Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Documentary

A Call for Preservation of Sources for Furry Fandom History

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Guest post by Gamepopper, an indie game maker and animation fan in the UK.

As a British furry who was interested in the history of the furry fandom, I couldn’t help but notice most of the subject was centred around the United States. This was the case in all the articles and convention panels I could find, and most blatantly in the book Furry Nation: The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture by Joe Strike. This United States focus continues to this day with videos and documentaries such as The Fandom by Ash Coyote discussing the history of the fandom from the beginnings at science fiction and comic book conventions in California.

As a result, I took it upon myself in 2017 to look into my own country’s perspective of the fandom. This part-time hobby of mine culminated into a lecture at ConFuzzled 2019, The History of the Furry Fandom in the United Kingdom, which focused on the growth of the fandom from the earliest known gathering of twenty fans in 1987 to the present day conventions of over two thousand furries. I spoke about the housecons and fanzines in the nineties, furmeets and mailing lists in the noughties, and the British furry conventions and the difficulties getting them off the ground. I also allowed audience members to make comments and ask questions throughout, which you can listen to in the recorded version uploaded to YouTube.

Watching it in retrospect, I’m still proud of the amount of content in the work, in spite of a few factual errors and omissions that a few people have noted. On the day itself, it went over better than I ever anticipated, with a full room of attendees giving a huge round of applause at the end and many furries coming up to me to appraise my work. One of those people thought that the full history should be written down, and, given the amount of work I had already done, I felt up to the task.

Read the rest of this entry »

You made it to 2021! — A look back at the Top 20 Furry News stories of last year. (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

The Ursa Major Awards are open for nominations! Check the Recommended Anthropomorphics list for stuff to consider.

(Part 1): You made it to 2021! — A look back at the Top 20 Furry News stories of last year.

Here’s more review of last year’s news from Dogpatch Press. These are highlights for this site, and they’re not listed by biggest or most-viewed, it’s a mixed bag of big stories plus inside stuff only a fandom knows.

(11) International animals — What’s life like for a teenage LGBT furry fan in Iran? and Meet Unid, the only known furry from Sri Lanka.

There’s so much going on outside North America. Furry scenes are coming up in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Art is common language for far-flung fans who’d never meet any other way. One in Iran thinks war should be about the best pizza. One in Sri Lanka dreams of coming to a furry con one day.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fandom documentary: A bid for Netflix and a quick review.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

@MacthePherson submitted his review of this documentary about furries, and here’s how it’s faring so far.

  • Since July 3 release on Youtube, The Fandom has 160K views (on July 8.)
  • Press so far is linked on the movie’s IMDB page.
  • Cartoon Brew ran with a Dogpatch Press tip about it. Their animation industry news site isn’t afraid to roast sacred cows or other fandoms. They even answered the tip that their last furry story was about porn in 2016! The good review was a pleasant surprise for some fans who were bracing for judgement.
  • Animators at a studio that’s not yet named saw and loved The Fandom, and will join a news story about furries in their industry.
  • Options for distribution were hampered by 2020’s shutdowns, but you can help get it on Netflix now.

“The Fandom”. A quick review.
By @macthepherson 

As someone who likes films and has a degree in film school, I like to be honest. This is a very quick review with my first impressions, straight out of watching it. That means these initial impressions regarding the film may change over time, and that this review may lack some polishing and in-depth detail.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fandom movie: Furry paws seize the media

by Patch O'Furr

Premiering JULY 3, 2020 at thefandomfilm.com.

When the media shows furries, do they get it right?

It’s a constant furry worry. In 2017 it was announced that CNN was making a show about them. Backlash rose about sensationalism, but few critics gave a fair shake to the producers of This Is Life with Lisa Ling. Then it came out and it was a flat-out advocacy piece on behalf of Furry“, said Joe Strike, a fan since the 1980’s who wrote a book that covers the subculture’s run-ins with bad media.

Joe Strike’s Furry Nation is the essential fandom history book.

Positive response didn’t satisfy every critic. Some asked why the 3 fans featured by CNN didn’t include more diverse people. But the show (with an asian-american woman journalist) got backlash while asking volunteers to raise their paws and be counted. That seems like damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

In answer to this, The Fandom is a documentary made by the fans. It features outstanding writers (like Joe), artists, animators, musicians, costume designers, event organizers and founders. It celebrates the roots with pro quality and appeal for outsiders who might not have given a fair look before.

For decades this subculture has thrived despite adversity. Bad media is one kind, but not the only kind. Some is internal. Some is homophobic. Some is happening right now with this screwy year. There’s even a villain to tell you about.

