Over the course of 11 days, October 18-28, film fans and filmmakers from across the country will descend upon the ShowPlace ICON Theatre at the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park for the 2017 Twin Cities Film Fest.
More than 120 films – including features, shorts, animation and documentaries – will screen over the course of the festival. In addition, a large number of directors, producers, and actors will walk the red carpet, present their films, attend the mixers and chat with fans about their work.
Over the course of TCFF 2017, we’ll be chatting with some of those filmmakers and stars to find out more about what they’re bringing to the TCFF screens.
Film: Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly
Showtime: 2:30 p.m., Wednesday Oct. 25
When it comes to documentaries, it's not unheard of to have a celebrity serve as the narrator (Morgan Freeman, anyone?). What's a little less common is to have one of the most recognizable voices in heavy metal serve as the voice talent. But that's exactly what filmmaker Justin Hunt has in the form of Metallica vocalist James Hetfield. Adding to the intrigue is the film's subject matter – pornography and its effects on the world. Prior to the film's Oct. 25 screening, which Hunt will be in attendance for, he took the time to chat about his film.
Q: Tell us about “Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly.”
That's a tricky question. There's a lot to tell. Basically, it's a study of what porn can/is doing from the inside out. Starting with the brain and how porn reshapes it, to the ease of access at far too early an age due to modern technology. Couple that with a lack of public education, and instead of educating on porn, porn is becoming the educator. Then, people take that into relationships and guess what … they don’t work. We highlight that by spending some time with a man and woman that used to be married and the marriage dissolved because of his addiction. We also have international interviews and an active female addict in the film, so you get a very broad spectrum of the pornography landscape. And we do it all without a single provocative image.
Q: This isn’t a topic that’s often discussed. What drew you to the topic and made you decide to tackle it?
Well, if you look at the history of my films, I tend to take on and discuss things people don't want to talk about: meth addiction, absent fathers, porn addiction. In essence, it's the material most other people are scared to touch, or at least they were at the time I made the films. What put this topic on my radar was a conversation with a girl I went to high school with. I hadn't seen her in about 15 years. We crossed paths and I asked her how she and her family were doing. She told me she was getting divorced because of her husband's addiction to porn. I was utterly shocked by that. Porn has never been a part of my life, so I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it. I think what shocked me more was how shocked I was by it. Thus, research and the filmmaking process began.
Q: Your narrator has one of the most recognizable voices in music. How did you get James Hetfield on board?
James and I became fairly close friends after I interviewed him for my documentary, “Absent.” We did a number of screenings together, went on national television together, etc. I interviewed him about how he'd turned his father wound into music. In the process, and after having seen the film, it affected his life greatly as a father himself. From there, we've just kept in touch over the years. When I told him about this film, he was quite interested. We're both husbands, we're both fathers and I think he wanted to help me try to make a difference in this world. You can imagine the uproar and interest that caused in the music world.
Q: Prior to TCFF, where has the film screened, and what has the response been so far?
TCFF is actually the first festival we've screened the film at, but we've had a good 30 or so screenings around the globe in the past eight or nine months. A lot of professional organizations and churches want to screen the film, and we've four-walled a few ourselves. We've screened it all around the U.S., in Copenhagen, Denmark and we have a 20-screening tour coming up in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand in February of next year.
Q: What was it that drew you to submit your film for the Twin Cities Film Fest?
Actually, we were invited to TCFF. Of the 10 or so other festivals that we submitted to, none of them selected it and I truly believe it's because of the topic. It's about porn, but it's not salacious, so they don't know what to make of it. Having said that, and seeing what I've seen about TCFF so far, we are truly excited about bringing it up there and screening it!
Q: If someone is only going to see one or two films at the Twin Cities Film Fest, why should this be one of them?
Great question. I think there are several reasons, to be honest. It's about an extremely relevant topic in our culture right now, a topic that is having much more effect than people realize and that can have a long lasting impact on our future. It's something everyone should educate themselves on, regardless of their stance. It features a very unique juxtaposition with the narration and the narrator, who does a really good job voicing the film, in my opinion. It's done by a veteran filmmaker who has some significant experience taking on really big topics and making them palatable in a 75-90 minute period. The production value is good, the visuals are strong (we use 27 artists from 9 different countries) and the sound is solid. So, if you're looking at your check list: interesting topic, famous narrator, good picture, solid sound, experienced filmmaker. I'd go see that. And I say all of that with the most sincere level of humility.