Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 18, 2012.

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What would you do if the strip club you worked@ became a brothel?Adapt, fight or quit?This film follows 3 strippers facing this dilemma

What would you do if your workplace engaged in illegal labor practices that violated your rights as a worker? 

Would you adapt to it, fight it, or quit?  

License to Pimp is a feature documentary about the choices that three San Francisco strippers make as their workplaces engage in illegal labor practices.  Strip clubs refuse to pay strippers even minimum wages & actually charge them for the privilege to work.  I worked in half of San Francisco’s strip clubs during the 1990s and witnessed how co-workers felt economically pressured to engage in prostitution to make their quotas to avoid being fired.  Now as a filmmaker, I uncover current working conditions & try to find out how strip clubs are able to operate outside the law.

Each woman makes distinctly different decisions yet our collective journeys are woven into one story of strippers negotiating our labor rights within the sex industry.

DAISY demands that city & state agencies protect workers' rights
DAISY demands that city & state agencies protect workers' rights
Lola must decide how far she'll stretch her sexual boundaries
Lola must decide how far she'll stretch her sexual boundaries
MARIKO strips outside the club circuit to stay in control of her labor
MARIKO strips outside the club circuit to stay in control of her labor

 WHY I’M MAKING THIS DOCUMENTARY:

During the years I stripped, I witnessed management become increasingly greedy as they took more & more of the dancers' tips.  Clubs required between $150-$600 per shift per dancer.  As women prostituted to pay the strip club pimps, I felt the emotional toll it took on all of us.  I am in support of decriminalizing prostitution so that consensual adults can work free from arrest, stigma, + violence. However, if one feels pressured to engage in prostitution to keep her job, that's not sex positive. That's sexual labor that is exploited.

As stripping increasingly gains acceptance within popular culture, more and more women & teenage girls enter this industry and are unaware of their rights & workplace realities.  This is why License to Pimp needs to be made & seen.

Hima B. shows the stage fees that this strip club requires from dancers
Hima B. shows the stage fees that this strip club requires from dancers

WHY IS THIS DOCUMENTARY IS IMPORTANT?

This documentary shows how each of the featured women approach various labor violations. The irony is that strippers are in fact entitled to the same labor protections as the average American worker—the laws just aren't enforced.  This documentary isn’t about the morality of doing sex work, but follows the paths of women trying to remain within the sex industry on their own terms.  Through each worker's situation, License to Pimp offers tangible ways that sex workers try to better this industry so it’s consensual, safer, fair, legal, & less violent. 

FUNDING GOAL:  $30,000 or nothing.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find talented filmmakers & interns who’ve worked for free or barely anything to get this documentary shot.  But this isn't sustainable.  Maintaining hi-quality production values & content requires bringing on an experienced crew.  We need $30,000 to complete a Rough Cut of License to Pimp.  If we miss our $30,000 goal by even a single dollar, we get NOTHING.  ZIP.  ZERO. ZILCH.  NADA.  $00,000.  So it’s ALL or NOTHING.

USE OF FUNDS:

With $30,000, we can complete a Rough Cut of License to Pimp with each of the women’s journeys laid out.

  • We'll review 400 hours of footage and find gems that illustrate each character’s path.
  • We’ll experiment with story structure by interweaving Lola, Mariko, Daisy, & my journeys to tell a compelling, unique story.

Lola participated in the film on the condition that her identity wasn't revealed.  Her extensive interviews will come to life through animation.  We will re-appropriate the visual style of erotic Latino comic books (aka porno-novellas or “historiettas”) and re-tell Lola’s story within a feminist context. 

  • We’ll complete the storyboards for Lola’s animation. 
  • The character designer will hand draw the art for Lola’s animation, which will be scanned & be prepped to be animated. 
  • Using Lola’s actual interviews as the basis for her story, we’ll work with voice actors & replace Lola’s audio. 
  • The animation crew will then take the artwork & use their magic to create the animatics, which is essentially a mock up of how Lola’s story will play out in screen time. 
  • It’ll include the dialogue & audio FX.

Successfully raising $30,000 means that our creative team can be…well creative.  Instead of fundraising, we can focus on crafting the best possible story.

 Make a difference & be part of getting

the Stories of Sex Workers seen & heard!

*****************************

PRESS DURING KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN:

Huffington Post (7/12/12)  LOOK: 10-Year-Old Girl's Shocking Stripper Fantasy // 'License To Pimp,' San Francisco Documentary, Sheds Light On Strip Club Corruption

Hima B.:  Why I Used a 10-Yr Old's Fantasy Stripper Schedule to Talk about Labor Conditions in Strip Clubs

Flip the Script on KPFK (Los Angeles) radio host Matsuda RiKu interviews Hima B. on her upcoming documentary License to Pimp (6/25/12)

BlackBook Magazine (7/7/12):  "License to Pimp" Stripper Doc Seeks Kickstarter Dough.  Reporter Jessica Wakeman writes "I'm fascinated to see a flick about sex workers without that Hollywood gloss"

funding "License to Pimp" is listed on the Blog For The Love Of Porn, Prostitution, And Pussy as one of the ways of "How to Advocate for Sex Workers"

SFist (7/11/12):  Things That Should Horrify You: A 10-Year-Old's Stripping Schedule

Sex City radio CIUT 89.5FM (7/10/12):  Interview with Filmmaker Hima B. on her documentary "License to Pimp"

Gender Focus (6/19/12) Strippers Deserve Labour Rights Too

Tits And Sass (7/ 6/12):  License to Pimp: A Conversation with Filmmaker Hima B.

