COURTNEY HERMANN
EXCELLENCE IN FILMMAKING AND FILM EDUCATION
Exotic World
Narrated by Margaret Cho, Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival is a feature-length documentary that tells the story of a goat farm in the middle of the Mojave Desert that becomes ground zero of the largest burlesque revival since the 1940s.

Grants/Funding: Funded in large part through “Gurlesque Burlesque”, a series of burlesque shows held over the course of several years--the last of which drew 2,800 audience members. Supported by Columbia College’s Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women in the Arts and Media. Additional funding by individual donors, including a successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised over $27,000 online and $5,000 in additional donor funds.

Exhibition Highlights: dOCUMENTA (Kassel, Germany), Coney Island Film Festival (Coney Island, NY), The Hollywood Theatre (Portland, OR), The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (Missoula, MT), The Sandberg Institute of Amsterdam, and The Boston Burlesque Festival.  A looping 15-minute edit excerpting the film was produced at the request of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada for use in its Exotic World exhibit beginning in 2018.

Project Website: http://exoticworldthemovie.com/

Synopsis:
In the margins of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, surrounded by 25,000 square miles of desert, Jennie Lee (a 1950’s labor organizer for strippers) and Dixie Evans ("The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque") transform a goat farm into the only museum and retirement home in the world dedicated to striptease dancers.  Located in a region known for its extreme climates, casinos, brothels, nuclear test sites, and homeland security trainings, the Exotic World Museum stands as a vulnerable, yet magnetic cultural institution. 
 
As young performers make pilgrimages to Exotic World, a culture emerges, arousing something more than commercial or personal pleasure.  Dancers draw on the history of burlesque to forge critiques of mainstream sexual/gender roles and to choreograph a new erotic consciousness. In the meantime, in the literal and figurative margins of American culture, Exotic World struggles to remain financially viable.

Through this one story, the complexities and politics of American memory, sex, feminism, class, aging, joy, and art unfolds.