Will Work For Freedom
A documentary that follows a startup jewelry company in SE Asia that hires people at risk of falling into sex trafficking.
Coming to the Idea for this Project
Growing up now in America, slavery could certainly be thought of as a part of of history and not modern life. Today, however, there are more slaves in the world than there has ever been at any time in history.
I was astounded when I discovered this fact. On the surface it seemed absurd that slavery was actually increasing, however, I soon discovered that the world of modern slavery was much more varied and complex than I originally assumed.
This became even more clear when I ran into the director of a company that was trying to battle modern slavery, concentrating largely on sex trafficking in South East Asia. Every question I asked about what the company was doing simply spurred on more questions. Issues of poverty, business vs charities, race and even things stretching as far as colonialism came into the fold. Upon listening I immediately became fascinated with the reach and complexities of what this company was dealing with. A fascination that grew into a desire to tell a story of East meets West in a way I had never thought about it before.
This documentary will center around Freedom Stones, a start up jewelry company that is trying to prevent or rescue people from sex trafficking in south east asia. Through holistic training and skills development, Freedom Stones' mission is to provide a way for young people to stay out of the the massive trafficking industry. A mission that sounds simple enough but in actuality is incredibly complex.
The complexity starts with Freedom Stone's classification of being a nonprofit business. A description that by itself can seem to declare contradiction. If the company is not simply a business or a charity, then what is it? This film will also look into the complexity of how the company tries to succeed as a sustainable business that specifically hires those that many would declare un-hirable.
The film will also explore if and why sex trafficking is so pervasive in certain parts of South East Asia. A story that looks as far back as colonialism and maybe even the Vietnam War and asks if they still have lingering effects on the economy and psyche of this area? What is the relationship between East and West in regards to what this company is trying to do, if one still exists? Also, can a business thrive in an area where some feel only a charity would be able to function.
The film will go to Cambodia and Thailand where I will film the artisans of Freedom Stones and see the challenges, realities, and efforts of their mission. I also plan on filming inside the U.S. to explore the perspectives of Freedom Stones' customers, Cambodian-Americans and other connections that exist with this issue.
While this film will start in Cambodia, I plan on going where the film leads in order to get a full perspective on this story. There will be info/motion graphics, interviews domestically and overseas, whatever helps to honestly and accurately explore the world this company is in.
About the (kickstarter) Bracelet
It was actually Freedom Stones' idea for the bracelet. I originally was planning on just observing operations as the filmmaker and trying to stay as invisible as possible. The invitation to help design a simple bracelet to give to the suporters of the film, however, felt more and more appropriate the more I thought about it. I felt that it would help me to catch a least a small hands on glimpse of the work that the company does and an interesting, yet simple way to let the supporters be in contact with the subject of the film (who says you can't mix in a little fashion design while making a documentary).
The bracelet shown is a rough example of what these simple bracelets will be like. The design of the ones you'll receive, however, will not be determined until I arrive in South East Asia.
Most of the money will be for travel. Flying halfway around the world and living out of a suitcase certainly carries unavoidable costs. There will also be traveling I will be doing in the America that this fundraiser will cover. I'll be doing most of the post-production so this will help me with that process as well. Editing, animation, color correction, sound mixing, writing a score... the equipment is expensive and it's a time consuming part of the process.
I also just recently purchased a new camera specifically for this film (5d Mark III for any tech interested) along with a mic and some other equipment, so this will help me out with any additional equipment costs that will come up for the shoot such as memory cards, cases, protective and cleaning equipment (there will be much dust) etc.
Any funding that goes over the target amount will be used for additional filming and help me to spend even more time on the film to ensure it gets done soon and gets done right.
Ultimately, this film is an examination of industries and social worlds colliding. I hope to give an eye opening account of this complicated and controversial subject, and a company that is diving right into the middle of it.
I humbly and sincerely thank you for your support.
- (28 days)