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Two shorts programs and a panel, curated by Audacia Ray and Sarah Jenny Bleviss in collaboration with Lila Dobbs and UnionDocs.
PROGRAM 1: 6:00 – 7.30 pm
You Must Know About Me by HOPS and WITNESS. Macedonia, 2009 (18 mins) DVD
“You Must Know About Me” features interviews with sex workers from Skopje, focusing on 3 main themes: Their family lives, the conditions they work under, especially the violence and discrimination they face from police officials as well as some clients, and lastly, the ramifications of a big raid that happened in November 2008. Several sex workers were arbitrarily arrested, held in detention overnight, forcibly tested for STDs and, to add insult to injury, unwillingly featured in national media that had been tipped off, and was waiting as they exited the clinic.
The Line by Nancy Schwartzman. USA, 2009 (30 mins) DVD
A one night stand far from home goes terribly wrong. As the filmmaker unravels her experience, she decides to confront her attacker. Told through a “sex-positive” lens, THE LINE is a 24 minute documentary about a young woman – the filmmaker- who is raped, but her story isn’t cut and dry. Not a “perfect victim,” the filmmaker confronts her attacker, recording the conversation with a hidden camera. Sex workers, survivors and activists discuss justice, accountability and today’s “rape culture.” The film asks the question: where is the line defining consent? THE LINE was completed in July 2009.
Workin Girl Blues by Damien Luxe. USA, 2009 (4 mins) DVD
An experimental video considering the pluses and minuses of some jobs + a blues song.
VAMP: Sex Work Organizing in India by Audacia Ray & VAMP (with support of the International Women’s Health Coalition). USA & India, 2009. (10 mins) Mini DV
The Sangli district in the rural south of India has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the country. This health issue has become the crux of a powerful sex workers movement that has risen up over the past twelve years, in which sex workers have become agitators for change in health systems and policy that affects them on the local, national, and international levels. VAMP, the sex work organizing project of the non-profit SANGRAM
In Our Own Image by Mandona Productions. USA, 2009 (19 mins) DVD
What happens when sex workers become not just the subjects of media gaze, but reporters and publishers of sex trade news? This documentary short looks at $pread Magazine, an example of sex worker-made media, and discusses its aim to change the way media itself approaches sex work.
PANEL: 7:30 – 8:15pm
Moving Image to Movement: Video as an Advocacy Tool
The widespread availability of the camcorder has morphed into the explosion of digital documentation via cell phones, flip cameras, and other devices. The much trumpeted “democratization of media” has about video as an advocacy tool for sex workers and others working for sexual rights and justice. They will discuss The panelists, who are media makers, activists, and advocates, will discuss their successes and challenges in building advocacy campaigns based around video and other multimedia.
Audacia Ray is a media maker and activist who is passionate about sexual rights. Audacia is the Program Officer for Online Communications and Campaigns at the International Women’s Health Coalition, an adjunct professor of Human Sexuality at Rutgers University, and the co-host of the monthly reading series Sex Worker Literati in New York. She is the author of Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads, and Cashing In on Internet Sexploration. Audacia is a former sex worker who was an executive editor at $pread magazine for three years and is a co-founder of advocacy organization Sex Work Awareness.
Violeta Krasnic is a human rights advocate, trainer for NGO management, and video producer. She is the Program Coordinator at WITNESS, an international human rights organization which uses video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations and empowers people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, public engagement, and policy change. Videos she has produced have been screened at the US Congress, State Department, Council of Europe, United Nations, and at advocacy events worldwide. Most recently, she collaborated with Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS) in Macedonia to help produce video “You Must Know About Me,” calling for adequate investigation and prosecution of violence against sex workers committed by the police officers and third parties.
Nancy Schwartzman is a filmmaker and activist working for over thirteen years to create community solutions to combat sexual violence and promote public debate. Her documentary film THE LINE is a personal journey that explores consent with a daring stylistic approach. Prior to her directorial debut, she produced the award-winning short film OCEAN AVENUE. Nancy is the founder of NYC-Safestreets.org an online initiative noted by The New York Times, Gawker and The Daily News to engage community organizations and businesses to create safer routes for pedestrians, especially women. From 2002- 2005 she was a founding editor and Creative Director of HEEB Magazine. For six years Nancy was the Program Officer at the Fund for Jewish Documentary Film. Learn more at http://whereisyourline.org
Damien Luxe is a multimedia artist, activist and performer from Brooklyn. She was involved in $pread Magazine from 2006 until 2009, taught media production workshops at the Desiree Alliance Conference 2007 and 2008, and performed in the SF Sex Worker Film and Art Festival in 2007. more at: axondluxe.com
Program 2: 8:30 – 10:00 pm
Tenofovir Trial in Cambodia by Women’s Network for Unity. Cambodia, 2008 (13 mins) Web
The inside story of Cambodian Sex Workers struggle around a trial for testing Tenofovir’s potential for HIV prevention.
Sex Workers (And Proud Of It) by Jean-Michel Carré. France, 2009 (85 mins) DVD
In France since 2003, Nicolas Sarkozy has been in charge of national security. Meanwhile, women and men are fighting for the rights to rent freely their body in a political context where the market economy allows through the lens of sexual liberation and with hopes for legalization of commercial intimacy. Stigmatized by moral judgements questioning the relationships of men/women, sexuality and its power, subjects discuss their work and its meaning. * We will be showing a short selection from this work.
Prostitution Free Zone directed by PJ Starr; Alliance for Safe and Diverse DC. USA, 2009 (13 mins) DVD
Constitutional right to freedom of assembly? Not in DC, honey! This film takes a sobering look at how, during attempts to gentrify inner-city areas of our nation’s capital, “Prostitution Free Zones” are being used to move targeted people out of the neighborhoods where they have traditionally congregated. Also featuring a “dramatic reenactment” of a prostitution free zone by Takia Cash, Sugaa Delite and other well-known indie film icons from the District.
Happy Endings? by Tara Hurley. USA, 2009 (90 mins) DVD
An intriguing exploration of the Asian massage parlor industry in Providence, RI, where a 25 year-old loophole has made the exchange of sex for money legal — as long as it happens behind closed doors. As the documentary follows a recent Korean immigrant, “Heather”, working to operate her spa, the city’s mayor fights to change the law that allows her business a legal existence.The film includes interviews with Korean women who work in spas, clients who frequent the spas, politicians from 1980 and today, police, local news footage, radio call-in shows and “voiced” reviews from internet escort review boards. * We will be showing a short selection from this work.
Sex Worker Open University by Ellie Gurney. UK, 2009 (7 mins) DVD
Sex workers are routinely portrayed in the media as victims. At London’s first ever Sex Worker Open University over two hundred sex workers, sex workers’ rights activists, and allies from the UK and abroad took part in workshops, discussions, actions and art exhibits. Documenting these events, this film presents an alternative and empowered image of the sex worker.
69 things i love about sex work by Isabel Hosti. Canada, 2007 (6 mins) DVD
A list of 69 things i love about sex work–a list that helps to keep me happy and healthy. This is my list based on my specific experiences in the sex industry. There are many other sex workers worldwide with many things to share–with lists of their own. Search them out.