"I didn't realize I had my own truth to unpack," says performer, writer, comedian, and activist Sarah Jones in the trailer for her new film Sell/Buy/Date. The documentary-narrative hybrid, based on Jones' 2016 Off-Broadway show of the same name, combines the fictional characters from her solo stage play and documentary interviews with celebrities and sex workers as Jones examines her own relationship with the sex industry.
Executive produced by Meryl Streep, Sell/Buy/Date asks: how can we as a society have a healthy relationship to sex, power, race and our economy, without exploitation or stigma? The film premiered at the 2022 SXSW festival and will be released theatrically on October 14th via Cinedigm. Check out the trailer for the film above.
"Long before I started performing my characters, at the start of my career I found myself on Rikers Island teaching poetry to incarcerated teenage girls—not exactly light-hearted fodder for the kind of humor I’m known for," says Jones in a statement. "As young as 14 years old, many of these girls had been arrested on charges of prostitution. I remember thinking 'how can children not old enough to drive or vote be locked up for this "crime?"' I left feeling like this was some dystopian pandemic that no one was even aware of. This planted a seed that eventually led to my play Sell/Buy/Date. The piece explores the fact that the sex industry is a lot closer to all of our lives than we may realize; in fact the play culminates in a pandemic rooted in our societies’ deepest dysfunctions and injustices.
"But, it wasn’t until after the play reached thousands of people in multiple cities and won various awards in a very public way that I realized the one thing I didn’t explore on stage: my deeply private and personal relationship to this topic, and the ways these inequalities were affecting our world in real time."
The docu-drama is directed and written by Jones, with a story by Jones and David Goldblum. It is produced by Jones, Goldblum, and Julie Parker Benello.
Sell/Buy/Date premiered Off-Broadway at MCC in 2016 and played Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse in 2018. Jones is a 2006 Special Tony recipient for Bridge & Tunnel, another multi-character solo show written by and starring herself, focusing on the immigrant experience in New York City's outer boroughs.