Sarah Jones is about to take a look at the world of the sex industry from a different angle. The Tony Award winner is set to make her feature directorial debut with the documentary Sell/Buy/Date which is based on her 2016 Off Broadway stage production of the same name. The docu explores how the sex industry sits at the intersection of race, feminism, power and economics in our current cultural climate. Joining Jones in this project are Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep and Laverne Cox who will serve as executive producers
Sell/Buy/Date tackles themes of inequality of criminal justice, race, sexism and poverty through the lens of the debate around the sex industry. The docu presents the question: “Is sex work exploitative or empowering?” The sex industry is hiding everywhere in plain sight during the pandemic, and impacting Black and brown women in particular. Many people support sex work and some even argue that those in the commercial sex space are essential workers.
Sex work and the sex industry have long been a divisive topic and Jones aims to unpack all of that. The docu follows the filmmaker (along with several of her characters from the play that inspired the doc as a kind of Greek chorus), as she interviews current and former sex workers/prostituted women, and the (mostly) men who buy and sell their services.
“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,” said Jones. “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’?'”
The feature-length documentary will also include interviews with experts and celebrities (some who may be a surprise to audiences) as they help Jones unpack her own deeply personal truth about what all this means and where we might be headed in the future.
Sell/Buy/Date is set to shoot in Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas beginning March 2021. Jones is set to produce alongside Julie Parker Benello and David Goldblum. Nion McEvoy, Leslie Berriman, Robina Riccitiello, Gigi Pritzker and Abby Pucker will serve as executive producers alongside Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep And Laverne Cox. S. Mona Sinha and Lisa Chanoff are contributing producers. Additionally, the documentary has received generous support from the Ford Foundation, SFFILM Invest and The Harnisch Foundation.
Sell/Buy/Date marks the first production of Jones’ recently launched Foment Productions, a social justice-focused entertainment company aligned with her progressive, intersectional activism.
Jones won a Special Tony Award in 2006 for her one-woman Broadway show Bridge & Tunnel which was co-produced by Meryl Streep. Jones recently co-starred alongside Julie Delpy and Elisabeth Shue in the Netflix dramedy series On The Verge. She also appeared in the films Marriage Story, The Incredible Jessica James and Broad City. In addition, Jones served as a writer/producer on Showtime’s SMILF.