In his annual call for amateur porn films (some have been made by pros), sex and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage includes props that have nothing to do with sex but prove the film was made for the HUMP! Film Festival. Two of them are easy to spot in the slate of 2017 films, which screen Nov. 9-11 at The Broad Theater. In one film, one of the props is altered to "Make America Gape Again," a fitting public service announcement for the full spectrum of sexuality depicted in the 22 short films, most of them under four minutes.
The founding concept of HUMP! was for people to make short films about or featuring sex they enjoy. Some of the 2017 films are clearly about joyous exhibitionism — by gay male couples on a boat and camping by a lake and adventurous heterosexual couples on a mountaintop and jumping out of an airplane mid-coitus for a mostly naked skydive. There also are soloists, transsexual couples, orgies, fetishists and more — most with closeups of genitals.
There's straightforward sex and all manner of sex toys and fetish wear, as well as humor and more earnest projects. In one endearing film, a woman talks frankly but discreetly about overcoming being abused as a girl to find peace and joy in her adult sex life — in a polyamorous group of people aged 51 to 75. A few films have no nudity or actual sex. One short comedy about a couple discussing their turn-ons develops into a hilarious mashup of parodied role-playing and kinkiness.
There probably is something to please and turn off everyone. But there also is a compelling level of comfort and pleasure among those on screen, including a man who confesses that he's more comfortable having sex on camera than wearing a red baseball cap.