A small light can illuminate a great darkness
“The New Abolitionists,” a documentary by actress/producer Christina Zorich, tracks her journey as she follows committed abolitionists throughout Southeast Asia as they attempt to affect change and put an end to human sex trafficking, will screen at the virtual 2020 LA Femme International Film Festival.
In the course of the film, Zorich tracks the trajectories of the Christian ministries and NGO’s (non-government organizations) who save children and teens entrapped and enslaved in the sex trade throughout Cambodia and Thailand. They educated her on the causes and conditions that led to the blossoming of this criminal industry, the government’s complicity, and the structure they used to solve the problem: Rescue, Rehabilitation, Prosecution and Prevention. Heartbreaking stories ensue of young people of both sexes, many betrayed by close family members who sell them off to traffickers for financial gain. The programs that many of these organizations offer help these victims gain financial freedom and self esteem through vocational training in a safe and loving space. Because of the danger involved, some of the people Zorich met along with way could not get involved with the film as the exposure would undercut their visas and ability to safely do their renegade work.
The film was a long journey for Zorich. She made 2 trips to the region, the first in 2015, where she laid the groundwork for a longer shoot, meeting the people involved in these rescues. She utilized the footage from the first trip to hone the film she would eventually make- testing the footage with focus groups and took an online course with documentarian Darren Wilson. She returned to the region a year later, shot 600 hours of footage and spent the next 3 years editing her film.
“With this film,” says Zorich, “I set out to not only expose the causations of trafficking, but to reveal practical solutions. My hope is that learning from these brave abolitionists will inspire others to join the fight in whatever way they can.”
Zorich Directed and Produced the film. Landon Satterfield served as the film’s Story Editor as well as Co-Editor with Zorich. The pair worked together over a period of 3 years shaping the story. Zorich’s mother, Academy Award winning actress Olympia Dukakis, came on as a producer during post production, to help complete the film.
“The New Abolitionists,” by Christina Zorich, will screen on Sunday, October 18th, at 2PM at the (virtual) LA Femme International Film Festival, with a Q and A to follow.