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|Saturday, May 7th, 2016|
THE SALON: Inside the fascinating, misunderstood world of furries
“The Lion King’ is an extraordinarily sexual film”: Inside the fascinating, misunderstood world of furries THE SALON: Inside the fascinating, misunderstood world of furries
Furries are adults who assume creative/fantasy identities and dress up in fur suits. They are often ridiculed for their behavior, which is, by and large, assumed to be sexual. The new documentary, “Fursonas,” available on VOD now, attempts to demystify members of this subculture by—ahem—fleshing them out as humans.
Directed by Dominic Rodriguez (himself a furry, a wolf named Video), the film introduces characters like Diezel, who found his inner furry by working as a mascot; Skye, who enjoys the friendship and dance competitions at furry conventions; Freya, a mother who hopes her young daughter will find the same appreciation she does in costume; Bandit, who sees furry-dom as a way to memorialize his dog; and Grix and Quad, a gay couple who are equally comfortable in suit and out.
Then there is Uncle Kage, a chairman at furry conventions, who manages the way furries talk to and are represented by the media. He criticizes Boomer, a furry whose outfit is made of paper, not fur, and who went to the extreme of trying to legally change his name to Boomer the Dog, which is also the name of his favorite TV show/character; Chew Fox, whose appearance on “The Tyra Banks Show” discussed a furry taboo (apparently being a furry is like being in Fight Club); and Varka, who provides sex toys to furries, but is now fursona non grata at conventions.
“Fursonas” gives these men, women and animals an opportunity to express their thoughts about perception, tolerance and rejection. Salon spoke with Rodriguez about his film, his fur fetish and this fascinating subculture.
“Fursonas” attempts to debunk the myths about furries. Why do you think there is such curiosity, or misunderstanding regarding this subculture?
I think that when Uncle Kage was on a panel at a convention (Anthrocon), there was an insightful comment about the media, who came and pried into the underbelly about furry meetings being about sex. Because of defensiveness in the community and that attitude, there is more of a stigma. There’s a reaction from the community that thinks that the media is out to get us. That’s why we have to share all these other sides of furries. Being a furry is a positive beautiful thing in furries’ lives. People who aren’t furries want answers. They don’t understand something that they aren’t a part of.
How did you get the approval to make this documentary?
It was not approved by Anthrocon. The Anthrocon media policy is that if you are going to shoot [footage] there, you have to show the finished film to the board of directors. They recommend changes, and if you don’t make those changes you have to take that Anthrocon footage out. We didn’t, because we disagree with that policy. It’s against the rule, but it’s not against the law. We’re not looking to make the furries or the convention look bad. Scenes of Uncle Kage at the convention are available on YouTube for free. We weren’t sneaking around; we wanted to show what was right in front of our faces.
What were your criteria for the Fursonas you showcase in the film?
At first it was about finding people who would talk to me. I didn’t know anybody in the community. I reached out to people with costumes. Not everyone has a fur suit. I think the costumes are cinematic, and that the furries who wear them are passionate. They invest money and time in their suits and I wanted to talk to passionate people. I sent out 100 emails, half the people responded, and half of them spoke to me. I traveled to meet folks, but Boomer lives 20 minutes from my house. I wanted to get diversity. I didn’t know much about these people and their lives until I met them. People like Chew Fox, Varka and Uncle Kage were more people I sought out because I wanted to tell their story.
What observations do you have about why people become furries? Is it infantilization? Fantasy/role playing by unleashing the inner animal? Is it a mask to increase confidence? Is it a sexual fetish? Or all of the above?
For many people it incorporates all of the above. But for plenty of furries it is one of the above. There is enough of a sexual component to the fandom it can’t be ignored, but I don’t know how many people are into it sexually. That is not something that people are comfortable talking about. Which is totally fair. There is an innocence brought to it because of the silliness of putting on a costume, running around and having adventures. There was never a scene in the film where we explain why this person does it. It’s not about the why, it’s about the who. It was important to get to know the people. I don’t have any definitive answer.
How did you become a furry, and what have your experiences been?
