Cinekink ranks as one of my favorite festivals despite the fact that I've never made it to one of their fests. In fact, Cinekink's visit to Austin later this month will mark the first time I'll be able to see Cinekink's programming. So how do I know it's a great fest? Three reasons: passionate people (pun fully intended), a specific focus on their subject matter, and happy filmmakers.
1. Passionate people: Cinekink is more or less a one-woman show – there are scores of people who help make it happen, but it represents the vision of Lisa Vandever, who founded the fest almost a decade ago. When people approach me about starting a new film festival I generally discourage them from doing so, but Lisa is proof that there's always room for a great idea. Vandever's personality, persistence, and razor-sharp sense of humor make every interaction with Cinkekink memorable.
2. A specific focus: Cinekink promotes itself as "the kinky film festival," but its insistence on representing "the positive depiction of sexuality and kink in film and television" makes it more than just kink. Sex has so many negative connotations in the media – particularly the American media – that it actually ranks above graphic violence in the pantheon of things parents worry about. A defender of good old-fashioned makin' whoopie (of both wholesome and unwholesome varieties) is needed, and Cinekink fills that void. So to speak. At any rate, if your film has a specific audience or content slant, a specialty festival like Cinekink may be on the hunt for exactly your kind of film, which drives your chances of acceptance way, way up. Even if it's not Cinekink, be on the lookout for your specialty festival.
3. Happy filmmakers. Whenever I talk to filmmakers whose films played Cinekink or people who have just attended the fest, they get the same coy smiles on their faces as they talk about how much they loved it. I get the feeling that even if there weren't a special connection in the subject matter, Cinekink's brand of hospitality and community would still draw rave reviews.
Cinekink's regular deadline is this Friday, November 18th. If you've got a sex-positive film, you should submit. Your film, submit your film! Get your mind out of the gutter.