HUMP! Recap and Interview with Amory Jane
The HUMP! Annual amateur porn film festival founded in 2005 and hosted by good looking advice columnist Dan Savage, arrived in Portland, Oregon last week-end for its final stop in its North West tour. HUMP! Lets you, the viewer vote flicks into special categories that award the victors cash prizes and fame for the week-end as the films are destroyed after the festival. Per tradition, tickets began to sell out before presenters could formally announce releases and groups of late comers cut by scalpers day of show formed around ticket booths to snatch up neglected single seats as we headed in on a rainy and chilled Sunday afternoon.
Having taken part as observers in a Hump! Festival only once but feeling like a slightly above average connoisseurs of good pornography we were incredibly excited at this years submissions. Previous features have involved everything from slapstick stop motion views on sex positions, black metal music femme-domme offerings to enlightening realism such as the film Krutch, which features an afternoon in the life a disabled woman with a crutch, where unknowing bystanders help her navigate the city on her way back home where she affixes a dildo via a special attachment on her crutch allowing her to flexibly make love with her partner and her herself.
On the bill this year was a colorful revelation on the real reasons people karaoke. Local sex educator Amory Jane and her posse which won two years ago for their film D & D Orgy involving, you guessed it, a sweet Dungeons and Dragons orgy (you also might of noticed the references to it on the game Cards Against Humanity) submitted Humparoke, a hot flick that features people making the case for just how erotic karaoke can be and then acting out these fantasies sometimes while singing the songs behind the inspiration. Amory Jane was willing to shed some light on Hump! Festival culture.
How many years have you been participating in HUMP! and when did you first discover the festival?
AJ: I first discovered HUMP! in 2007, after I had been living in Portland for about a year. I’ve been going every year since then (only missed one year) and I started submitting films to HUMP! in 2012.
Are the films you’ve submitted personal fantasies you and your friends have or are they tailored to a reach a wider audience?
AJ: The first film my friends and I made was called D&D Orgy, and it was a re-enactment of my actual first time playing Dungeons and Dragons (which did, in fact, end in an orgy). When we were brainstorming ideas for our first film, we were thinking of our fantasies and what we’d like to see on screen, but then we realized that our real-life adventures were fantastic and silly enough to become HUMP! films.
Humparoke, was inspired by our group’s mutual love of karaoke and by the delightfully terrible LaserDisc karaoke videos you can still find at places like Chopsticks. My spouse is a karaoke jockey and was telling a group of us about how he thought it would be really fun to make a LaserDisc type of karaoke music video. I agreed with him but told him it would be even better if the videos were porn and the lyrics kind of lined up with what was happening on the screen. Everyone loved the idea, some of us volunteered to get naked and sing songs, and then we just had a basement karaoke party where we filmed all of the vocals and most of the sex scenes. I personally love how authentic our film was and that we were able to capture us all just being dorky karaoke lovers having a good time and being vulnerable and sexy with each other.
In your film submission Humparoke, each scene is really choreographed, especially “Any Way You Want It”. Firstly how did you come up with this whole idea of karaoke as being sexy and how did you time scenes to the music?
AJ: Karaoke is the way most of us met and is an activity we all enjoy. Our film, Humparoke, was kind of a dirty love letter to karaoke and how we appreciate the way it acts as an icebreaker and social lubricant (especially for introverts). It can also be a huge turn on to see someone really pour their heart into a performance or completely nail a song. As for the scenes looking really choreographed, thank you! When we filmed, we just let everyone kind of go at it naturally, especially during the sex scenes so that we could stay aroused and feel connected instead of having a lot of starting and stopping. We did listen to the songs on repeat while we were filming the scenes though, and we ended up singing along sometimes, which is how we got some of those hilarious synced up shots during “Any Way You Want It.”
Has the independent filmmaker role been submerged in the submission process as the festival has grown?
AJ: I’ve been going to HUMP! for quite a few years now and I do think the overall quality of the films has gone up. In some ways I really love that, because it is wonderful to see more and more people embracing porn as a form of art and personal expression. It is also nice to see high-quality short films if you’re paying money to go to a film festival. However, I also sometimes worry that HUMP! is becoming less amateur and less local, and if it gets too big it might lose its charm. I mean, I have definitely noticed a LOT more credits and production company names on films in the past three years. I just hope HUMP! never stops including movies made by real-life couples or groups of friends on their cell phones and borrowed family camcorders, because it is really great seeing how ALL sorts of different people have sex or try to make us laugh.
Have the films gotten funnier over time?
AJ: I’m not actually sure if the movies have gotten funnier over time, but I do know humor has always been a huge part of HUMP! Some years it even feels like more filmmakers are going for genital and/or sex-based humor than they are going for making a porn. In fact, I know local comedians who got into HUMP! this year and didn’t have any actual sex or nudity in their film. It was still hilarious and felt like it totally belonged in the festival, and I think that’s because the audience really appreciates being able to laugh about sex and sexuality when it is often presented as so serious and sometimes even as shameful in our culture. The judges who vote films into HUMP! do an exceptional job, I think, of giving the audience a mix between light and funny, kinky, emotional, vanilla, titillating, dark, endearing, and goofy. Which is perfect, because sex can be all of those things.
What do you enjoy about making movies for Hump!?
AJ: Pretty much everything except for the week or two after submission deadlines where we have to wait to find out if we got into the festival. That part is nerve-wracking! I absolutely love everything else though–the brainstorming sessions; the recruitment of friends; the sexy fun and the bonding that happens with costars and the camera crew; and then the really strange but exciting moment when we finally see ourselves on that big screen and get to share the film we worked so hard on with a huge audience full of strangers.
Hump! is already gearing up for next year on the heels of this years winners. This years offerings didn’t fail to disappoint with Best in Humor going to ‘The Worlds Best Hand Job”- a delightful presentation of “the twins”, a reluctant member and masturbation styles such as the “whack a mole” and “the picnic.”
Best Kink went to “The Grocer” – in which you re-evaluate your life based on what produce can talk you into doing.
Best Sex- was awarded to a tasteful hetero black and white film called “Sunday” outlining just that, what heteros like to do on a lazy Sunday besides visit the Farmers Market.
Best in Show was given to the film “Glory Hole”- a truly touching love story on how a gay couple met 22 years ago and are still together.
Jury Award went to “Rube”- a pornographic version of the Rube Goldberg machine complete with a choreographed plug release scene and a very beautiful shower cuddle.
Hump! Begins in earnest January of 2015 beginning in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. Visit: http://humptour.strangertickets.com for more information.