Hard Liquor & Porn Film Festival, 09/30/05

Darryl Gold was not what I was expecting.

I expected the Director of Programming of the Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival to be something a Hugh Hefner wannabe. Perhaps that has something to do with his website photo...

Instead he turned out to be a rather low key filmmaker, film editor and visual effects guy quick to share his opinions on the politics of the movie business. Our interview soon developed into a discussion that went from the object at hand (the festival) to the issue of getting arts grants (a chore) to the ridiculousness of porn itself.

Indeed the whole thing started out as a Halloween theme party. In order to get the guys attend, they were told to bring porn; the girls were told to bring liquor. The party became a group commentary session: the guys would turn to the girls and say, "Do women actually LIKE that?" As Gold blythly remarked, it was akin to sitting in with the Ontario Film Review Board - "Parking and porn: that's how the government makes its money."

The first HLPFF was held in Gold's home but it was the beginning of a festival that is now in its sixth year. The 2nd fest, again at Gold's home, had 30 people. By the 4th, there were 400 people in attendance.

In fact, the Hard Liquor and Porn Festival has little to do with traditional porn. For one thing, 90 minutes of explicit porn can get boring, according to Gold. The genre is but a vehicle to create low-budget films and be creative about it. Anything can be "pornified" said Gold and the films have tended to be generally "quirky and offbeat". The object of the festival is to have a "good, entertaining show, to have good storytelling and craftsmanship."

Somehow, I was vaguely disappointed by this. Now if someome could come up with some *good* porn then I would be impressed. But that's just me.

The films are coming from all over: from English and French Canada, the USA, the UK, and even as far away as Australia and Ukraine. They are "porn as satire" often reflecting the mindset of the filmmaker; or as Gold put it "humour drawn from people not getting laid". Making films in the porn genre has allowed people to let loose on their creativity resulting in everything from Public Service Announcements for the "Canadian Porn Association" warning people not be fooled by non-Canadian pirated porn to fake news reports about clowns in porn.

I asked Gold where he saw the festival going in the future. He said that he would like to take the festival on tour. Had he applied for grants? Yes but he, along with his organizing partner Jill Rosenberg, have all but given up on the grant thing in the end. Mind you, the Canada Council did give them a travel grant to go to Montreal last summer where one third of the films they showed where French, some of which will be see this Friday.

Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival (dress code: porn star) will be held at the Revival Lounge, 783 College St. on Friday, September 30 starting at 9pm (Doors 8pm). Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 19+ Adults Only. For more information, call the hotline 416-653-5000.

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