The 9th Biennial
San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival sponsored
by Desiree Alliance, ISWFACE, BAYSWAN and SWOP-USA/SWOP
Festival Director: Erica Elena; Producers: Erica Elena, Carol
Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot & Laure McElroy; Film Curator:
Laure Mc Elroy; Performance Curators: Sangria Red & Mariko
Institute of Sexworkology Faculty: Donia Christine (Dean of
Economic Empowerment) and The Incredible Edible Akynos
FRANCISCO BAY AREA SEX WORKERS FILM AND ARTS FESTIVAL
Event Summary: The San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film &
Arts Festival has provided a forum for sex worker film and video
makers since 1999. The Festival has since expanded to become
a vibrant venue for performances, workshops, visual arts, political
organizing, skills sharing and ever expanding events for sex
workers from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and from around
the world. The Sex Worker Festival recognizes and honors prostitutes,
dancers, porn performers and other sex workers from diverse
communities, who have been dynamic and integral members of arts
communities since time immemorial.
Producers- Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot, Erica Elena, Laure
McElroy; Festival Director: Erica Elena; Film Curator Laure
McElroy; Performance Curator 2015: Sangria Red
Telephone: (415) 857-5425
Dates: May 15-24, 2015
Location: Multiple venues: Omni Commmons, Oakland; Whores Bath
at Jack London Square/Oakland; LaPena, Berkeley; Center for
Sex & Culture; Roxie Cinema, San Francisco and more.
Release and Materials-2015
Photos, Movie Stills and Illustrations: sexworkerfest.com/swfest2015/allphotos.html
San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film & Arts Festival has
provided a forum for sex worker film and video makers since
1999. The Festival has since expanded to become a vibrant venue
for performances, workshops, visual arts, political organizing,
skills sharing and ever expanding events for sex workers from
San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and from around the world.
The Sex Worker Festival recognizes and honors prostitutes, dancers,
porn performers and other sex workers from diverse communities,
who have been dynamic and integral members of arts communities
since time immemorial.
Festival Founder, Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot says, "Sex
workers are privy to parts of life that are usually kept secret.
This gives us an excellent vantage point from which to view
hypocrisy, from the lawmakers who use our services, then sponsor
policies which further criminalize us, to the wanna-be saviors
who claim to 'rescue' us but only increase our vulnerability.
This whores-eye-view of society is reflected in this body of
work by sex workers."
The 2015 Festival features long running events including ‘The
Institute of Sexworkology’ (formerly known as Whore
College) and ‘The Shannon Williams Whores Bath’
in Oakland, our magical healing spa dedicated to Shannon Williams,
one of our leaders who died in January.
Performing events include local and international artists. This
year Gina Gold kicks off the Festival with ‘Sex Worker
Diaries,’ at La Pena in Berkeley in conjunction with her
ongoing series, TMI Storytelling. The Festival introduces famed
Australian ‘Debbys’ (debbydoesntdoitforfree.org)
performer, Queenie Bon Bon, in her solo performance, Deeply
This year we are happy to offer a Free Solo Performance Workshop
series for sex workers by Sangria Red. Sangria Red a performer,
writer and teacher, sharing the principles of her own unique
form of performance, based on the techniques of musical improvisation.
She has been on the faculty of several local colleges and her
combination of both theatrical and life experience offers a
unique learning opportunity. The workshop culminates in ‘Sex
Worker Soliloquies,’ an ensemble work based on solo performances.
Ensemble artists include: Mariko Passion, returning to the Festival
with classic performance art. The Incredible Edible Akynos is
back by popular demand, along with a Festival favorite, storyteller
and burlesque and performance artist Cinnamon Maxxine.
activist and well-known Oakland producer/musician, Juba Kalamka
hosts the $pread Book Launch Superparty with music by Vixen
Noir (releasing her new CD, Dangerous). Anthology readers include
Scarlot Harlot, Fabulous, and special guest, Professor Mireille
Miller-Young, who launches her new book, "A Taste For Brown
Sugar: Black Women in Pornography." Spoken word artists
also include Catherine Plato, Tucson's Kym Cutter and Mack Friedman.
Community events include Sex WorkTrafficking,
a community discussion and screening at Omni Commons in Oakland
about the increasing scapegoating of sex workers, youth, migrants,
people of color and other communities under the guise of anti-trafficking.
SWAG (Sex Workers Action Group) joins the Festival this year
to present 'Human & Here: A Community Event Against Violence'
mobilizing resistance and addressing conditions surrounding
violence against sex workers and transgender women of color
from evictions to profiling to physical attacks and murder and
more. ‘The Shannon Williams Whores Bath and Clothing Swap’
in Oakland features healing treatments, a hot tub and workshops
for sex workers. Dedicated to Shannon Williams, who shared her
services at this event, we remember her generosity, sense of
humor in the face of adversity, her smart, dedicated leadership
and we miss her so much.
Almost all events from May 15-24 are open to the public! Others,
the Solo Performance Workshop, the Institute for SexWorkology
and the Whores Bath are for current and former sex workers.
