LAURA BENSON, is a bilingual English/French actress living in Paris since 1981. She trained at the prestigious Nanterre Amandiers theatre school directed by Patrice Chéreau and Pierre Romans. Her first film was HÔTEL DE FRANCE (1987) directed by Patrice Chéreau. She made her debut on stage interpreting the part of Anna Petrovna in Tchekhov’s Platonov, a play also directed by Patrice Chéreau (1987). She has worked on stage with a number of directors such as Pierre Romans, Luc Bondy, Irina Brook, Stuart Seide amongs others. In 2003, together with Nathalie Bensard, she co- wrote/conceived George which she produced which her own theatre company. Her performance brought her a ‘revelation’ nomination at the 2005 Molières theatre awards. She played in THE LOVER by Jacques Doillon in 1987 and the following year in DANGEROUS LIAISONS by Stephen Frears. Her other credits include Alain Resnais’ I WANT TO GO HOME (1990), RobertAltman’s READY-TO-WEAR (1994) and Pierre- François Martin-Laval’s LES PROFS 2 (2015).
“I’ve been always fascinated by the process of inner transformation. Bringing my shadows to the light. TOUCH ME NOT has been an unique opportunity to continue this work in front of the camera, a process which has been both very scary and exciting. This work process on the fluid border between reality and fiction offered a safe space and tricked my own mind to think I was “acting” some one else. When in reality my subconscious was bringing my own things to the surface to deal with. Adina is a master at creating this sacred space where you loose all directions about who you are, if you are in reality or fiction. You enter a roller-coaster of feelings and emotions and come out at the other end both transformed, with a lot of new questions and with a film. I don’t ask for more.”
After growing up in Iceland and France, TÓMAS LEMARQUIS studied theater at the Cours Florent in Paris and the Reykjavík School of Fine Arts in Iceland. Meanwhile he explored various shamanistic practices and other alternative therapies, his process of personal growth harmoniously combining the spiritual research with the artistic experimentation. He is possibly best recalled for his central role in the 2003 Icelandic film NÓI ALBÍNÓI. He also appeared in films such as SNOWPIERCER, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE and BLADE RUNNER 2049.
“Born in 1976, I am a ceramic artist working in Rhineland Palatinate. I also studied Sculpture and Combined Media in Ireland. My life is about landscape, geology and experiencing different cultures. I travel a lot with my boyfriend Christian. We‘ve visited many places in Asia and Europe together. I feel it is important to see different cultures to show that disability doesn’t mean to have to stay at home and feel sorry for yourself. Disabled people in particular need to have a much more varied life. Only in that way can they form their opinions and be more involved in the community. I feel that other disabled people should also have the opportunity as well, to experience travel for example through exchange programs or other financial support. My relationship with Christian over the last three years has been a beautiful one. Our life is so varied and we have a lot to share. Having a disabled partner can be just as rewarding as any other relationship.”
“I’m not afraid of this film or myself being attacked. You know, Adina, when they accuse you of exploiting vulnerable human beings such as the disabled ones, just know that the people screaming are precisely those who have no idea about disability, about what us disabled people feel, need, desire. They have their own false concepts about disability. They look at us as vulnerable and as somebody who has to be protected. But that’s actually patronizing, they are putting us down. Like anyone else, I do have the right to enjoy my body, to explore my sexuality and show myself as a sexual being. I believe it is important to show that we, disabled people, have the same desires, dreams, responses to stimuli, like everybody.”
“I was born in 1975 and I live in the southwestern part of Germany in the Rhine valley and I’m a wheeler with SMA. I studied computer science, now working as a web developer. I’m a nerd, loving Science and Science Fiction – especially Star Trek. I travel a lot, seeing the world is one of my big passions. I love to hang out with friends and go to the cinema as well as enjoying arts and culture. As a political activist, I fight for the rights of disabled people, e.g. for better accessibility or the right to live in the community. I have a big interest in sexuality and disability and run a blog on the topic, called “kissability”. I also give talks on the topic and participate in several cultural projects focussing on positive views on (disabled) bodies and empowerment.”
HANNA came “out of the closet” as a transsexual 11 years ago, after 20 years of marriage in a life and a skin in which she never felt home. Since as far as she remembers, she always wanted to be a woman, in spite of the nature endowing her with a vigorous male body. Reaching her 50’s, HANNA finally decided to take the risk and become what she really wants to be: she left her(his) marriage and family and started a new life as a woman. Around the same time she started practicing sex work.
An intelligent and charming conversationalist, HANNA elegantly moves from her philosophical references (she studied Philosophy), to her experiences in her profession (she makes her living mainly as a real estate agent, complimented by escorting), and to the political and economical crisis in Germany and Europe. She was also an activist for the rights of sex workers and sexual minorities, being an executive member of BEDS (Berufsverband Erotische Und Sexuelle Dienstleistungen) and providing psychological consultancy to her fellow transsexual sex workers.
Contrary to the general preconceptions, her main reason to practice sex work is not only money. Escorting played a central role in her search for identity, being a liberating and inspiring playground where she could explore her sexual preferences and fantasies, her seduction power and vulnerabilities, her femininity. As well, she debates about the therapeutic qualities of her sex work, both for herself and for the client. The escorting services HANNA provides are an intriguing mix of erotic role-play and psychotherapeutic counselling, having often an empowering effect on the clients, as they feel recognized and reassured that their fantasies and desires are not “wrong” but actually a healthy way to explore themselves.
Australian-born Seani Love is a male escort specialising in erotic journeys using the wonderful overlaps between Conscious Kink, BDSM and neo-Tantra. With training in counselling, theatre, Urban Tantra and many other hands-on and hands-off modalities, he has won numerous accolades including Sex Worker of the Year at the Sexual Freedom Awards in London in 2015. His work combines techniques from erotic ritual, extreme sensitivity to consent and boundaries and Jungian psychology to create powerful pathways to empowerment, healing and self-discovery. As an international workshop facilitator, Seani Love has supported many on their journey to places of increased power, sexual expression, body awareness and self-love.
“Times are changing. We are entering a new phase where we as a species are gaining greater understanding of the sexual impulses we have. Kinks aren’t seen as disfunctional traits any more but increasingly as healthy aspects of normal peoples’ sex lives. If we attempt to consciously explore our sexual fantasies, we are exploring a part of our subconscious minds and thus we are gaining personal insights, self-knowledge and thus wisdom about our own journeys through our world. We are bringing the subconscious processing into the conscious mind for understanding, for exploring and for gaining greater self-awareness.”