If we could only harness the righteous indignation in and around Hounddog, we could heat our homes for free this winter. “Writer-director Deborah Kampmeier, 42, suffered the thousand indignities shoestring independent features are heir to—and then some,” reported Premiere. Can’t a woman work on a rape movie in peace? She struggled to secure funding, then distribution. Conservative groups responded to Kampmeier’s inflammatory screenplay with incendiary blogs. Men stood up trembling in the name of Dakota; after the Sundance premiere in 2007, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights demanded a federal investigation into Hounddog on the grounds of child abuse. “Next year, look for Sundance to introduce a movie about same-sex incest!” cried Bill Donohue, president of the League.
Meanwhile, Paul Petersen, who founded A Minor Consideration, an advocacy organization for child stars, published “The Rape of Dakota Fanning,” a screed that censured Hollywood for its addiction to child pornography, and tossed Wilmington, North Carolina, the shooting location, under the bus as well. Petersen has some memorable one-liners (“Does paying a child make rape okay?” and the italicized “Does the name Leni Riefenstahl ring a bell?”) but the eloquence award goes to Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission for his piece “Fanning the Flames of Perversion.” Dakota resented the denigration of her talent and professionalism. “It’s called acting,” she quipped.
In fact Kampmeier’s handiwork has more in common with Lifetime movies for television than with child pornography. It’s hard to envision seeing Hounddog in a theater, but one can easily picture it sharing a Tuesday afternoon lineup with Lifetime’s Fifteen and Pregnant, She Fought Alone, and Terror at the Mall… Click here to read all of Leah Churner’s review of Hounddog.