$10 million worth of trouble

Anthrocon is the 2nd largest furry convention, led by Uncle Kage (Dr. Sam Conway), the longstanding CEO and fandom public relations figure. It was due to bring $9.9 million to Pittsburgh’s economy in 2020. Now it’s among 70 furry cons canceled by COVID-19. The movie is launching anyways on the con’s dates, without opportunities that could have won distribution. (No film fests either.)

Read the rest of this entry »

A furry pilgrimage to the Adult Swim Festival and the Prancing Skiltaire house, Part 3.

by Patch O'Furr

Part 1Part 2Part 3

Here’s Part 3 for yesterday’s article, which asked: If you could do a furry travel tour, where would you go? When I got invited to the Adult Swim Festival in Los Angeles for their second animation/comedy/music event, I added a side trip to the nearby Prancing Skiltaire house. That’s a shrine to cartoon animal art made by the founders of the first furry con, who open it to fans by the hundreds. It was all started by an invite from “Dr. Girlfriend.”

Fan video screening at the Prancing Skiltaire

House resident Changa showed parody videos where he recut Disney’s Zootopia to emulate iconic TV show openings. There’s a channel of them that goes with curating videos for Furry.Today, one of many projects run from the house including The Confurence Archive, InFurNation and the Ursa Major Awards.

What Dr. Girlfriend says about visiting:

Going to the “iconic” furry house was interesting. Rod gave Patch & I the “nickel tour” which was awesome! What stood out to me was the vast collection of animal characters, including: ceramics, plushies, anime, drawings, zines, videos & so much more.

They told me that they have furry parties every month that have gotten to around 300 people! Whoah. Also that the local In-N-Out restaurant banned the furries from congregating there because their patio was so small. Hehe. I know a little about being kicked out of venues (public spaces?) as someone who helps organize Bike Parties, which sometimes get into the thousands of bicycle riders having a dance party on the street.

Anyways, everyone was super friendly and they even had Christmas furry art up (before Thanksgiving, but who’s counting?) These guys are immersed in the culture, and there’s even a documentary coming out about the fur-dorks that I got a mini sneak peak of! Look forward to The Fandom in 2020!

The self-proclaimed “dorks” and originators of some of the first furry cons and Prancing Skiltaire house gave us an interesting and informative look into the heart & love & art that goes into a fandom. Also we got dinner together and it was delicious and full of great conversation and good vibes.

Read the rest of this entry »

A furry pilgrimage to the Adult Swim Festival and the Prancing Skiltaire house, Part 2.

by Patch O'Furr

Part 1Part 2Part 3

Here’s Part 2 of yesterday’s article, which asked: If you could do a furry travel tour, where would you go? It could include conventions, mainstream destinations, and special stops that a non-furry wouldn’t think of. When I got invited to the Adult Swim Festival in Los Angeles for their second animation/comedy/music event, I made it a mainstream AND fandom mini-tour, with a side trip to the nearby Prancing Skiltaire house. That’s a shrine to cartoon animal art made by the founders of the first furry con, who open it to fans by the hundreds. It was all started by an invite from “Dr. Girlfriend.”

Festival review from Dr. Girlfriend:

The Adult Swim Festival in Los Angles was sooo much fun! I went with Patch (who was in fursuit) as Dr. GirlFriend from the Venture Brothers cartoon. I had a blast! He was the only one among thousands of goers who was fully fursuited, in his punk-rat suit, and much to my delight and laughter he got a lot of people asking if he was Chuck-E-Cheese (more like Chuck-E-Cheese’s evil twin).

One thing that stands out in my mind is when we both went to the bathroom, he was taking a whiz and someone told him, while he was in suit, “Nu-uh, we aren’t doing this in here”. Hahaha. Such a stigma with fursuits.

Another person said and pointed, “oh hell no!” , to which I quickly took out my laser gun from my garter belt and blasted him away. Other then those two haters, the festival was SUPER receptive to the giant furry rat. Multiple people came up and said they were furry too! There were even several people who recognized Patch from his blog (jeez, soooo popular… what? ever!) I’m not gonna lie, I spend hours upon hours on my costume and he still got more requests then me for pictures (jealous, not jealous).

The highlight of MY night was when someone had asked me where I bought my hat? Biiiiiitch – I made it!!  And that is one of the things I love about the furry community, that people put so much time and effort into their fursona/costume/cosplay/outfit/whatever you call it, that it is truly a work of art.

I loved dancing to music and getting to see a few of the creators of my favorite animations, like Dethklok/Metalocalypse, the new season premiere of Rick and Morty, and some Squidbillies live in action. Overall, it was a total success and we even got a picture together on the official Adult Swim twitter feed!

