Unusual creatures set to invade mountain town for festival season
Anyone who's been to Park City, Utah in January knows how chilly it can get. It's good to know some visitors will be warmly attired.
Furries -- people who like to dress in animal costumes -- are about to invade the town for the premiere of Fursonas at the Slamdance Film Festival.
The documentary directed by Dominic Rodriguez -- himself a furry -- explores the subculture of fans who "purchase or create fursuits of their 'fursonas' -- life-size animal costumes that express their personalities," as press materials for the film put it.
'Furry' has something to do with cartoon animals -- and that's all I'm able to say before I risk misrepresenting someone.
Fursonas, which is in competition at Slamdance, will premiere on Friday, January 22 at Treasure Mountain Inn, headquarters of the festival.
The first time I saw a furry for myself was at the annual Anime Expo in Los Angeles, a huge convention of cosplay fans. There I noticed a man dressed in otherwise ordinary clothes, but with a furry tail hanging from his jeans.
There are many other conventions for furries including Anthrocon [the next one takes place in Pittsburgh, Penn. next summer]. More than five thousand people headed to Midwest FurFest in Chicago last month, with some attendees coming from as far away as Asia and Australia.
"I thought it would be fun to simply spend time with as many furries as possible and just let them talk," Rodriguez wrote in his director's statement. "Maybe a cool movie could exist just as a portrait piece showcasing relatable people united by an obscure interest. It could be something that both furries and non-furries would enjoy and discuss. I guess I should have known it wasn’t going to be that simple."
"Eventually, I realized that I would have to be in the film as well. To not include myself would be hypocritical,." Rodriguez continued in his director's statement. "Yes, I’ve been a furry for over a decade. Yes, I have a fursuit now. Yes, my boyfriend is a furry too. That’s how we met. Get this: Leo isn’t even his real name. I’ll give you one guess to figure out Leo’s fursona. And yes, we both love furry porn."
"Fursonas is a journey into community—not just the furry community, but community in general," Rodriguez wrote. "The film peels back layers to get into individual identities and the conflicts that arise when people try to co-exist."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.