Friday, 21 September 2012

[Gallery Post] Tackling Slavery with Unchosen

Amongst the many dates that should be marked on our calendar a big red circle should be placed around the 18th October 2012 UK anti-slavery day. It is alarming to think that across the world over 12 million people have been trafficked and worked as slaves with nearly 50% put to work as sex workers. We tend to still think of slavery as a blight on our country's past or something that happens in the developing world yet those figures paint a different picture for the UK. Unchosen, the Bristol based charity that campaigns for end to human trafficking will be marking anti-slavery day with a special screening of Stolen, a heart wrenching film that looks at child exploitation, and will feature a Q&A session with representatives from leading charities as well local and constabulary authorities.

I first learnt about Unchosen through writer and broadcaster Mark Le Leivre who I met  at the Encounters International Film Festival Launch in 2010. Mark asked for help in promoting Unchosen that year which was to run over several days with screenings, talks and exhibitions scheduled  throughout Bristol and Bath. You can read the article, which includes the organisation's history, by clicking here. I was impressed to learn that it had the support of legendary film maker Ken Loach as well as director Nick Broomfield, director of the acclaimed feature film Ghosts,  as Unchosen's Honorary President. 

Basically the organisation is all about using films and documentaries to keep up awareness of human trafficking into the UK.  Unchosen work in collaboration with film makers, NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) and an army volunteers to set up campaigns at schools, universities and local communities. They help raise awareness, expose traffickers in the UK with the help of their volunteer base, and especially work to involve young people to be aware of the dangers of grooming and generally to get involved and help make a difference.

This year's event features a screening of Stolen, a 90 minute TV movie which aired on BBC One in July last year. The film stars Homeland's Damian Lewis as DI Anthony Carter, an officer assigned to the Human Trafficking Unit, trying to find three young girls brought into the country and forced into servitude. The film starkly examines the profitable and dark underworld of human trafficking in the UK which has seen over 1.2 million children sold into slavery. The film will then lead to a Q&A session with Graham SimsStrategic Director of Neighbourhoods & City Development for Bristol City Council, Ella Remes,Children’s Services Manager for Barnardo’s, and Detective Inspector Dave Grimstead, Public Protection, Avon & Somerset Police. The combination of the film followed by the panel discussion should engage the audience, encouraging them to think long and hard about the subject matter and what needs to be done to tackle its seemingly increasing rise in the UK.

Image Credit; 38 Degrees

If there was a every a time for greater need to raise awareness of human trafficking to the UK it is now, given how it is increasing and very little seems to be done to bring it to an end. In August 2010 the coalition government chose to opt out of the EU effort to clamp down on the trade in sex slaves, causing quite a stir until perceived pressure saw a reversal of that decision the following year. Yet there are still fewer arrests being made and there is speculation that human trafficking, in particular those used as sex workers is slowly becoming less of a priority. An article by Mark Towsend, Home Affairs Editor for The Observer reveals some disturbing facts and revelations about the fight against slavery in the UK. 

Stolen will be screened at the Tobacco Factory and admission is free. For more information you can visit the Unchosen website by clicking on the flier on the top right hand side of the page.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Devon Film Maker Crowdfunding Latest Project

Despite the UK government calling for British filmmakers to produce Hollywood-esque commercial films it seems independent filmmakers are ignoring the call. More and more independent films are hoping crowdfunding will see their stories come to life. The latest is a short film from Devon based film maker Tony Webber, founder of Rockfall Films who is looking to raise funds through the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo.

Tom is the story of a thirty-something male whose girlfriend is about to meet his family for the first time. The film reflects on how the couple first met leading up to the inevitable meeting but with an unexpected conclusion. It is an emotional drama focussing on loss and loneliness which Tony believes will resonate with the audience.

Funds raised will be used to cover costs for the production and Tony is looking to raise £5,500. These include accomodation and costs, hiring of cast and crew, equipment hire and post production.
I'd also like to engage the services of a casting director and go after a cast of named actors. Raising the money would hekp me do this. - Tony Webber
The project, looking to raise funds through IndieGoGo, has just under a month to reach its funding target. In exchange for a donation investors will be rewarded with acknowledgements and thanks, DVD and Blu Ray copies of the film, limited edition merchandise, and invitations to exclusive screenings. The rewards depend on the amount pledged and for higher value investments Associate/Executive producer credits will be awarded. To support this project click here to visit the IndieGoGo funding page.

Image Credits; Fiverlocker

Friday, 6 January 2012

[Interview] Indie Film Makers Share Crowdfunding Success

Recently two independent film makers have enjoyed the benefits of crowdfunding giants Kickstarter and IndieGoGo in a bid to see their projects reach completion. Actor, screenwriter, and director Jayce Bartok raised $20,000 to continue filming his drama Tiny Dancer through IndieGoGo, whilst Andrew Berends, thanks to Kickstarter raised $16,000 to complete his project Delta Boys. 

The two film makers were recently interviewed by New York based creative digital agency Flightpath. Here they share their experiences of how the process empowered them yet presented its fair share of challenges;
Jayce Bartok: It was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. For those 60 days, it was just insane.
Andy Berends: Yeah. It’s awesome in a lot of respects, but I wouldn’t call it fun. For me, the first thing was you have to pretty much put aside your pride. 
For the full interview please click here.

Image Credit; Tahmid Munazâ„¢

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