Hard Liquor and Porn Festival Sexes Up the Projection Booth
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Hard Liquor and Porn Festival Sexes Up the Projection Booth

Darryl's Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival features no actual porn, but has a little bit of everything else.

A still from Tram, an animated short that will play at the Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival.

Darryl’s Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival
The Projection Booth East (1035 Gerrard Street East )
November 16–17, 7 p.m.
$10–$20

There’s one important thing to remember about Darryl’s Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival, according to founder Darryl Gold: it’s not actually a porn film festival. At its core it’s a comedy film festival, with a side of sex.

“If I was showing real porn, people would be bored senseless in the first five minutes,” he says. “Or else they’d be uncomfortable. But the comedy is a really good vehicle… for people to talk about things, including sex.”

This year marks the festivals 11th anniversary. Gold told us the whole thing started as a joke at a Halloween party over a decade ago, and expanded from there. “It started in my bachelor apartment, and everyone had to dress up kind of lounge or porn-y, and bring their favourite porn clip and some liquor,” says Gold. “Then the next year we did it, and someone brought something they had made themselves and I was like ‘That’s it!’ And it kind of took off from there.”

Since then, he’s received entries from all over the English-speaking world, as well as South America and several countries in Europe. Films have been sent in from well known directors, most notably Guy Maddin, as well as amateurs and semi-pros. Similarly, a whole range of films have made the festival’s screen, ranging from the raunchy to the whimsical.

“There was one in 2007 or so that came in from the Ukraine, about that country’s oldest prostitute and three college boys,” he said. “That was kind of stomach churning, but also hilariously funny… On the other end, this year we have Tram, which is an animated short from the Czech Republic which just won the top award at Annecy, which is the biggest animated film festival in the world, and it’s about a female streetcar driver who sort of has all these fantasies about all the men on her streetcar.”

The festival has also developed its own film contest, the Hard Liquor and Porn 69-Hour Film Challenge, in which entrants have 69 hours to make a film—which must include three objects, taken from a list of 10 choices

“We get all kinds of things in for that,” he says. “The shortest film we received was five seconds long.”

Gold says that the secret to making a good movie about sex is to make a good movie, then add the sex. He points to the porn auteurs of the 1970s as people who got it right, or were at least trying to.

“They thought they were serious filmmakers making real works of art,” says Gold. “Now, [the filmmakers] were seeing it from one mindset, and everyone else was seeing something completely else… [but] they had really high ideals.”

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