For me, I was interested in this since I was 12. I thought so much about what made me a furry. My experience is just my experience. It’s not reflective of all experiences. I feel like it has something to do with growing up with the Internet and being obsessed with movies and cartoons. “The Lion King” is an extraordinarily sexual film. When I found furry porn, that was it for me. It’s really beautiful. When I think of the question “Can porn be art?” I think furry porn is the answer. You humanize it and bring it into emotion. Videos of people fucking takes the humanity away. For me being a furry started as a fetish. I don’t know why anthropomorphized anatomy does it for me. As I worked on the movie, I got more into the scene and there are so many aspects that I enjoy. I wasn’t into fur suits at first, and then, when I met Grix, he owned that character and made it approachable and fun. There was nothing awkward about that, and that inspired me to get a fur suit.
What can you say about the difficulties of “coming out” as a furry, which is addressed in “Fursonas?”
When you ask, “How do you come out to your parents as a furry?”—you don’t have to. I understand why people want to be honest with themselves. I feel like I didn’t choose this. That’s how deep it runs for me. That’s why people feel the need to come out. It’s so in line with their identity. I’m lucky—I have a really awesome family. They have been supportive of me talking about these things. But not everyone has supportive people around them. I understand how Diezel might feel, keeping his furry life separate from his work life. The movie is important to show people expressing themselves, but also acknowledge the difficulties of that situation.
“I hate to bring this up,” as Uncle Kage says journalists will ask, “but what is all this about sex in fur suits?” Were you tempted to depict sex scenes with furries?
I think that is part of the fun for me as a director and revealing things to the audience that has preconceived notions, and playing with those. Someone says a line and it puts the image in your head. But I didn’t want to hold back, so I needed to show the indulgence of Varka with the cum lube. That’s my money shot.
There has been controversy in the furry community over Chew Fox’s appearance on “The Tyra Banks Show.” She said something that was harmful to the community, but truthful for her. What are your thoughts on what she did?
I think that Chew Fox was not trying to hurt anyone. The most important thing was her being honest about herself. People will say she was trying to throw us under the bus. I don’t agree with that at all. I’ve had to go into the media and now talk about being a furry. I’m now very self-aware. I wouldn’t go on the “Tyra Banks Show.” It’s an exploitative treatment of its subjects. Boomer made a point about that there is no bad media. No matter what it is, there is some truth coming through. So when he goes on “Dr. Phil,” it’s more about him being on the show. “They can do what they want,” he says, “It’s me coming through, there is some truth coming through.” Many furries have responded well, and there’s a difference between how [they and] non-furries respond. A furry who interviewed me thinks Chew Fox was delighting in upsetting furries, and that’s wasn’t obvious to me at all.
How do you think your film will play with furry and non-furry audiences?
I wanted to make something furries and non-furries can get something out of. As far as who is going to accept furries, if you’re going to watch it to laugh at them, I hope you will be moved by these stories. But there are people you will never convince, and that’s fine. I’m more interested in furries’ reactions. It’s played well with non-furry audiences. It’s meant to be about more than this community and where they are right now. I’m interested to see how it will play with furries because we’re all passionate about being furries. I was terrified when I showed the film at a recent furry convention, but so far, all the furry screenings have been extremely positive experiences. It has provoked thoughtful discussion. We’re having conversations, and dialogue is positive.
More Gary M. Kramer.
|Sunday, April 24th, 2016|
|Friday, April 8th, 2016|
|Saturday, March 26th, 2016|
|Tuesday, March 15th, 2016|
|Friday, February 26th, 2016|
|Monday, February 15th, 2016|
|Saturday, February 13th, 2016|
|Friday, February 5th, 2016|
|Thursday, January 14th, 2016|
A Documentary About "Furries" Competes In The Slamdance Film Festival
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Furries in the documentary "Fursona" come to Utah to compete in the Slamdance Film Festival
Furries in the documentary "Fursona" come to Utah to compete in the Slamdance Film Festival
“Fursona” is a documentary premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City on Jan. 22. It’s a first time effort for director Dominic Rodriguez that focuses on the world of furries, people who like to dress up like animals. “I think that part of what the journey of the movie was the struggle and making a good solid definition because there are so many people in it," said Rodriguez.
