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The festival, hosted by the Hong Kong sex worker support group Zi Teng, aims to offer an alternative to the stylized and stereotypical portrayals of prostitutes in mainstream cinema, curator Yau Ching said.
The nine-movie program includes contributions from Canada, the United States, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong. The films are not only about sex workers, but are either made entirely by them or in conjunction with a director.
Yau, who teaches cultural studies at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, said that mainstream filmmakers tend to take a “whore or Madonna” approach to depicting prostitutes, painting them as either victim or predator.
She said she hopes to break such stereotypes by presenting a series of documentaries that address the day-to-day realities of prostitution from the perspective of sex workers.
“Very few films talk about their job specifically or their relationship with society as a sex worker,” she said.
Letting the subjects tell their own stories offers a unique viewpoint, Yau said.
“They (prostitutes) try to support a family, just like other mothers, so their self-perception, the level of self-respect is different,” she said.
Among the offerings is “The Story of the Taipei Prostitutes,” about a campaign to fight a ban on prostitution in Taiwan’s capital. Another short film outlines the “sex worker’s manifesto” drafted at the first National Conference of Sex Workers in Calcutta, India, in 1997.
Two films revolve around pioneer sex worker activist Carol Leigh, who is credited with coining the term “sex worker” and who founded the San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Video Festival.
One obvious gap is the lack of films from mainland China, where unlike in Hong Kong sex work is illegal. Curator Yau said she knows of underground films about sex workers in China but didn’t have the resources to bring them to Hong Kong.
Yau, who volunteered her services to Zi Teng, said the festival was organized on a shoestring budget. Filmmakers donated their movies and a friend offered cheap printing services for publicity materials.
The films will be shown at Zi Teng’s small office space that accommodates about 50 people, located in a run-down pink building that also houses an hourly motel, or “love hotel.”
Another obstacle has been what organizers allege is government harassment.
Zi Teng staff member Elaine Lam said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department called the group Monday ordering them to obtain a license for the film festival, saying the public event turns its offices into an entertainment venue.
Lam suspects bias, characterizing the film festival as a small-scale event that doesn’t justify a strict interpretation of the law. Organizers have sidestepped the legal problem by asking ticket buyers to join Zi Teng, hence making the film festival a private, members-only activity.
“A lot of groups organize film showings. Officials haven’t tried to enforce the law on them,” she said.
Asked for comment Wednesday, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department didn’t respond immediately.
Sex work is not illegal in Hong Kong, but it is against the law to solicit for business, or live off the earnings of prostitution of others.
Knowledge Is Contagious.
NBA’ers Lebron, D Wade, & Carmelo accused of seeing ‘Hong Kong whores’
These guys better hope this story does not spiral out of control.
The NBA is banking on these guys being on their best behavior, cause there are 300 million reasons (fans) David Stern is trying to sell the NBA too.
The guys over at Black Sports Online got the hoe down, I mean low down:
First, let me say this information is coming from the Chinese version of the National Inquiry so take it for what it is worth. Secondly, the best thing about Melo, DWade and The King getting some “Love Me Long Time” affection is that Kobe Bryant wasn’t with them because, if he were, that would have been an international incident. See your BonaFide Sports Expert will travel continents to provide you with stories you just won’t get anywhere else. Now I got this as a tip from a Chinese reader who obviously though I could read Chinese because the story is in Chinese. Thanks to the handy “Google Translator,” I can bring it to you in English. If the USA doesn’t bring home the Gold Medal, we can all blame the Chinese prostitutes.
English translation (it maybe a little off, but you will get the idea):
Dora Macao special correspondent reported eight dream of a certain superstar does not understand the powerful Hong Kong paparazzi, Wednesday morning when James, Wade and Anthony out of their castle – the Venetian hotel, they have been falling into the paparazzi Qi (paparazzi) lens. Hong Kong-based newspaper the full record of three star Macao night process.
U.S. team arrived in Macao Monday from Las Vegas, the entertainment paradise from the United States flew to Asia’s entertainment paradise, but on arrival the same day, has been in the Venetian hotel in the gold Arts Museum in training, Tuesday and Wednesday this Two days are also arranged a three-hour daily training. Venetian castle-like hotel, allowing eight dream of all concerned to avoid the star, completed the training to live and fresh line: Arena is closed, the resident is relatively closed. But after two days of nausea, who finally could not help Taiwan to meet out of the sky.
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