Sex Worker Movies at ATA: Gifts of Love and Freedom

For the sex workers portrayed in all of these selections of films that are beautiful and brutal by turns, something is always gained, an intangible thing that lasts longer than the material gain we workers seek. Gifts of bitter memory, sweet gifts of vengeance, gifts of devotion after death and gifts of self, regained. Highlights include local filmmaker Matt Reaves, Devil In Plain Site which deconstructs both the crime drama genre and the whore stereotypes; Blossom in Midnight in which the protagonist finds an unlikely salvation; and EKAJ, a must-see, 'best of the fest' drama which uniquely respects folks who survive in the underground, those who are most often vilified.

Simpleton
Aaron Lehmann
This short is from Southampton, New York. Southampton is a playground for the rich, where people like Calvin Klein own vacation houses. This is the story of a local sex worker and how a mentally challenged boy brings her the gift of a found object, a gift which leads her to remember confront an abuser from her past.

Devil in Plain Sight
Matt Reaves
This piece of short fiction, created by a local artist, plays with time and with assumptions and stereotypes (some of which lead to real life oppressive laws!) about the nature of relationships between sex workers and the people in their lives. 
17:30 / 2017 / US

Leaving Charlie
Amanda Brooke Avery
This short explores how personal the decision to stop doing sex work is, how nuanced and complicated. There is hardly any discussion on the part of the main character but it is clear they are at a crossroads, not because of any social or moral or even economic pressures, but because the work starts to take too much... so a boundary has to be drawn. 
16:00 / 2016 / US

Blossom In Midnight
Jing BAI
A woman in struggle’s fate can sometimes lead to magic. Satsuki migrates from her rural home, leaving behind an aged mother and an ailing daughter to seek work in the cruel city of Beijing. Homeless, jobless and on the brink of despair, Satsuki finds an unlikely salvation which leads to a renewed sense of hope and self. 
19:15 / 2015 / China

EKAJ
Cati and Mike Gonzalez 
A love story between two drifters, a naive teenager and a hustler. The film captures a runaway journey to New York City. Ekaj meets Mecca who takes him under his care. Mecca has AIDS and multiple problems of his own. He is high all day but still manages to be the only voice of reason in Ekaj’s hopeless world. Their relationship develops into true friendship and love as they lean on each other for survival. 
1:20 / 2015 / US