Friday, 15 July 2016
Press Release: charlatan clinic
Up Close & Raw: Whore Films
Charlatan clinic are proudly showcasing the first public screening of Whore Films at Capitol Cinema in Balmoral for two nights only, 20th and 21st July. All six short films: ‘Underage Sex Worker’, ‘Married Woman’, ‘Illegal Migrant’, ‘Rent Boy’, ‘Transgender’ and ‘Refugee run in succession for one hour and delivers a snapshot of each street sex worker based on true life experiences in Karangahape Road, Auckland.
The ‘Whore’ project was initially a theatre work performed nationally throughout 2014. All six monologues were then adapted to screen by Melissa Fergusson and mentored by writer, Donna Banicevich-Gera. Whore Films were produced on lo-to-no budget filmmaking in 2015 and were made for ‘social change’ and to challenge public stigma.
Charlatan clinic is supported by LYC (Love Your Condom), Four Eyes Media NZ, Roccabella Jewellery, Clash Boutique, Paper Bag Princess, Splice & iTICKET.
Tickets available from https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2016/jul/whore-films
Limited Door Sales $15 Student/Equity, $20 Adult
Review – Whore Films
The challenge in scriptwriting is saying as much as possible in the least amount of words and letting the visual images tell the story. Writer/director Melissa Fergusson definitely achieves this goal with her 6 short films: Married Woman, Transgender, Illegal Immigrant, Refugee, Underage, and Rent Boy.
Based on true stories, developed from interviewing sex workers from the streets of Karangahape Road in Auckland, these pieces provide insight into a sombre dark place. Painful episodes from the workers pasts play out with subtle characterization and haunting music in bleak settings. The characters struggles create the drama.
The world of each individual film is disturbing but is successful in taking the audience on a journey into situations of conflict and constant tension. The narratives are jarring because they force us to think outside of the imagination and make us focus on the reality of each workers personal position.
This collection of films raises many issues exposing complex scenarios about sex and relationships. They all work as stand-alone pieces but are also connected thematically. What emerges in my mind is that the films have been made to ‘educate’ and ‘question’ rather than to entertain. The audience is being asked to think.
On that note, you would have to be brain dead not to develop a real sense of empathy for these people. Thought provoking from beginning to end Whore Films equals job well done.
Donna Banicevich Gera
Rebecca (Married Woman, Refugee) from ‘Whore’ is sleeping rough for the first time. She considers herself a bit of a nomad, travelling from country to country, trying to find a place called “home”. Find out why she is going to be a ‘rough sleeper’ on 3 July.
I’m doing the ‘Big Sleep Out’ because it’s important to see and experience what I don’t know. I have no idea how difficult it is for people to deal with this every (single) day. I will hopefully get the smallest taste of what it’s like, for people who do this every night. In the cold, in the wet, when it’s unsafe and you’re terrified about who might want a piece of you. By sleeping rough, I get to experience some part of how that (makes me) feels. That’s what I love about life – being able to relate to and understand people, including homeless people.
After working with Melissa on “pURe” as “Anais” in 2012 , I jumped at the chance to work with Melissa again. “pURe” was an incredible experience. I knew “Whore” would be the same.
Playing a Ukrainian refugee and a married woman ‘sex worker’ presents many challenges, all of which I am throwing myself into, with gusto. I actually started research for this back in 2011, when I arrived in NZ not knowing that prostitution is legal here. I was fascinated, so read forums and policies surrounding the issue. Fast forward two years later and (actually now) cast as two sex workers, I have investigated further! Research for my Ukrainian character has sent me in the direction of a Ukrainian accent coach, in order to fully understand where my character is coming from culturally, historically and socially. My accent needs to be spoken with truth and authenticity from within. “Married Woman” is proving equally challenging (as the life she leads is incredibly different from my own); as I haven’t dealt with violence, discrimination or psychological problems that she experiences daily. I have been reading and chatting to a lot of people (who are victims) about violence, drugs and discrimination and the effect it has on their lives. I hope to expose their reality – with truth. Protected by the ‘Prostitution Reform Act 2003’, yet unprotected on the street. I have realised that ‘sex work is work’.