The Festival has screened nearly 300 movies since 1999. Movies
play throughout the week at various venues including a marathon
sex worker screening, day and night at the Roxie Theater on
Saturday May 23rd. Through the movies submitted, workshops offered
and performance work, Festival organizers observe the changes
in sex worker cultures over the decades.
Most striking, 2015 brings a new emphasis of focus to sex workers'
families and communities, particularly in work from India with
voices of the children of sex workers in ‘We Are Foot
Soldiers’ from friends at Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee.
'Born into Porn' from the US features Nina Hartley, and Peru’s
‘I am a Sex Worker’ from the cultural activist group,
CiudadaniasX, are also programmed as Part of ‘I Heart
A Sex Worker’ sponsored by SWOP Bay Area at the Roxie.
Videos from around the world portray fierce sex worker activists
as the movement expands in South Africa through the work of
SWEAT and Sisonke in ‘Sisonke marches against police brutality.’
SANGRAMS's 'Save Us From Saviours' exemplifies the nuances in
the growing understanding of sex worker rights as human rights:
"Sex work and the sex industry are complex. Issues such
as family and social-economic background, caste and religious
segregations, sexual identities, and marital status all effect
the way that it is experienced... For sex workers to access
and enjoy their rights, misgivings and certain stereotypes about
sex work need to be broken down… While they certainly
face discrimination and hardship, people in sex work do not
need pity. Rather, they need the rest of society to recognise
and fight against its own misconceptions, judgments and unfounded
Us from the Saviours
Remedy is a ground breaking narrative based on the experience
of the director, Cheyenne Picardo. A hybrid of creative biography
and narrative fiction, Remedy is based on Picardo’s experiences
working as a pro-switch. The film explores the good, the bad,
the offensive, the cruel, the hysterical, and the plain weird
aspects of the commercial BDSM world without passing judgment.
“It's good to see a reality based depiction of the journey
from dilettante to prodomme because all too often in mainstream
media we are presented with the cliche about the sex worker
who is produced by traumatic life events, by abuse and desperation,
as the one and only norm,” says Festival curator Laure
This year the Festival sponsors the 'Filmmakers Forum' an informal
screening and discussion where filmmakers and the audience have
a chance to examine trends in sex worker cinema. In 2015, the
audience can contribute to the development of an important work-in-progress
'The Making of the Marica Powell Story by PJ Starr,' which documents
a campaign for justice in the case of the the murder of Marcia
Powell at the hands of the Arizona Department of Corrections
where Marcia was incarcerated on solicitation charges, then
locked in a metal cage in 107 degree heat.
about the Festival
are anti race, class, gender, age, ability, size and sexual
identity oppression. We strive to increase the involvement of
politically underrepresented sex worker communities such as
trans folk, workers of color, street-based workers, and workers
who transcend the racist, sexist, heterosexist, white-supremacist
norms and standards of mainstream beauty.
We push the margins of the movement into the center, working
to shift paradigms in joint struggle, we strive to cultivate
leadership of sex workers that are marginalized within the sex
workers movements. We highlight the artistic endeavors of workers
in all aspects of the sex industry because whore culture is
real, present and on a corner, in a bar, in a hotel or in a
bedroom community near YOU.
The San Francisco
Bay Area Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival focuses on Bay Area
Sex workers and their communities, as well as artists and producers
from the Bay Area.
Director and Producers
2015 Festival producers include Erica Elena (Director), Laure
McElroy (Curator/Producer) and Carol Leigh (Founder). Event
producers include Sangria Red, Kalash Ka, Mariko Passion, SWAG,
Donia Christine and The Incredible Edible Akynos.
In order to raise funds, the festival looks toward our own San
Francisco Based sex positive crown funding platform,
Funds from our campaign go to provide stipends for artists,
and scholarships for attendees. Visit
our campaign at Tilt! For info, locations & more: firstname.lastname@example.org
(415) 857-5425. Visit our schedule and our website for all the
Sex Worker Festival is proud to include sponsors: the
East Bay Express; the San Francisco Bay Times (www.sfbaytimes.com);
the National Queer Arts Festival (www.queerculturalcenter.org),
the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival; the Center
for Sex & Culture (www.sexandculture.org); Rainbow
Grocery Cooperative (rainbow.coop); Media Alliance (www.media-alliance.org);
Sex Worker Media Library (www.sexworkermedialibrary.org);
International Sex Worker Foundation for Art Culture
and Education (www.iswface.org), Sex Worker Outreach
Project (swopbay.org); Desiree Alliance (desireealliance.org);
the St. James Infirmary (stjamesinfirmary.or); the Sisters
of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc.(http://www.thesisters.org)
and more. Community business sponsors including Rentboy
(rentboy.com), Slixa (slixa.com), Cuties Tools (cuties-tools.com),
Good Vibrations (goodvibes.com), Bondassage (Bondassage.com),
Radical Being Bodywork (debmalkin.massagetherapy.com)
and many more coming soon!