Film

Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly

When: Fri., Feb. 3, 7 p.m. 2017

Pornography is one of the only multi-billion-dollar industries that people never talk about. It's not the kind of thing you bring up in casual conversation, except perhaps with partners or very good friends. So when someone suffers a genuine addiction to porn, they usually don't come forward about it.

One locally based filmmaker, Justin Hunt, developed some strong feelings about porn addiction after he discovered that it had ruined the marriage of one of his friends. He set out to create a documentary that really looked at the porn phenomenon from the "inside out."

Most documentaries about porn, he says, are cheeky profiles of ex-porn stars, or they focus on the subject of human trafficking. As far as he knows, there has never been a documentary that asked the question, "what does this do to the individual and how does that ripple out into society?" That's what Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly seeks to answer.

The film examines pornography addiction on multiple levels, from its direct effect on the brain to how it is viewed in other cultures. It also contains zero graphic imagery, which Hunt hopes will make it accessible to teens as well as adults, since teens are easily one of the most affected populations when it comes to porn consumption.

"It's not so much an anti-porn film," Hunt says, "and it's not a pro-porn film, not by any stretch. It's a porn-informative film."

Considering so few people discuss porn addiction openly the way they do alcohol or drug addiction, Hunt hopes to start a dialogue surrounding the subject. "All I'm trying to do with this film is give people the courage to have the conversation," he says. "If we just get that [momentum], that ball rolling, I guarantee you the exponential result will amaze us over time. Because what most people need is just permission to speak and permission to know they're not alone."

Despite tonight being its world premiere screening, Addicted to Porn has already gained national media attention thanks to its narrator: Metallica frontman James Hetfield, who worked with Hunt on his 2010 documentary Absent. Hunt is grateful Hetfield was passionate enough to put his reputation on the line to work on the film, even with a new album and a tour on the way.

But, he says, they wanted to make it happen no matter what. "We're both husbands and we're both fathers, and we want to try to help the situation using the tools that we have."

Tonight's screening will be followed by a Q&A with Hunt, and it should be an interesting evening no matter where you fall in the great porn debate. If nothing else, it'll get people talking.

7 p.m., UCCS Gallogly Event Center, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., free, atpdoc.com.

Price: Free

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