Local director is bound to hit it big with ‘Mondo Bondo’

Tony Cane-Honeysett
Vox Box Productions
Tony Cane-Honeysett

Only one double entendre — I promise — in this piece about Tony Cane-Honeysett’s documentary study of consensual bondage, “Mondo Bondo.”

The director, screening his film at St. Anthony Main on Thursday night (June 5), is excited to have — da-dum — a captive audience!

“You work in a vacuum when you make a film,” says Cane-Honeysett by phone from his home in Minneapolis. “In the editing room, you can’t know for sure whether you’ve made something meaningful or just a load of drivel. You have to see it with a crowd.”

Newly transplanted to Minneapolis after a dozen or so years in Nashville, the London-born and -raised director has already been pleased with the response to “Mondo Bondo” as given by viewers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, whose sold-out screening in April led “Fearless Filmmakers” curator Bobby Marsden to heed popular demand.

Which means that you asked for “Mondo Bondo.” So you’d better like it. And if you don’t, you may be punished. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

He’s a good lad

But not by Cane-Honeysett, who, from the sounds of it, is a very good boy — winner of two regional Emmy Awards for the tender documentary he made about his amateur painter mum, “The Royal Academy,” and so loving of his wife that he followed her from Nashville to Minneapolis, despite the latter city’s “hellacious” weather, when she got a job at the Home Shopping Network.

In “Mondo Bondo,” scenes of the polite Brit cavorting amongst various leather whippers and the like inevitably recalls Englishman doc-maker Nick Broomfield’s “Fetishes,” although Cane-Honeysett’s film does hit — or whip, if you will — some unique points of its own.

Among these is the idea that, as the director says, “cancer is the greatest bondage of all.” This lesson is revealed after one of the subjects, bondage photographer Craig Morey, is diagnosed with throat cancer and undergoes radiation and chemotherapy.

The director shot the Morey scenes in San Francisco, and others in Minneapolis (woo-hoo!), south Florida (where HBO showed interest in picking up the film for broadcast), and Nashville, where Cane-Honeysett, who’s also a Country-Western singer, believe it or not, was nearly signed to a major label.

“The deal went south,” he says of the experience that forced him back into the advertising field. “The whole music thing down there [in Nashville] is very political, very dodgy.”

Political and dodgy? Compared to bondage?

“A lot of people I’ve met in the bondage community are very competitive with one another,” he says. “‘I can tie knots better than you,’ that kind of thing. And the submissive wear their scars with pride, bragging that they can take more pain than anyone.”

The obvious question: Did he ever get into the pain, for pleasure or otherwise?

“Bondage is weird, kinky stuff,” he says. “It’s interesting — and some of it can be quite sexy — but I never understood why anyone would enjoy it, so, personally, I wasn’t into it. However, I was fascinated by the exercise from a filmmaking perspective. How do you make a film about bondage that isn’t like one big, long porno movie?”

Alas, there’s quite a lot in “Mondo Bondo” that I can’t begin to explain here or even describe.

But, as the director says, “you don’t have to be a kinky person to appreciate the film.”

If that’s true, did his dear old Mum see it? What did she say?

“She said there were too many bosoms in it.”

Tickets for the “Mondo Bondo” screening, introduced by director Tony Cane-Honeysett, can be ordered online. The film will be followed by a “private bondage-themed party,” complete with costume contest, held at a “secret location to be revealed at the screening.” For more info, visit FearlessFilmmakers.com.

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