Sex Worker Sinema at The Roxie

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2PM White Knights and Rescue Rebels

An impressive array of professionals and organizations in Thai society feel we sex workers should be rescued from our work... but has anyone bothered to ask us? And who rescues sex workers (and those who rely on us as providers) from privation, when an economy immersed in neocolonialist capitalism cannot ensure we will be able to make our living? The following selections are each controversial in their own way.

Last Rescue in Siam by EMPower
10 min.-2012, Thailand
Siamese keystone cops, along with the Social Worker and the NGO characters, ignore major larceny, murderous stickfighters, and near dead moped crash accident victims, in order to rush to a bar and arrest, ah, rescue, sex workers there.

Ticket to Paradise
Director Janus Metz; Screenplay Sine Plambech
58 min.- 2008, Denmark
In a small village in the north east of Thailand there are two kinds of families. Those who have a daughter married to a Northern European man, and those who don't. .. In Ticket to Paradise, sex work encompasses not only bar work in so called "sex cities", but also marriage, as Thai women are faced with complicated choices in their struggles to provide for their families.

3:30 PM Whore Salvation, Australia: Healing Hearts, Freeing Minds

What better business, to put one's body to work freeing the minds and healing the hearts of others? Many Australian sex workers are able to do business in a more supportive societal climate, as many Australian communities support legal prostitution and thus lean further toward recognizing the value of sex work. This selection of Australian films highlight sex workers as intellectually transgressive artists, radical activists, and a singular force for healing in the lives of the friends, clients, organizations and families they touch.

Christian Vega
3:40 min.-2012, Australia
Featuring the performance art juxtaposed with the political-spiritual musings of multi-disciplinary sex worker and former San Franciscan, Nada Feleni as she takes aim at radical feminist-western colonialist-christian fundamentalism while cycling through a montage of her intense and balanced postures.

Decriminalise Sex Work
Sex Workers in Australia
11:49 min-2013, Australia
This community training project documents the efforts of Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) as they organize sex workers from all over the country. This video, which is part of a campaign to maintain decriminalization, challenges stereotypes and highlights the slogans and chants that inspire our movement: "No bad whores. Just bad laws!" "Police are inappropriate regulators of the sex industry," and Scarlot Harlot's own "Grab your make up. Fix your Hair. Prostitutes are everywhere!"

Scarlet Road
Catherine Scott
70 min.-2011, Australia
Scarlet Road follows the extraordinary work of Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton. Wotton specializes in a long overlooked clientele, people with disability, and is a passionate advocate for the rights of sex workers to practice their trade and for freedom of sexual expression for everyone.

5PM Trans*Continental: Radical Trans Women from Coast to Coast

TRANS*gressive: TRANS*cendant: when love is coupled with resistance, the heart of the activist becomes a weapon for liberation. These films that honor the lives of our warriors.

Remember the Living: Monica Forrester on Sisters In Spirit and Indigenous Sex Workers
Maggie's: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
9:46 min.-2012, Toronto
Monica Forrester is a 2 Spirited Trans Woman, a sex worker with 25 years experience and an award winning community leader. In this short DIY documentary film, she shares her reflections on the over 500 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada and the impact of anti-sex work laws and stigma. This film remembers the 2 Spirited and Indigenous women who have died prematurely due to all forms of violence, the work they do and just being Aboriginal. As community members, families and allies, we must work to remember the living as well.

Transsexual Dominatrix
Shawna Virago
3:52 min.-2012, San Francisco
"I do it for the leather, I do it for the power, I do it for the pleasure of $250 an hour." San Francisco rock goddess , Shawna Virago flashes a whole arsenal of toys in this new folk-punk leather anthem. Long time community leader, Virago is Artistic Director of the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival and her own films have screened throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson
Michael Kasino
54 min.-2012, New York
Memorializing the woman who threw "the shot glass that was heard around the world" this tribute to sex worker and LGBT history, focuses on revolutionary trans-activist, Marsha P. Johnson, a Stonewall instigator, Andy Warhol model, drag queen, sex worker, starving actress, and Saint. "Pay It" captures the legendary gay/human rights activist as she recounts her life at the forefront of The Stonewall Riots in the 1960s, the creation of S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with Sylvia Rivera in the '70s.

