As a determined proponent for ethical living, I try to do my part in a couple of ways: charitable monthly donations to various groups but also in film-making, my career and passion.
For a couple of years, the film-making didn’t have a particular focus; I was just interested in the medium and wanted to tell stories. I’ve gradually become more visually oriented and am just as keen to shoot the story as to tell it. But the focus of the content has become clearer as I’ve been working more with care-givers, support agencies, churches and disadvantaged people; I see that I am making films about compassion. And empowerment. And vulnerability, empathy, caring, people-over-profits, hope and love. It’s very encouraging to have your eyes opened to ALL the people of this world, not just my immediate community or country, as there are so many amazing stories and people out there. There’s a lot of challenging and often sad stuff that comes with that, but in every struggle, there’s a voice to be heard, someone who has something important to share, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to be listening carefully.
Ethical living in the respect of how we live here (in Australia, in the western world) often comes down to how we spend our money and the footprint that we are leaving on this planet. However, sometimes ethical living needs to be more about the welfare of people afar due to the inequities and injustices that are being done to them as a result of things that aren’t as obvious. Two of those things is human trafficking and international flesh trading. This has become the topic of a documentary that my film partner Jason and I want to shoot for our company Red Earth Films. The film is going to be called Street Dreams.
There are literally millions of children and women (mostly) who are virtually (and sometimes, literally) enslaved as workers in many parts of the world, and often this “work” is in the sex industry. The primary reason for wanted to provide greater exposure for this fact in our film is less because of what they are doing, but how they’ve come to be there. Through an endless cycle of poverty and abuse, these women are forced as children to enter a world where they are prostituting themselves to support their often broken family, broken due to prior abuse but not perpetuated from this line of work selling sex to violent and abusive customers. Often these women (or girls) were raped early on, then are shamed in their community and so feel compelled to, if nothing else, support their family financially as they are now outed for religious or strict cultural reasons. This is very briefly covering only a small part of the problem as there are also the issues of international exploitation, corrupt and seedy lawmakers, unethical and amoral behavior, outdated and unfair male dominance and so much more.
However, our film aims to fuel hope for these girls. They don’t need to feel shame and resort to the sex trade. Nor must they feel that this will go on forever; with small NGOs and individuals out helping girls become educated, trained in other areas and having their self-confidence restored, there is a great deal of action on the ground that provides a reason for hopefulness. We aim to explore the people who are providing this hopeful light as well as exploring what personal dreams and ambitions the girls have as they go down the road to potential rehabilitation.Seeing them overcome the inequities of their world and rise above it would be an amazing thing to see and capture in our story.
We’re very excited about this project and are currently fundraising to be able to visit South-East Asia to shoot the film in a couple of months. If this sounds interesting to you, please visit our website for more info. We feel it’s an important story to tell and everyone is better off when injustices like this are exposed and action is taken.