“The film overwhelms.” -Le Monde



LOS ANGELES, CA (April 12, 2017) Inspired by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof’s series on child sex trafficking in Cambodia, Italian director Ilaria Borrelli (The Washing Machine, Our Italian Husband) developed her third feature, THE GIRL FROM THE BROTHEL.  The film, which tell the story of a woman who catches her husband paying for sex with an eleven-year-old girl, was released in Italy and France on over 200 screens with the support of European non-governmental organizations such as Ecpat, Signis, Amnesty France and Karitas. It will now find its North American audience through home theater options (DVD & On Demand) and screening events starting April 25, 2017, distributed by Cinema Libre Studio.

Filmed entirely in Cambodia and partially set in the notorious Svay Pak neighborhood outside of Phnom Penh, the film shares the journey of Mia, a Parisian photographer (played by Borrelli), who sells her own body to pay for the freedom of a girl, Srey. With two other girls who stow away in their truck, they embark on a cross country journey to return the girls to their homes, and in doing so, witness the country’s environmental exploitation, poverty and desperation, the kind of that would drive families to sell their children into slavery.

Borrelli highlights the very real connection between poverty, environmental exploitation, and human trafficking. Young victims are often sold by their families with the false promise of a better life elsewhere, or are kidnapped by traffickers who profit – as in the case of Srey – from fractured or displaced families.

Borrelli says, “I’ve been following certain organizations that deal with violence against children for years. I was struck by Nicholas Kristof’s undercover work in Cambodia. With a hidden camera, he captured children under 10 years old, offering him oral sex for 5 dollars and telling him that if he didn’t like it he didn’t have to pay. I felt such rage, and such pain and indignation on behalf of the human race. How can there be people willing to incarcerate children and force them to have sex with, in some cases, 20 men a day? It’s unimaginable, and yet it happens. Writing is the only way I can deal with that shock and that disgust: putting the pain black on white. And then making a movie out of that becomes an obsession, maybe because no other art form can transmit emotions as powerfully as film.”

The narrative feature was an official selection at several international festivals and won Best Film at the Women’s International Film Festival Miami and Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival for its gritty and honest storytelling. The film screened two times at the United Nations in Geneva, for King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium at the European Parliament and at the Italian Parliament. Following the Italian Parliament screening, a law was passed that guarantees the protection and reception of unaccompanied foreign minors.

Borrelli’s directorial debut (Our Italian Husband, 2004) featured Brooke Shields and Chevy Chase.  She is also an accomplished actress in Italy and a prolific author.

Synopsis:  Mia, a successful Paris-based photographer, bored by her comfortable, middle-class existence, flies to Cambodia to surprise her businessman husband, Xavier, with plans of convincing him to start the family with her that she has always wanted.

But her hope for a romantic rendezvous is dashed when she spies her husband in a brothel having sex with an eleven year-old girl named Srey.  Mia, her world turned completely upside down, resolves to rescue Srey and return her to the remote village from where she was abducted. Mia strikes a repulsive bargain with Sanan, the brothel owner, and sacrifices her own body to a high-powered government official in order to liberate the little girl. She and Srey then embark on the long journey home.

However, Mia discovers that Srey has stowed away Daa and Malin, two other young escapees from the brothel. They had also stolen money from Sanan and Mia realizes that they, too, will be hunted down. Torn by the sudden additional responsibility, Mia reluctantly agrees to help all three children return to their separate villages spread across the Cambodian jungle.

Under constant threat from their pursuers, Mia and the girls embark on a perilous escape to freedom and, along the way, are reminded that there is still much to celebrate in life.

The Girl From The Brothel Official Trailer from Cinema Libre Studio on Vimeo.

Written and Directed by:  Ilaria Borrelli

Produced by:  Guido Freddi

Cinematography:  David Vlasits

Editors:  Marie Castro, Eric Heinrich, Emanuele Muscolino

Cast:  Ilaria Borrelli, Philippe Caroit, Setha Moniroth, Yang Sreypich,Kiri Sovann, Sen Somnag

Distributor:  Cinema Libre Studio

Release Date:  April 25, 2017 (DVD and On Demand – Amazon Instant and Vimeo)





TRT:  88 mins. | AUDIO 5.1 | RATIO 16:9

SRP: $199.95 | CLS12541 | UPC 88139412412

LANGUAGE:  Emglish, Khmer

RATING:  Not Rated

GENRE: Drama

REGION: NTSC All Regions


  • Trailers
  • 15-minute featurette – Behind the Scenes
  • Music Video –“Moon Eyes”
    · Closed Captioning


ABOUT CINEMA LIBRE: Cinema Libre Studio is a full-service mini-studio known for producing and distributing high concept feature films and social impact documentaries.  Headquartered in the Los Angeles area, the team has released over 200 films.| |

Film Media, please contact:

Beth Portello, Cinema Libre Studio, 818-588-3033,


Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *