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Project of the Day: A ‘License to Pimp’

Project of the Day: A 'License to Pimp'

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

“License to Pimp”

Tweetable Logline:

What would U do if the #stripClub U worked @ became a #brothel? Adapt, Fight or Quit? #LicenseToPimp doc follows 3strippers facing this dilemma

Elevator Pitch:

What would you do if the strip club you worked at became a brothel? Would you adapt, fight or quit? LICENSE TO PIMP chronicles 3 San Francisco strippers as their workplaces engage in illegal labor practices. Lola competes with club prostitutes to keep her job & support her family. When city officials begin to enforce laws, Daisy must not only fight the strip clubs but also the strippers themselves who want to maintain the status quo. After Mariko quits the strip clubs, she risks her safety to work independently to keep 100% of her tips. Ex-stripper/filmmaker Hima B. uncovers workplace realities.

Production Team:

Dir/Prod/Camera: Hima B.

Hima B.’s first documentary STRAIGHT FOR THE MONEY (about how lesbian and bisexual sex workers negotiate their sexual identities), was included as part of the 1995 Whitney Biennial. LICENSE TO PIMP is the sequel.

About the Production:

“During the years I stripped, I witnessed management become increasingly greedy as they took more and more of the dancers’ tips. Clubs required $150-$600 per shift per dancer. As women prostituted to pay the strip club pimps, I felt the emotional toll it took on all of us. This film allows people to see and hear how workers are impacted by labor violations.

“As stripping increasingly gains acceptance within popular culture, more and more women and teenage girls enter this industry and are unaware of their rights and workplace realities. This is why ‘License to Pimp’ needs to be made and seen.” — Hima B.

Current Status:


For more information and to support this project:

Kickstarter Page
Film Website

Be sure to check out our curated Kickstarter page for more information on projects we think you should check out.

If you have an in-the-works project and you’d like to be profiled in an upcoming iW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged


Konrad Aderer

This is such an important film and needs our support. It shows how forms of exploitation that would not be allowed to continue in any other profession run rampant in this one that also speaks to the continuing vulnerability of women. But most importantly, it shows how despite all this these women are not just passive victims but actively engaged in different ways of improving their situations.

let's talk film

we so want to see this film! hima is such an amazing filmmaker!

elisa blynn

absolutely would love to see this film! i work in the sensuality profession am passionate about sex workers' rights and education. go hima gO!


would love to see it… make it happens please!!!!

Wes E.

This looks pimp-tastic.

Veena Rao

Can't wait to see this!


No doubt, I want to see this film!!!

Hima B.

Please Check out film character MARIKO in my stripper documentary LICENSE TO PIMP. She quits the strip club as it gets increasingly sexual. A year later, she decides to file a wage complaint against her strip club employers to recuperate her back wages + stage fees which were illegally required of her. Mariko's Video is in "Update#3: What Would You Do To Stay In Control"

Watch an animated clip from Lola's story in "Update#2: What Would You Do To Keep Your Job?"


i love the work of hima b!
insightful. passionate. authentic.
she is a gifted storyteller who is giving a voice to stories that need to be told.


I would definitely like to see this film. I have had many friends who were strippers and have heard some of their struggles, but not one such as this. quite a moral dilemma!


As someone who has seen her first film, I am really rooting for this to get made. She's an amazing documentarian. the trust that her interviewees have with her yeilded really incredible dialogue in the film. This new film I'm sure is going to similarly blow me over and similarly give a voice to women talked about ad nauseum but never actually heard from.


Lets explore this story!

As Hima mentions, it's an important topic for all workers. There is a platable fight against workers rights across the board…from corporations not honoring union contracts to refusing paid time off for new parents. The discussion of rights in the workforce are all related!

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