A porn festival for people who don't like pornography?
That's how syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage described the HUMP! Film Festival, a two-day annual event coming to Chicago's Music Box Theater on Feb. 16-17.
In a phone interview with the BAR to discuss the details of the upcoming program, Savage said it "showcases home movie erotica, amateur sex cinema, and locally produced pornographyall less than five minutes long, "
"Essentially," said Savage, "HUMP! Consists of short dirty movies created by people who aren't porn stars but want to be one for a weekend."
Savagea gay syndicated sex columnist, journalist and activisthas been prodcing the film festival since 2005, when it began in Seattle, Savage's home bases, where he is title of nane of paper. Now the editorial director of whatwhere he bagan as a what whenSavage has built a multi media empire, in an era when many of the papers who had purchased his column have gone out of business.
The filmmakersand their film stars"show us what they think is hot and sexy," said Savage. The program consists of shorts, "a carefully curated program" featuring "a conrnucopia of body types, shapes, ages, colors and sexualities," he said.
The films "are united by a shared spirit of sex positivity," said Savage.
And for those who might want to chat with Savage about the festival or take a selfie with him, the festival director will be here each evening for a question and answer session after the XYZ minute program.
"HUMP! is a celebration of creative sexual expression," said Savage. "You may see films that shock you, that make you laugh or that turn you on," he said.
The festival's main mission, he said, " is to change the way America sees, makes, and shares pornography."
The festival producers encourage filmmakers to produce entries specifically for the festival, said Savage, pointing out that several films that premiered at HUMP! in previous years have been re-released and achieved "significant commercial success," he said. Most notable were the gay feature Lawnboy and the short mockumentary, "How To Get A Leg Up in Porn."
The festival opened its national tour in Seattle and Portland, where festivalgoers voted for their favorites, which are annotated on the program.
Among the winners at the 13th annual festival are
Best humor: "A HUMP! Public Service Announcement," which the program says is "educational and sexy"
Best humor, runner up: "Dildrone," the story of a drone equipped with a dildo
Best sex: "The Alley," featuring "tattoed strangers who find an extremely hot way to pass the time between a few spin cycles"
Best sex, runner-up: "The Code," a film that "will convince you to never take Uber again" with a warning to not try what is described in the film on your LYFT home from the festival
Best kink: "Paramnesia," featuring "kinky Tumblr girls who shot a Lynchian porn!"
Best kink, runner-up: "Dark Room," which features hot bodies, great sex, and an end you'll not soon forget"
Annual jury award: "Bed Bugs," a story of "the ghost of boyfriend past who haunts a trashed mattress"
Annual best in show: "Connection," a "coffee shot fantasy that turns a contemporary dance routine into one of the sexiest stripteases HUMP! Has ever seen"
Running the 60-city HUMP! Fest tour is an "unbelievable amount of work," said Savage. The tour will stop at such cities as Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Montreal and Toronto.
Part of the appeal of the festival, he added, is that the films are "not dehumanizing," adding "Everyone in them wants to be in them. People do it for fun. Nobody is paid so audience members never have to worry [that people are working because they need the money]."
In addition to his current lineup of gigs, Savage said a "television project" is now under discussion, but cautioned, "I can't say anymore right now."
The HUMP! Film Festival will take place Feb. 16-17 at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. Visit humpfilmfest.com/.