7 PM Damage Discourse

People constantly talk about whores as damaged by either our work or our past. This "damage discourse" serves to perpetuate the stigmatizing assumption that because of some terrible across-the-board emotional handicaps from which we all suffer, we are unable to make our own choices going forward as to how we want to live our lives and what we wish to do with our bodies. Damage discourse also validates the idea of our victimhood... that we who engage in sex work do not know how and cannot cope with doing anything else, and thus must be rescued and taught to live normal lives by any means. The fact is, we all go through shit. These different films deal with the awkwardness of work life, with ridiculous rescuers, and fantasy forays into what may or may not be a damaged state of mind. Lawyers and doctors can come from abusive families, and we sex workers can flower out of an idyllic home life. For those who have chosen sex work, let us remember: a life mindfully chosen is perhaps more likely to be lived in an empowered way. This is the strength of the conscious whore.

Fragments of Ava
Director, DP: Zara Zandieh
12:24 min.-2012, Germany
Ava gets a surprise visitor at the brothel where she works in this "day in the life" short. Ava subs in for her brothel co worker, accidentally meets her co worker's regular who is also her kindly neighbor; they are both embarrassed then they both get over it.

Creative Trafficking, a short film Operation Snatch created for Les Demimondes
2:36 min.-2012, Canada
MUST SEE expose on creative trafficking in the Greater Toronto. Les Demimondes created this movie in direct response to a news report in Toronto about trafficking.

Stripper Damage
Gina Gold
9 min.-2013, Oakland
Gina Gold's PTSD (post traumatic STRIPPER damage) gives her a helluva sixth sense in this HI-LARIOUS short. Catch more of her brilliant, funny work at The Gina Gold show (theginagoldshow.com)

American Courtesans
Kristen DiAngelo
90 min.-2013, U.S.
"American Courtesans," a feature film that is the culmination of a dream project for filmmaker and escort Kristen DiAngelo, watches like a love and acceptance letter from a sex worker to her sisterhood of fellow whores.
The stories of the women featured in "American Courtesans" begin at the beginning, where many of the women featured relate a past of family or professional victimization, and pull the viewer through the trauma and catharsis stories to bear witness to eventual claiming of spaces of radical empowerment as whores.


9PM By Any Means! Global Sex Worker Rights

We work with flesh and feelings, we work with makeup and sexy lingerie... did anyone know we also work with song and dance? This selection takes us from France to Hungary with singing and movement; workshopping and paneling in London; we take to our feet on the march in Thailand and India; and rock the vote in Brazil... By hook or by crook, we will have our self-determination!

Equal Rights
The INDOORS project
1:29 min.-2012, France
This video was made with and for sex workers in order to make people aware that sex work is work and that sex workers should be entitled to the same rights as other workers. Also, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it!

Tánc az er_szak ellen

(Dance Against Violence)
Szexmunkôsok ærdekvédelmi Egyes lete, 2:47 min.-2013
Accompanying their human rights and sex worker advocacy, Szexmunkôsok ærdekvédelmi Egyes lete make a stand for sex workers in Hungary and everywhere by dancing with the Red Umbrella in this high energy short! "We make more and more pubic art actions. Art is a much better way to clench people minds!"

Sex Worker Open University 2011

Stoo Iresen
14:10 min.-2011, United Kingdom
This slick and crafted documentary about the pioneering London Sex Worker Open University captures the enthusiasm and sparkle, bringing together sex workers and allies from around the world to learn new skills, socialize and empower themselves, whilst exploring the diversity and contradictions of the sex industry.

Global Whores on The March!

Dale Kongmont/Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
14 min.-2012, Thailand and India
During the 2012 XIX International Conference on AIDS, sex workers from around the world were excluded from participation due to a U.S. ban on travel for sex workers. Due to this injustice, the AIDS conference agreed to include an official Conference Hub in India. Sex workers converged in Kolkata with the assistance of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee and the Network of Sex Work Projects. This video showcases the art, activism and scholarship of the sex workers at the Kolkata Freedom Festival.

A Kiss for Gabriela

Laura Murray, Director. 29 min.-2013, Brazil and U.S.
The first sex worker to run for Brazilian Congress, daughter of the counter-culture movements in the 70s, Gabriela Leite left her college studies in sociology to work in prostitution. In this intimate portrait of her 2010 campaign for election, we understand that it is not whether they win or lose, or even how they play. It's that they're in the game at all.

