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Too much sex at Sundance, says conservative group

Friday 25 Jan 2013 10:46 p.m.

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A conservative group in Utah says the US state should pull its support for the Sundance Film Festival because of its perceived predilection for obscene movies.

The festival has been held in Utah since its conception more than three decades ago, and this year it's bursting with sexually explicit films.

Kink is a documentary about website kink.com – a leading producer of bondage and BDSM pornography.

Then there's Interior. Leather Bar. The reimaging of the gay S&M footage that was rumoured to be cut out and destroyed from the 1980 film Cruising.

Interior. Leather Bar. and Kink are two of three sexually explicit films that actor and director James Franco is involved in at this year's Sundance.

So is the film fest - turning into a filth fest?

Franco says no – it's tasteful and it's art.

“I wanted to explore real sex on film but in a way that was not pornographic, was really about the behaviour – an act that reveals character or story,” he says.

But Utah conservative group The Sutherland Institute says the films are obscene, and wants the state to stop supporting the prestigious festival because it doesn't reflect ‘Utah values’.

It's against films like Lovelace, a story about Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace.

But the film’s leading lady says there's an unnecessary stigma attached to sex on screens – and that it can be educational

“I grew up thinking sex was terrifying and that would kill you. It took me a while to figure it out and find my comfort zone and connect to it in a healthy way. I wish it was easier,” says actress Amanda Seyfried.

Robin Weigert – who plays a lesbian prostitute in the film Concussion – says the proliferation of sex at Sundance is due to the recent debate about gay and lesbian rights.

“There’s been this sort of repositioning of it as a human-central issue instead of a titillating side issue. It’s a core issue to deal with what and who we are, and to speak of anything but that is to diminish our humanity.”

A humanity that Sundance's supporters say includes sex, and which – regardless of what critics say – is here to stay

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