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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson
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
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
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)
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
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!
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
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
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 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,
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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."