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Hookers on Davie

Directed by Janis Cole and Holly Dale
Canada, 1984 (documentary, 88 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Davie Street"

Film Description:
"Davie Street is located in the heart of Vancouver's residential West End, just minutes from Stanley Park. Hookers have turned the tree-lined streets into a drive-in brothel open for trade from noon until 4 am, seven days a week. The prostitutes here have organized themselves by meeting once each week to discuss safety, self-defense, and health controls. Collectively, they print 'bad trick sheets,' warning each other of potentially dangerous clients. These prostitutes are independent and through mutual cooperation have maintained a 'pimp free' work environment. There are normally up to 150 prostitutes frequenting this area, congregating around neighbourhood churches and lining the alleyways and street corners all day long. After spending two months on Davie Street talking with the hookers, the filmmakers were able to gain their trust and confidence. The subjects agreed to wear radio microphones while being filmed by a hidden camera in a parked van. They worked the corner, openly negotiating with tricks, and spoke candidly about their experiences during breaks at a local restaurant. Hookers on Davie emerges as a fresh insight into the lives of prostitutes working the streets, giving a sensitive and personal portrayal of their world and their lives."
-- Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Cinematography: Nancy Bluie, Paul Mitchnick, avid Geddes
Music: The Crusaders
Production Company: Spectrum Films

Notes about Hookers on Davie


Quote by the Director

"Underneath, this [Blood & Donuts] is a very tender story about trading in loneliness for friendship. It's not unlike the documentaries myself and Janis Cole made where all the characters may seem like antiheroes. In Hookers on Davie, Michelle, who is an outrageous drag queen that is half woman, half man, inside is a very warm and wonderful human being. Thematically, I think Blood & Donuts is in keeping with the work I've always done, trying to dispel stereotypes."
-- Holly Dale (source)

Quote about Hookers on Davie

"With Hookers on Davie (1984), Janis Cole and Holly Dale once again turn to the margins of society with an intimate look at the lives and stories of sex workers in Vancouver. Their film was initially funded by the National Film Board's women's unit, Studio D, but Cole and Dale ended up disagreeing with the moralistic tone the studio (and much of the feminist movement of the time) took around sex work, and finished the film independently. Now considered to be an important work in the Canadian film canon, Hookers on Davie exemplifies how Cole and Dale's approach relies on the trust of their subjects. Still radically, the film embraces the ethos that sex work is work."
-- Kiva Reardon (source)

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