Sunday, June 28, 2009

Humpday in SoHo

I haven't been doing a lot of Geeky Sex stuff recently, as you might have noticed. In the past month I've had a very busy time at work, had a death in the family, finished a non-blog writing project, started a bigger non-blog writing project and gone on at least one pleasant date. But I can't stay away for that long.

So last Thursday I headed down to the SoHo Apple Store to get the skinny on a new movie from filmmaker Lynn Shelton, Humpday. It's an independent film -- not one of those indie studio pictures, but a real indie made with digital video, improvisation, few actors, fewer locations, a lot of love and very little money. It's basis (and title) comes from Seattle's Hump Film Festival, Dan Savage and The Stranger's amateur porn festival which famously attracts a lot of talented newcomers by publicly destroying the tapes at the festival's conclusion.

Shelton's story is about two straight men played by Mark Duplass (director of The Puffy Chair) and Joshua Leonard (from The Blair Witch Project). They are old college buddies whose lives have taken them in different directions. During a night of heavy drinking at a Seattle party they hear about the Hump festival and plan to make a movie where the two of them have sex. The next morning neither man wants to go through with it but the competitive side of their friendship won't let either one of them back out first.

"It's about and for straight guys," said Lynn Shelton, who appeared at the Apple Store with Duplass and Leonard, adding, "It's a great date movie!" She explained that she is bi (though now married monogamously) and has always been fascinated by the fluidity of sexual orientation. In this movie she's trying to explore straight male anxiety about gayness. "I was not setting out to make a comedy," said Shelton, explaining that she and her two lead actors had had numerous conversations about the ways close platonic male friendships are limited by homophobia while they developed story. They were also not setting out to make a political statement. Rather they were trying to question the identities of the two main characters and let their concept unfold in the most natural way possible.

The movie has played at a number of film festivals, including Sundance and Cannes, and opens in a limited release on July 10 (here in NYC it will be playing at the Angelika). I'm going to be on vacation then and therefore not blogging but I promise to give you my take on it as soon as I get back.

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