“I had called myself a furry but I never really understood it until I was about 17 years old. I went to work as a mascot for a Single A baseball team, surprisingly as a raccoon. And the first time I got in that suit and that mascot was just completely surreal. I mean, I could be as energetic, as happy, as crazy as I could be and people loved it." - Diezel
"Since it’s different to everyone that is in that community," Rodriguez said., "it’s hard to say something that is all inclusive.”
Rodriguez who is a furry himself, said he wanted to shed some light on the furry community. However, because of the negative media coverage in past years, it’s difficult to do.
“There’s a lot of fear in the furry community about it being misrepresented," he said.
You can see furries all around at amusement parks, mascots at football games, and sometimes even on Main Street promoting a company or event. For some furries, it’s a profession, while for others, it’s a lifestyle.
“So many of us are into creating art and street performance basically with our fur suits.”said Cameron Liddiard, a furry who lives in Utah.
“A lot of furry conventions have dance competitions because there is a big dance art community in the fandom. It’s different than any other fandom because like here, no one cares who wins, everyone supports everyone, and like it’s just a big family.” – Skye
Throughout the documentary the audience is exposed to conflicts within the community. Everything from how to be a furry, to politics within their society.
Uncle Kage is a researcher by profession and is also a chairman of Anthrocon, a furry convention. He wears a lab coat at his speaking engagements opposed to his furry costume.
“I’ve got a professional reputation that I have to maintain.” - Uncle Kage
Another fursona is Boomer. He’s the antithesis of Uncle Kage who made his own costume out of clothes and shredded paper. He sweeps parts of his hair on top of his head making puppy ears.
“I love furries so much I want to see all kinds of people have it and enjoy it if they’d like to. And I’d like them to see all sides of furry, you know good and bad, whatever it is. I don’t think there’s much bad to it. People try to discover themselves in different ways.” - Boomer
“I didn’t want to just turn it into, like this tight, neat, little story. I wanted to get to know the people so we spent years,” Rodriguez said. “Like when I first met Boomer, I was shocked by his lifestyle but then the more I got to know him the more insight he shared with me and I sort of realized what a good handle on all of this he has.”
Rodriguez realized throughout the making of the documentary that something complex can still be positive.
“It doesn’t necessarily need to be like a PR piece to still have an overall positive effect,” he said. “I think if furries are portrayed as humans, you know as like flawed human ... that isn't necessarily a negative thing.”
And when all is said and done, as Rodriguez said, he hopes people walk away with a better understanding of who they are.
“It seems so strange at first,” Rodriguez said. “I hope at the end of it it’s not about furry anymore for the audience and they've just gotten to know these people. But see them as people and I think that is so important to me.”
|Tuesday, December 8th, 2015|
Midwest Furfest 2015: More than 5,000 gather in Chicago for Furry Fandom convention
Dated December 8, here is an article in the International Business Times
, about Midwest FurFest 2015:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/midwest-furfest-2015-more-5000-gather-chicago-furry-fandom-convention-1532293
Concentrating more on photographs, the article's text reads:
More than 5,000 people gathered in Chicago for Midwest FurFest 2015, a convention for "furries" – lovers of anthropomorphic cartoon animals, many of whom dress up in life-sized fantasy animal costumes. Members of the furry fandom often create their own "fursona" – an animal character. This avatar allows them to express characteristics quite different from their own personalities. About one in five adopt a fursona of a different gender – around 80% of furries are male.
Conventions like these offer furries and fans of anthropomorphic culture the opportunity to socialise. According to FurFest's website, the convention allowed delegates to "come together to celebrate... art, literature and performance based around anthropomorphic animals". There were lectures and art shows, as well as adults-only private parties for subgroups of the fandom. Attendees raised more than $60,000 for animal charity Save a Vet.
|Friday, November 13th, 2015|
|Thursday, November 12th, 2015|
|Thursday, October 15th, 2015|
|Wednesday, October 7th, 2015|
|Wednesday, September 30th, 2015|
|Friday, September 4th, 2015|
|Thursday, September 3rd, 2015|