Her Film (6/26/12)  Spotlight: License to Pimp

La Libertine's Salon (6/26/12)  Forget Magic Mike support THIS movie about Strippers

The Feminist Wire (7/9/12):  Interview with Filmmaker Hima B. on her film "License To Pimp"

Spark A Movement (7/10/12): Interview with Filmmaker Hima B. on her film "License to Pimp"

FAQ

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    96 backers

    (1) Thanks for helping to get our rough cut done! You have our eternal gratitude for helping to make this Film possible. We'll give a shout out to you on Twitter + Facebook. (2) You’ll receive a newsletter updates on our journey to complete LICENSE TO PIMP.

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    43 backers

    All the above PLUS (1) Digital WallPaper from LICENSE TO PIMP. Make it your computer or cellphone’s wallpaper; post it to Facebook; print it out and tack it to the wall. (2) Animatic from Lola’s story in LICENSE TO PIMP

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    45 backers

    In Addition to the initial $25 pledge, you will also get the entire unedited 8 minute interview clip with Skylar as she talks about not being a prostitute, legal brothels in Nevada, Proposition K (a 2008 San Francisco ballot measure that tried to decriminalize prostitution) & why she'd never work for a pimp.

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    2 backers All gone!

    Everyone who backs this film at $50 or more before the weekend ends (midnight Monday July 9, 2012) will be automatically invited to a private NYC screening after the film is completed. (this includes anyone who's already backed the film to date). After this weekend, invitations will be closed.

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    54 backers

    All the above PLUS (1) Thanks credited on the film’s website (2) Digital download of the filmmaker’s short documentary HOW DO YOU TELL SOMEBODY THAT YOU’RE HIV+?

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    47 backers

    All the above PLUS (1) Thanks credited in the Film (2) A naughty holographic photo of Mariko Passion that was art directed by her (this is limited the first 200 backers who pledge $100 or more) (3) Digital download of the filmmaker’s short fictional ENT-HOMO-PHILIA (not appropriate for minors—there’s some sexual content & nudity)

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    7 backers

    All the above PLUS (1) Signed Limited Edition Movie Poster of LICENSE TO PIMP (2) Digital download of Lola’s story in LICENSE TO PIMP as a comic book (aka porno-novella aka historietta) (3) Digital download of the filmmaker’s short fictional film JIHAD FOR DEMOCRACY

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    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    NEW REWARD: Chriselda Pacheco has graciously donated 4 stunning photos from her photo series “Sex and Judgment” Limited Edition: $500 each (signed by the artist, unframed, black/white, 18” x 24’) See Update # 10 to see the photos + learn about the photographer who is a former stripper.

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    2 backers

    All the above PLUS (1) Signed Limited Edition printed Comic Book of Lola’s story in LICENSE TO PIMP (aka porno-novella aka historietta) (2) Limited Edition pre-Release DVD or BlueRay of LICENSE TO PIMP (3) Digital download of the filmmaker’s first documentary about lesbian and bisexual female sex workers of STRAIGHT FOR THE MONEY (59 minutes; 1994) which was in the 1995 Whitney Biennial

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    0 backers

    All the above PLUS (1) Super Special Thanks credit in the Film (2) Ever wonder what you’d look like in an animation? Here’s your chance. Get your likeness inserted into Lola’s animation! It might be as a customer, a stripper, managers, her family or friends. It’ll be a surprise! You will need to provide us with some hi-resolution mugshots of yourself. (3) Skype with the Filmmaker

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    1 backer

    All the above PLUS Two tickets (for you and a guest) to attend the San Francisco, Los Angeles or NYC premiere screening of LICENSE TO PIMP plus an invite to the before & after party. Lodging & transportation are not included.

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    1 backer

    All the above PLUS (1) Associate Producer credit on the Film (2) Invite for you & a guest to the private Sneak Preview screening of LICENSE TO PIMP. (3) Party! Two tickets (for you and your guest) to attend the World Premiere screening plus an invite to the before & after parties. Lodging & transportation are not included.

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    0 backers

    All the above PLUS (1) Executive Producer credit on the Film and in all promotional and educational outreach material. (2) Sit in on a day’s editing session. Lodging & transportation are not included. (3) Invite to the Fine Cut screening NYC. Lodging & transportation are not included. (4) Dinner with the Filmmaker & crew in NYC. Lodging & transportation are not included. (5) PARTY! Two tickets (for you and your guest) to attend the World Premiere screening of LICENSE TO PIMP plus an invite to the before & after parties. Lodging & transportation are not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)