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American Courtesans (2013)

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American Courtesans is a feature documentary that takes you into the lives of American sex workers.

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Stephen Ardain ...
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Karen M. Barnes ...
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Gary Callais ...
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Allan Campo ...
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Tiffany M. DeLaRaga ...
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Herself (as Gina De Palma)
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Helen Ewing ...
Hippie Chick (as Helen M. Ewing)
Jimmie Hildreth ...
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Storyline

American Courtesans is a feature documentary that takes you into the lives of American sex workers. These women discuss with you candidly what brought them to the doors of the sex trade, what they found when they got there, and why they stayed. Follow eleven sex workers through the streets, massage parlors, brothels, and strip clubs to the high rises in New York and the bell captains in Las Vegas. This is a story, a different kind of American story that will leave you speechless. Written by Kristen DiAngelo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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American Courtesans - A Different type of American Story See more »

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Release Date:

12 July 2013 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The women interviewed for the documentary American Courtesans were sex workers, the majority of whom are still working in the adult industry. Each one was different, yet all had a common thread of working in an industry that outsiders aren't privy to. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant and Unforgettable!
11 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have watched quite a few documentaries about sex work and sex workers. But this film is truly different and original. It is definitely one of the best ever produced. I was privileged to view it at the Desiree Alliance Sex Worker Rights Conference. I truly believe that the fact that a former sex industry worker produced the film is quite significant. She was able to gain trust from her interviewee subjects in a genuine manner. Several she already had long term relationships with, and this friendship helped allowed her subjects to feel safe. Too many documentaries on this subject, even if well intentioned, come off as sensationalistic and objectifying. They are almost always made by non-sex workers who often have a concealed political agenda. Here, the producer and interviewer comes of as a peer or a sister, and the tone this creates in the film is both intimate and refreshing. Sex workers need to be humanized in this culture. They need to be seen as our sisters, our neighbors, our co-workers and our fellow parishioners. This film succeeds to humanize all of its subjects and let their complex stories unfold in their own time and their own way. It neither demonizes the complex subject of sex work, nor does it romanticize it. it shows it in all its messy and complicated diversity, and this is such a feat for the realm of representation and documentary film. The film does demonstrate, at least to me, that all sex work needs to be decriminalized. The criminalization of sex work is wrong on all levels and needs to be changed. While not overtly political, the film sets the stage for sex worker rights because it humanizes sex workers and helps the viewer to identify with these women and their complex and difficult life circumstances. As a teacher I want to say how useful and transformative this film would be for many disciplines, including Sociology, Social Work, Women's and Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, Cultural Studies and more. Whoever you are, view this film and transform and challenge your own thinking on this topic. And learn so much about humanity, resilience and strength from the stories of these women who are coming to voice, emerging from the shadows, and daring to fight for positive social change.


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