New to VOD this week: FURSONAS
Dominic Rodriguez’s inside look at a Furry community and its controversies made its debut at Slamdance earlier this year, where it picked up a special award. Screenings have followed at Newport Beach, Atlanta, Boston LGBT, and DocuWest. The doc was released on iTunes earlier this week.
Rodriguez, a member of Pittsburgh’s Furry fandom – for the uninitiated, individuals who like to dress up in anthropomorphic animal mascot suits and attend gatherings or conventions with other likeminded people – sets out to represent his subculture as well-rounded people, in contrast to most media representations which focus on the freak factor, including the idea that Furries like to have sex in costume. Despite his insider status, members of the community are skeptical about the filmmaker’s intentions, including their self-appointed leader, Uncle Kage, who comes off here as an obnoxious megalomaniac. Kage has been policing his flock, insisting on media training to prevent the wrong kind of Furry image to be propagated, such as that of the oddball Boomer the Dog, an outsider who has tried to legally change his name and whose paper-based shaggy dog outfit has drawn jeers from more traditional Furries. Other local Furries interviewed here, most of whom are male and either gay or sexually ambiguous, express concerns about being ostracized by the community if they speak honestly and stray from the sanitized version of fandom that Kage endorses. While the idea of self-policing within this very small subculture has potential, unfortunately the execution here is wanting – the filmmaker is in this talking heads-heavy film far too much, making the project feel too indulgent and insular to transcend its immediate cliquish audience.