Fearlessly researched and undeniably urgent, “The Price of Sex” overcomes the listless narration of Bulgarian-born photographer-journalist-activist-helmer Mimi Chakarova to indefatigably follow the harrowing path of human sex trafficking, from the poorest corner of Eastern Europe to the flesh pits of Dubai and Istanbul. Pic earned Chakarova the Nestor Almendros Courage in Filmmaking award at the Human Rights Watch fest and placed solidly among the audience favorites at SilverDocs, suggesting U.S. distrib Women Make Movies could reap limited theatrical returns before strong ancillary exposure.
Befriending a handful of women from such countries as Romania and Moldova, Chakarova reveals how false promises of a brighter future can ensnare innocent victims in urban brothels far from home. Putting herself and her project at risk by networking with pimps, johns, activists and authorities of questionable allegiance, the helmer even goes undercover as a hooker for one dodgy evening in a Turkish nightclub. Tech package is tidy, though more polished, urgent narration would pick up the pace dramatically. Pic is the culmination of Chakarova’s decade-long work on the subject in the form of a photo exhibit, tube specials and a multimedia Web series.