Facts & Resources
Meet the Filmmakers
Documentary for Health & Social Justice
"A lot of times people are out there sayin' sex workers are trashy, dirty people, but they need to realize that's somebody's mother or brother, daughter, or sister, you know they are still human beings and a lot of times they're out there for survival." -Film Participant
BE NICE TO SEX WORKERS is a 15 minute documentary about street-based survival sex work in Washington D.C. The film uses an intersectional analysis to show the many barriers sex workers face that affect their abilities to survive and live healthy lives. The women's personal stories are at the center of this analysis as a way to lift up their voices and acknowledge that sex workers are the experts of their own experiences-not the police, government or policy makers.
The film highlights the services that a unique local non-profit, HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive), provides to the sex worker community. HIPS tireless social justice efforts to meet sex workers where they're at and provide a safe, judgment free environment has enabled their clients to empower themselves and make healthy decisions in their own lives and communities.
Use the accompanying Discussion Guide below to engage audience members in meaningful discussion about the issues surrounding survival street-based sex work.
This guide is provided to engage audience members in meaningful discussion about the issues surrounding survival street-based sex work.
- Drug Use
- Harm Reduction
- HIV Prevention
What stood out to you the most in the film and why?Think about how sex workers, HIV, and crack use are generally portrayed in the media.
- How do you think the media's portrayal affects people's views on sex work?
- How has this film provided a different perspective?
- How do you think media influence policies and the political attitudes surrounding se work and what should be done?
What are examples from the film of the social conditions that constrain these women's choices and affect their ability to survive?
Women of color represent less than half of the sex worker population, but they comprise 85% of women incarcerated for prostitution.
- Why do you think that is?
- What societal factors are at play?
In the opening Cheryl states, "I could come up here, wash up, change my clothes, and go back and do the same thing again ... ."
- How does this relate to a harm reduction philosophy?
- Can you describe the harm reduction model?
- How has this model built trust and relationships between HIPS and their clients?
- How do you feel about this statement?
- Is comprehensive sex education a possible solution to the prevention of HIV/AIDS?
Harm Reduction Coalition: Promoting Health and Dignity of those Impacted by
Prostitutes Education Network
Sex Workers and Civil Rights by K. Lydersen, AlterNet. Posted July 18, 2003.
The Sex Worker's Project: A Project of The Urban Justice Center
National AIDS Fund
- The Well Project www.thewellproject.org
- HIV InSite http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu
- The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource www.thebody.com
BE NICE TO SEX WORKERS: Meet the Filmmakers
Weston Green, Francis Mead & Lindsey R. Waters
Filmmaker Weston Green explores his passion for social issues in his first documentary, Be Nice To Sex Workers. The Salinas, California native emerged on the scene in 2002 with hisaward winning and critically acclaimed debut films about Monterey Bayfolklore. In what would become known as "The Mania Trilogy," Westonexplored the nuances of being a teenager in suburban America at thebeginning of the new millennium. A San Francisco State Universitygraduate with a degree in Cinema Production and Marketing, Weston doesnot aspire to become the next Steven Spielberg, but the first WestonGreen. firstname.lastname@example.org
Francisis a firm believer in the use of artistic expression to fight forsocial justice. As an artist and activist she has been organizing womenand youth of color in her community for over five years. In her nativehome of Sacramento she has worked with other women and organizationsaround issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, breast cancerawareness, and reproductive rights. Since moving to San Francisco shehas become involved in anti-prison work and advocating for domesticviolence victims as a crisis counselor. Her studies in film productionand Women Studies has inspired her to use cinema as a tool for thepeople to create social change. When she is not involved in dismantlingracist, sexist, and classist structures she enjoys Indian food, goodhip hop records and anything by Alice Walker. Lunasol63@yahoo.com
LINDSEY R WATERS
Lindseyhas worked directly with producers on the post-production/distributionstage of several Bay Area documentaries including the ITVS-funded Goingon 13, The Tribe, and Meditate and Destroy. She is currently inpost-production on her documentary directorial debut, Take My Picture, about the Bay Area punk rock photographer Larry Wolfley. She is also Assistant Director on The Last Days of Beijing's Hutongs,a documentary about modernization in Beijing for the Olympics. Hermission is to incorporate various mediums such as documentary film,installation art, and new technologies to provide opportunities for thevoices of people that often go unheard in society. By producing workby and about women, youth, communities of color, and under-representedstories, she strives to inspire and foster social change.Lindsey@ojoflojo.com
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