.”

HUMP! is a festival that is quite literal and true to its name. In the 13th annual iteration of the U.S. and Canada-bound touring event, HUMP! continues celebrating body-positivity, sexuality, and amateur porn. And with a rapid international desire to normalize the pornography industry, HUMP! seeks to break boundaries—five minutes at a time.

While watching porn in public (not to mention with an audience) may seem skin-crawlingly awkward, HUMP! keeps its submissions capped at five minutes. According to Marketing and Promotions Director Caroline Dodge, it’s a revelatory experience. In a recent interview with Culture Trip, Dodge proclaimed that “first timers and HUMP! veterans always leave with huge smiles on their faces.”

Started by Seattle’s own Dan Savage in 2005, HUMP! Film Festival is unlike any other film festival out there, not just because of its erotic nature, but because of its curatorial process as well—submissions are open to everyone from all over the world. The tour event starts with the Opening Festival, a locally programmed show of the submissions where each film receives an audience review. Afterwards, Savage announces the winners and those films go on to tour the U.S. and Canada. That chapter of the festival is the HUMP! Film Festival as we now know it.

But, the remaining films don’t just sit around. At the close of the Opening Festival, Savage publicly destroys all those erotic films that didn’t earn one of the program’s many awards: Best Kink, Best Sex, Best Humor, or Best in Show. Savage, who Dodge credits as the reason for the festivals ever-growing attendance due to his ongoing work to normalize sexual openness, continues to curate and destroy the leftover submissions today.

“The first year or two, we got a lot of ‘pro’ pornography,” said Dodge, “Nowadays that is unusual. HUMP! gives people the freedom to feel that anyone can make [porn], that everyone is sexy. HUMP! is the people’s porn.”

The festival promotes inclusivity in every iteration. Per their own website, “our carefully curated program is a cornucopia of body types, shapes, ages, colors, sexualities, genders, kinks, and fetishes—all united by a shared spirit of sex-positivity.”

Some of the titles folks can expect from this year’zs fest include, “Is Queefing an Instrument?,” “Bum Appétit,” and “Dildrone,” a film that involves a dildo attached to a drone. “There’s always something new to learn, to see, and to enjoy,” says Dodge, “You will see things that you may have heard of, but would never think to look for yourself online. We try to make each year’s contest as diverse and interesting as possible.”

Dan Savage's Hump Film Festival #humpfilmfest #everyoneissexy

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The desire to view sexually-charged media—no matter the genre—that doesn’t revolve solely around straight, white, and/or cis couples goes beyond the scrappy underground. It ranges from Andrew Haigh’s acclaimed film Weekend and HBO show Looking to Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman to Miguel Arteta’s latest feature, Duck Butter. And those showcases make it clear that audiences are seeking a more accurate representation of love, sex, and sexuality.

“With all the fears, nerves, and hang-ups around sex and sexuality, HUMP! still manages to be a place where everyone can go and have a good time. Many people see things they’ve only read about, fantasized about, or just didn’t understand or were too shy to ask about.”

When asked about the most surprising aspect of the festival since it first screened in 2005, Dodge says, “I’m surprised by the shared humanity of such a massive range of sexual expression. There aren’t many spaces where we can get together with all of our differences and experience something as raw, intense, hilarious, and deeply human in its range as HUMP!”

HUMP! Film Festival is currently touring—starting in the Pacific Northwest on May 10 and traveling through Canada and other states until the end of the year. With its next show is scheduled for Seattle this coming weekend, audiences can expect something a little different this time around.

“This year, it’s a collection of some of the audience and our favorite films from the last 10 years,” says Dodge, “That means, the ones that made us laugh the hardest, squirm that most, and think about the longest afterwards.”