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HUMP! FILM FESTIVAL Ty Wardwell serves 'Breakfast'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Dan Savage's Hump! Film Festival is returning to Chicago April 14-15. The concept started out simple with every day people making short, adult videos and sending them to Savage. Everyone was welcome to join the fourth international tour and 22 videos were selected.

While discretion and anonymity are important to the filmmakers, the crew that created the segment Breakfast in Bed were willing to speak to Windy City Times on the phone.

No spoilers, but this is not a traditionally served breakfast between buddies. After seeing the film, this could be a whole new way to say Parkay. Windy City Times talked with one of the minds behind the film, Ty Wardwell.

Windy City Times: Hi, Ty. How did you get involved with the Hump! Film Festival?

Ty Wardwell: I had attended a couple of times in the past as an audience member. I had an idea for a few years that I was telling friends about. I had never managed to get it done.

My friend Ethan Folk is someone I had been collaborating with since 2015 consistently. I told him I wanted to make this film. He has the camera and the skills. He's a get things done daddy, so he's a good person for me to work with. We made it happen in a weekend in September. Now it is touring the country!

WCT: What is your background?

TW: I grew up outside of Boston. I have lived in Austria, California, and I am now in Seattle. I'm moving to Berlin in two weeks. Ethan is there now. We are moving our performance and filmmaking practice to Berlin. We will be based there but we have family, friends, and close connections in Seattle so we will be coming back and forth.

WCT: Are both actors gay?

TW: That is us. Ethan and I identify as queer. I had originally conceived it as a solo video. I ran that by a writer friend of mine who felt I needed to have a little bit more of a story. Running with that I wrote the version that you see in Breakfast in Bed. That meant I needed a second person.

I had dreamed of two actors so I could be outside of it and directing.

I put a casting call out on Craigslist. The responses I got were interesting. In the ad I wrote, "Will involve some butter play." People asked what butter play was.

The performance requires a level of vulnerability that I didn't want to coach strangers through. If Ethan and I were the actors we wouldn't have to pay each other. It kept costs down and gave us the opportunity to take our relationship to another realm.

WCT: Is butter play a common practice?

TW: I hadn't seen a lot of butter play on film. When it comes to kink and taboo, I think the best way to bring it to the masses is in terms of play and humor.

The Hump! Film Festival is a fun room to be in. Just being there to watch the amateur pornographic films is an experience not like any other. It changed my perception of porn and I think it does that for a lot of folks.

WCT: Is there usually a big variety of types at the festival?

TW: Oh, yeah. There are people from the queer community. There is not a lot of uniformity in the audience. I think that is fantastic. People go in knowing that they will see something they have never seen before. Our film certainly does that. It was one of our goals to be short, memorable, and fun.

WCT: What is your favorite kind of butter?

TW: I prefer unsalted butter for playing and for spreading. For this performance we were more concerned about the shape of the stick, rather than the flavor, or what kind of cow it is coming from. I prefer cows that are treated gently, but our priority was finding the right shape.

Up until about five years ago all the sticks of butter were the same shape, longer than they were wide. Now they are getting more cube like. It is the wrong trend for doing this kind of work.

WCT: Many filmmakers would not talk to the press about their pieces in the festival so thank you for being open about it.

TW: This is our first time making porn so we went into it feeling pretty shy. In the credits we referred to ourselves as Ty and E. You don't see much of our faces. My face is visible in profile from the nose down. We were intentional about that.

Once we won runner-up for Best Kink, and it is now on tour with screenings in Berlin and Detroit with a positive audience response we are proclaiming it as ours.

We have reached the point of no return here. When I told my parents about this project they had reservations about my name being attached to pornography on the Internet.

This video is part of a trilogy of work that we premiered in Seattle. We had a lovely write up that described in detail the actions of the film. Once that existed then I decided to just make porn and be proud of it!

Head to Hump! at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. on Saturday April 14-15 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. for tickets and information.

Visit for more of the dynamic duo's work.

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