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London’s Sex Worker Film Festival

Posted on Oct 18, 2013 by in Dirty Little Whispers, In The Media, London Town, Sex and Relationship | 0 comments

London’s Sex Worker Film Festival  is held on 20th October at Rio Cinema in East London 1.15pm – 5.30pm, featuring short films and documentaries by and about sex workers and their fight for their human and labour rights.

‘Because Sex workers shouldn’t be dead to be on film’

“Organised by the Sex Worker Open University – a collective of sex workers and allies – this is the second edition of the biannual Sex Worker Film Festival.


Since the first Sex Worker Film Festival was first held in London in 2011, there have been significant and multiple developments in the ongoing effort to mobilise sex workers and fight their ongoing persecution and marginalisation.

Concurrently, 2011-2013 have also been marred by reports of extreme violence against sex workers and fresh attempts to further criminalise and stigmatise them.

The London Sex Worker Film Festival, 2013 features current films addressing these processes and experiences: From the dramatised testimonials of migrants in London’s sex industry to the subversive international sex workers conference Kalkata, from a satirical commentary on the “rescue raids” in Thailand , to the inspiring  parliamentary election campaign of a Brazilian sex worker”s rights activist.

The London Sex Worker Film Festival 2013, brings together ethically produced, original and provocative documentaries and films from the UK, Asia, Latin America, and continental Europe, exploring the diversity and contradictions of the sex industry and aiming to empower sex workers and fight stigma through exploration of the complex realities of sex work and the lives of sex workers.

The program also features performance by sex workers and allies, and a discussion with sex workers rights activists and film makers.”

The programme includes:

The Honeybringer

(UK 2012) dir. Clare Havell & Vincent Lee 32m

 While UN policy makers and politicians meet in Washington for the AIDS conference, sex workers gather in Kolkata India for an alternative summit, the Sex Worker Freedom Festival. Denied entry to the conference in the USA, sex workers from Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe to reveal what lies behind the stigmatisation and oppressions of sex workers send a clear message; it is not victimhood, but power that speaks.

Last Rescue In Siam

(Thailand 2012) dir. Empower Foundation. 15m.

This short film made by sex workers as a part of empower report Hit & Run exposing the impact of law and law enforcement, raids and rescues used against sex workers in Thailand and around the world.


(UK, 2012) dir. Nic Mai 48m.

A doco-drama constructed of combined interviews with four young migrants. The four characters, impersonated by actors, explain how they came to see their involvement in the sex industry as NORMAL and how their notion of normality evolved with their life experiences. At the same time, their life trajectories do not conform to the victim/villain stereotypical opposition which dominates current debates about sex work.

Sex Workers Rights: A Public Service Announcement

(US, 2010) dir. FIRST Coalition 1.49m.

 Sex workers face extreme levels of stigma and social exclusion, often fearful of the social consequences of speaking openly about their work. When they do, they risk being stereotyped, with few people looking beyond the label of “sex worker” to see the unique lives each person leads.

This video is an attempt by this experiential community to highlight the strength and diversity of those who are currently or have been engaged in sex work.

 A Kiss For Gabriella

(Brazil, 2010) dir. Laura Murray 29m.

 Gabriela Leite is the first sex worker to run for Brazilian Congress. “A Kiss for Gabriela” tells the story of her 2010 campaign as she faces 822 opponents and challenges a male dominated political system to see if a sex worker, activist, wife, mother, and cultural icon since founding the clothing line, Daspu, can beat the odds and win the election.

 Putes En Lutte (Whores Fight Back)

(FR 2013) dir. STRASS and SWOU collectives 22 m.

 A short film documenting the 2012 Annual Sex Worker Meeting in France (Assises de la Prostitution), and the following demonstration.


Key event details:
• Event title:  London’s Sex Worker Film Festival 2013

• Organisers:  Sex Worker Open University

• Date: Sunday 20 October

• Time: 1.15pm – 5.30pm

• Venue: Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2PB

• Tickets: £10 /£8 concessions



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