10:30 PM Whore Identities:
The Incredible Self-Defining Harlots!

Hooker, prostitute, gigolo, chippy, rent-boy,
wanton, jezebel... ah, we do so love the old names!
Sex work had never lacked for social stigma. The names pinned on us, like the images and ideas of us in the scholarly and popular media of our capitalist culture, are rarely created by us and our opinions are not sought. But we know who we are, we will TELL YOU who we are: whores of color making our money and flashing our titties in a sea of stereotypes; females-to-males-to-females-to pro/dommes; punk-rock trans*brats; drug addicts who do not deign to repent using OR whoring; workaday prostitutes out there in the lot trying to function under a police state that criminalizes our livelihoods and shames the lives that we have, sometimes out of necessity of poverty and sometimes out of a vocation to provide pleasure (or even healing), chosen.
These final selections offer visions of sex workers representing themselves, speaking their truths rebellious, plaintive, satisfied, btchy or otherwise. We love them for it because with us whores, as with anybody who seeks freedom from stigmatization and oppression, liberation begins with SELF-definition.

Transitioning through Sex Work

Producer/Director: Jay Very; , Editor: Bethany Childs 4 min.-2011, Oakland
Trans-identified performer Jay Very, chronicles his drastic changes in appearance/profession/gender/sex work/BDSM with video diary. Short, sweet and funny, Jay Very's honest to femme-ness account of going F2M2F, and finding the sex work that suits and fulfills Jay the most.

Gordon Bitch
2:51 min.-2011
Gordon Bitch is punk-as-fuck in this scratchy, whiny music video.

Megan Therese Rippey, 5:04 min.-2012, Valencia, California
Project for a course taught by experimental animator Suzan Pitt."Negotiate" is an experimental self-portrait of a feminist sex worker. The asynchronous audio (taken from self-recorded voice memos) and visually striking images create an evocative autobiographical dreamscape.

Whore Logic with The Incredible, Edible, Akynos, PJ Starr, 15 min.-2013
The Incredible Edible Ayknos takes all us bitches to school as she breaks down whoredom, dances for our pleasure, and causes minor traffic accidents on an erotic fresh-air dare. WHORE LOGIC goes behind the scenes as The Incredible, Edible, Akynos develops and premieres a new burlesque show in NYC that plays with audience (mis)understandings of what it takes to be a whore. WHORE LOGIC charts a semi-autobiographical journey of one woman who discovers the joy of using her pussy for power, to pay her rent and to finally understand her sexual objectification.

i like
Director: Doug Upp with Rue Blondelle, Richard Johnson; Music by front business; 2:34 min.-2013, Hawaii
Two and a half minutes of rock smoking cock sucking noise rockin' sex worker mayhem! Doug Upp is the editor of Ho Stage sine, an intermittently published magazine for sex workers. He also produces & hosts "Shaka Talk", a public access chat show out of Honolulu, HI, youtube.com/shakazine

Lot Lizard:A Work-in-Progress
Director and Cinematographer: Alex Perlman
Editor- Director: Mathew Doughterty
Executive Producer: Daniel Marracino
71 min.-2013, United States
Uniquely American setting, truck stops! Gritty, interesting glimpse into the world of truckstop sex work, "Lot Lizard" does not take any easy ways out by simplifying the stories of the featured or making them pithy; and although poverty and even desperation may at times inform their work and their choices, there is in every story a clear element of strength, of will and independence that transcends victimhood. Lot Lizard producers bring this documentary to the Festival for your feedback prior to final production.


Sex Worker Sinema

Laure Mc Elroy curates "Sex Worker Sinema" at
the 8th Biennial San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival

2 PM- Midnight at the Roxie, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco

This location is ADA accessible. Childcare, translation and signing services are available upon request. We also ask you to assist us in making this a scent free environment (see peggymunson.com/mcs/fragrancefree.html ).Email sexworkerfest@gmail.com or call 510-410-4318 to request these or other options. Also see Logistics/Accessibility.