Read the rest of this entry »

Rukus movie review

by Patch O'Furr

This unusual movie got 5 support articles before I was ready for a personal review. It’s hard to nail down, so the work got really labored over, but it deserves the effort. – Patch  

Rukus was an artist from Florida who committed suicide in 2008 at age 23. He was a mercurial muse to his friends. Linear storytelling about him could make a sad movie, but Rukus comes from many directions. It overlaps documentary of him, with his boyfriend reflecting on their relationship, and his friendship with film maker Brett Hanover. His enigmatic presence weaves through Hanover’s personal life, which goes from trouble with OCD to finding completion in relationships and art. The life of Rukus becomes points on a trajectory of escape from pain.

The directing style frames lo-fi video with dramatized memories, daydreams and fiction from Rukus. They’re re-enacted by younger and older stand-ins for him, and voiced with animation. It’s one of those arty movies that doesn’t easily boil down to one commercial line, but it’s directed with purpose. When the pieces don’t fit together neatly, the negative space holds a chewy assortment of themes.

There’s repressed abuse, disconnection, and love outside of hetero norms. It touches on conflict with anti-gay religion in the Southern US, but it’s more involved with a setting in furry fandom. Furries have a loveably eccentric subculture of fans for talking-animal media that appears in fantasy art by Rukus, internet role-play, a hotel convention, and a stage play. Those feed the human connections in the movie. You also get to see a costumer called a “whore bear” and a moment of tender toes-in-nose contact that turns into crosswired love.

The movie is outstanding for merging fiction and documentary while drawing from a subculture rarely seen in any feature film. It premiered at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, where furries came for group fursuiting (with full body costumes that make unique “fursonas”). That’s sort of like how Comic Con cosplayers emulate Hollywood superheroes, but those don’t keep their powers when the movie ends.

Rukus casts animal shadows behind misfits who play muses for each other, and delivers bittersweet satisfaction. You can see it now on rukusmovie.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rukus film maker Brett Hanover: “Furry is a collective art project”

by Patch O'Furr

Watch free online! Public release was announced yesterday with links to reviews and more. Now the director tells how it grew.

See Rukus now at www.rukusmovie.com, or NoBudge on October 17th. “A hybrid of documentary and fiction, ‘Rukus’ is a queer coming of age story set in the liminal spaces of furry conventions, southern punk houses, and virtual worlds”. The person named Rukus was a furry artist who committed suicide, but left many memories and mysteries. His friendship with film maker Brett Hanover (bretthanover.com) inspired this movie. Please share it to other fans and indie movie lovers to support it like the way it was made.

Brett Hanover is a filmmaker and youth media educator from Memphis, TN, whose work explores outsider art, mental health, and queer fan communities. His documentaries and collaborative narrative film projects have been exhibited at venues including the SXSW Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and the Cinémathèque Française. Brett received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from the University of Illinois.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rukus movie out now: Furries, memories and mysteries (with a director Q&A).

by Patch O'Furr

Memphis film maker Brett Hanover shares Rukus free to the public. Don’t miss the full interview with him.

8 years in the making, this indie feature film makes an ambitious hybrid of fiction and documentary. It’s out today, October 10th, at Vimeo and www.rukusmovie.com, and then at NoBudge on October 17th. Put on a kigu, bring a friend or a pet, and share it to furry fans and indie movie lovers to support it.

The person named Rukus was a furry artist who committed suicide, but left many memories and mysteries. His friendship with Brett Hanover inspired the movie. This fandom-sourced labor of love has been to film festivals and furry conventions across the USA and Europe. It was selected for South by Southwest (SXSW), where mainstream cinemaphiles praised this unique flight of imagination.

Read the rest of this entry »

How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Fandom is big business in the mainstream – but furries have their own place apart. Why does this fandom grow independently? Let’s look at unique expression at the heart of it. Of course furries do a lot more things than this story can look at, but one aspect brings insight about decentralized structure.

Some subcultures rise and fall with media they consume. But the influences seen in Part 1 didn’t make one property in common for every furry. They didn’t rise with a movie like Zootopia. Instead, this fandom is fans of each other.

Part 1 looked at the roots and growth of their conventions. Furry cons make a platform for the specialized craft of fursuiting, with bespoke, full-body mascot costumes that cost thousands. They’re uniquely original expressions of identity. They’re tangible, huggable products of imagination. They put the fur in furry.

A lot of the fandom’s rock stars are fursuiters, who give it a photogenic face. Unlike stars of other fandoms, their original characters usually aren’t promoting something else — and fursuits can’t be downloaded or easily pirated — they’re for live experiences. It matters because online community can be temporary, but live events glue it together. They can show why this fandom is independent, here to stay, and not tied to certain media.

Rather than naming great works tied to their activity, you could say that the group is its own greatest creation. And if writing, art, or other creativity in the fandom didn’t rise out of a certain type of event, fursuiting did.

Read the rest of this entry »