Brenda is on a mission to disrupt the cycle of neglect, violence, and exploitation endured by girls and women in inner-city Chicago. On any given day, she’s performing interventions with at-risk teenagers, female prisoners, and prostitutes on street corners. She uses unconditional love, non-judgmental support, practical help—whatever it takes for them to change their own lives. But the most powerful weapon in Brenda’s healing arsenal is the raw honesty she can offer because she’s been where they are. For 25 years, she survived as a drug-addicted prostitute, even recruiting innocents into the “lifestyle” and abandoning her own children.
Using unobtrusive verité camera work that inhabits Brenda's miraculous perspective, master director Kim Longinotto follows intimate stories along Brenda’s path. Child molestation, physical abuse, poverty, and silence are among the common denominators of their dire situations. Like a shining star in the darkness, Brenda appears, doing a dance and upending the paradigm: "Hold the rest of the world accountable for what’s been done to you ... It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault." —C.L.
Kim Longinotto is one of the preeminent documentary filmmakers working today, renowned for creating extraordinary human portraits and tackling controversial topics with sensitivity and compassion. Longinotto's films have won international acclaim and dozens of awards worldwide, including the Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize, a Peabody, and a BAFTA. She has directed documentaries for broadcasters including BBC, HBO, PBS, and Channel 4. Notable titles include Divorce Iranian Style, Sisters in Law, and Rough Aunties.