HUMP! ON TOAST >>>
It’s nothing you’d ever learn about in home economics, but the short film “Breakfast in Bed” presents a novel way of buttering your toast. Anyone who caught the human “lube dispenser” at last year’s HUMP! Film Festival will get the gist of the piece, which is all that needs to be said about it at this point.
“I’m not necessarily turned on by this practice, but I’m glad that it encourages alternative approaches to dairy and intimacy,” quips Ty Wardwell during a Skype chat from Berlin with the Georgia Straight.
Getting Wardwell to speak is no small deal. Anyone familiar with Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival will know that organizers have been deadly serious about anonymity since HUMP! first invited participants in Portland and Seattle to become amateur porno makers back in 2005. Try to sneak a crafty souvenir out of the Rio Theatre when the road-show version of HUMP! brings this year’s best efforts to Vancouver once again and your phone will be confiscated—forever.
That said, the man who conceived, directed, and stars in “Breakfast in Bed” with his creative partner, Ethan Folk, is willing to come clean and face the media.
“With the audience reaction—and then winning the runner-up prize for best kink, getting on the tour— now we’re all about claiming our work,” the former Seattleite says of a two-minute short that playfully asks, in his words, “What’s the stupidest way you can melt a butter stick?”
Wardwell and Folk are, in fact, experimental-theatre artists whose work had taken them as far afield as Serbia before they settled in Germany earlier this year. A longer version of “Breakfast in Bed” was included in a video-performance triptych called cute & non-threatening, which describes, in some ways, the mood if not the action depicted in the piece.
Based on similarly slick entries— the stereoscopic ode to water sports, fisting, and, erm, egg play, “Correspondence”; the gorgeously crafted faux Kenneth Anger of “The Little Merman”; the Hokusai-inspired animation “The Dream of the Fisherman’s WIFE”—HUMP! attracts an impressive share of artists. Other entries come straight from the groin, like the lo-fi kinkathon “Toys, Trans, and Training” or the wild outdoor stunt fucking (skydiving included) of “Summer Fuckation”.
For all its considerable raunch, however—and things don’t get much dirtier than the bloodsmeared clown-fisting seen in “Playing Scrabble”—hump! is probably best defined by its humour. “Savage Kingdom” deserves a nod for demonstrating how to milk a gimp in the wild, while the song video “Sock Puppet” boasts remarkable wit and technical savvy for something that might blink out of existence once HUMP! is done for the year. Raw yet sweet-natured, “Breakfast in Bed” stands out because it embodies all of the festival’s virtues.
“One of the top feelings of 2016 for me was sitting in a theatre and hearing the reaction,” Wardwell says. “Every time this film is shown, there is a fucking roar, this mix of horror, astonishment, and glee. That just feels great, to bear witness to that.
“I’ve told people,” he adds with a knowing grin, “‘Because I made “Breakfast in Bed”, I can die today and be totally content with my creative output.’ ”