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Cam Girlz

Year: 2015
Director: Sean Dunne

If you think you know what a typical cam girl is – a woman who performs acts from the conversational to the sexual in a purpose built chat room while viewers pay her to do so – looks like, you couldn't be more wrong. And if you think they're just women who fellate dildos and masturbate disinterestedly, you also couldn't me more wrong.

Director Sean Dunne has tracked down and interviewed at least a dozen women from all walks of life who make a living camming. They're all ages, backgrounds, races and economic means, but the one thing they all have in common seems to be that they love it.

Everyone the film talks about enjoys the economic freedom, for one thing - if you're one of the top performers it's a hundred thousand dollar a year job. They can set their own rules, hours and boundaries and seem to genuinely love what they do, even aside from the money.

Just like with stripping and prostitution there are undoubtedly downsides – one interviewee talks about how hard it is for her family to accept what she does and many others do so in secret.

But while we all know (or think we know) what sort of woman does 'that sort of thing', Cam Girlz is instead something of a celebration of what it can offer many women who don't have the education, means, connections or aren't the right age to work in more traditional industries.

When you can sign up with a service that facilitates instant payments to your account, turn your webcam on and invite men anywhere to send you money to do things in complete anonymity, some girls are doing very well for themselves and don't care about your moral outrage one bit.

The film also makes you realise the camming movement is about much more than porn. There's a common theme of sexuality, but the range of tastes catered to is as varied as the girls doing it.

One – as you'd expect – simply lays on her bed playing with herself. Another group stages elaborate, Dali-esque light shows and dresses up in body stockings to dance in front of them. Two more perform detailed reimaginings of scenes from Beetlejuice, complete with a ventriloquist puppet. One girl plays her guitar (naked) and sings. One answers the door to the pizza guy topless. Another performs a perfectly balanced mime act while slowly getting undressed.

And even though much of it is decidedly NSFW, director Dunne treats the subjects and the players with complete respect. The interviews and insert shots are accompanied by a melancholy and languid soundtrack and understated on-screen titles when it could have looked and sounded like a bad porn parody.

It's not about the sex or the technology, but the people. And just like in every other line of work, country or racial group, the differences between them are endless.

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