The San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Art Festival, as always, focuses on the lives, the art, and the struggle for workers' and human rights of people employed in sex work industries. The festival strives to maintain a forum for diverse voices, including youth, sex workers of color, migrant sex workers; sex workers' rights organizations around the world, queer and trans sex workers, sex worker artists, saints, heros and she-ros, and sex workers both within and outside the borders of the United States. Films and topics address the impact of trafficking policy and discourse on sex workers; sex work as a labor issue on the international agenda; sex work and gender identities, sex education, sex art, porn, fetish culture and erotica, as well as portraits of strippers, prostitutes, doms, madams and much more.

Lot Lizard

The festival lens has always ranged far and wide around the world; this year two of our dearest feature films draw the viewer back to the gritty strolls of these United States.

Director Alexander Perlman brings us "Lot Lizard" (for those who are unfamiliar with the term, a lot lizard is a prostitute who works primarily at truckstops serving drivers). Inspired by a conversation Perlman had in 2009 with a woman working out of the same truckstop he happened to be hitchhiking, Perlman and his two person crew put together 200 hours of documentary footage over eight weeks of filming in 2010, following a selection of sex workers as they ply their trade in a uniquely American setting, including: Monica and Frank, the boyfriend with whom she shares a room bordering the lot; Jennifer, a single mom who struggles to walk away from sex work as a livelihood because it has become bound up for her with drug addiction; Betty, who says, "I don't have to date if I don't want to… but sometimes you have to," and makes no apologies about her life on the lot. The street workers of "Lot Lizard" are by-and-large working class and poor women who are engaged in what sex worker rights movement terms "survival' sex work, that is, sex work that is performed as a way to meet very basic needs of the worker, such as shelter or food or medicating; these workers, in addition to dealing with the general stigmatization of sex work, are arguably prone to more intense criminalization due to the exposed (outdoors) nature of their work. Along with criminalizing policies, agendas of "rescue" that silence the actual voices of workers trying to communicate their own needs are heavily slanted toward people engaged in survival sex work. "Lot Lizard" does not take any easy ways out by simplifying the stories of the featured or making them pithy; and although poverty and even desperation may at times inform their work and their choices, there is in every story a clear element of strength, of will and independence that transcends victimhood.

American Courtesans

Some people envision catty strippers trash-talking each others' weight and ratting out co-workers to management for crimes imagined or real for the prime stage time or just for bitchy kicks; mainstream media throws up stereotypes of hookers pulling out each others' weaves over status in the eyes of a pimp or "dibs" on a john; what people do not see is the great affection and support that can exist between workers in this oldest and arguably hardest of professions. "American Courtesans", a feature film that is the culmination of a dream project for filmmaker and escort Kristen DiAngelo, watches like a love and acceptance letter from a sex worker to her sisterhood of fellow whores. In line with a trend in sex worker cinema that festival producer Carol Leigh identifies as arising out of the contemporary, ubiquitous genre of intensely personal reality shows, the stories of the women featured in "American Courtesans" begin at the beginning, where many of the women featured relate a past of family or professional victimization, and pull the viewer through the trauma and catharsis stories to bear witness to eventual claiming of spaces of radical empowerment as whores.

"Scarlet Road" documents the specialized practice of Rachel Wotton, as she works with differently abled clients , campaigning for both sex worker rights and to increase awareness and access to sexual expression for people of varying abilities. "Pay it no Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson," memorializes the woman who thew "the shotglass that was heard around the world" in this tribute to sex worker and LGBT history, screening with "Remembering The Living: Monica Forrester on Sister in Spirit and Indigenous Sex Workers." "Ticket to Paradise" portrays the details of women's choices in a small village in Thailand, to marry a foreigner or do sex work in Pattaya.

An array of brilliant shorts include a new video from Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers, "Global Sex Workers on the March!," "A Kiss for Gabriela" by Laura Murray, "Whore Logic" by PJ Starr featuring The Incredible Edible Akynos, "Stripper Damage" by Gina Gold, "Sex Worker Open University 2011," "Transitioning Through Sex Work" by Jay Very, "Nada" by Nada Felini and Christian Vega, "Creative Trafficking" by Operation Snatch and many more.
Festival founder, Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot says, "Sex workers have an excellent vantage point from which to view social hypocrisy, expressed in many contexts--by the lawmakers who use their services, then sponsor policies which further criminalize them, to the wanna-be saviors who claim to 'rescue' but only increase our vulnerability. This whores-eye-view of society is reflected in this body of work by sex workers."