Countdown…

Time is getting every-so-much shorter until we lift off to SE Asia and get shooting of the Street Dreams documentary underway. Jason and Mike leave Brisbane on 25th, arriving in Chiang Rai late on the 26th. It’s currently high 30’s in temp throughout Asia with a typhoon due to make land in the Philippines this week (that can move on before we get there, thank you very much…!). Our host group, Destiny Rescue, managed to free 6 young women from a life of slavery in brothels this week, so we’re excited to get to see them at work; we know that we have our work cut out for us though trying to entice some of the girls to share their story.

From those of you interested in our tech set-up, here is a pic with Mike’s new rig, courtesy of clever and creative gear-builder Ricky who has spent the last couple of weeks constructing an aluminium structure and focus system for the cameras:

The set-up in the photo includes a home-made-but-you-wouldn’t-know-it follow-focus, stabiliser structure for smooth tracking shots, quick-release for a monopod (which also helps with stabilisation), pivoting top handle/cold shoe for the light plus Ricky’s donated Rode video mic (along with a second camera body & lens). The mic plugs into a Zoom H4 SD recorder, and Mike’s backing everything up to a new Hyperdrive UDMA system that allows us to stick SD cards into a device that saves straight to swappable 2.5″ hard drives, eliminating the need for a laptop. We’re also sporting two HD spycams and a large variety of battery chargers/adapters/cables to make everything work in Asia.

Still lots to do before heading off this week! Be sure to keep an eye on the blog starting from late this week when we’ll be trying to keep you informed about the stuff that’s going on with photos and so on. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that everything is safe and goes well!

Flights locked in!

Over 26,000 kms of flights to travel for this documentary, booked! Planning travel arrangements from a complex array of schedules, dates, costs and needs is more time-consuming than you might think! After conferring with our foreign hosts, we have managed to string together a variety of arrangements that will include airplanes, boats, buses and trains not to mention the variety of local transport types we will engage with. Our adventures will take us through 5 countries (if you include the one-night stopover in Brunei!), with some of the highlights being:

  • heading straight to the north of Thailand as soon as we arrive to see firsthand the work that Destiny Rescue is doing with their team there and the hundreds of rescued girls who live in their safe houses there. We will hopefully be involved in a rescue operation for which “spy cameras” have been acquired(!!)
  • down to Bangkok the following week to get into the gritty city, going to the heart of where some of the most objectionable activity takes place; stay tuned for some colourful stories being told in this blog once we’re there!
  • then it’s over to Cambodia for a few days to see some of the interesting things that Destiny Rescue are doing in the big city of Phnom Penh. We will be accompanied by our Destiny Rescue host, Tony, all the way through these locations. On a personal note, we are going to hook up with a designer friend who lives in the city there too
  • from there we go up to north Laos for an exciting shoot with some Aussie fellas who are riding their motorbikes across SE Asia, promoting for the same thing we want: greater human trafficking awareness, showing the locals that we Westerners are not going to stand for it either! This should be great, especially nice in the gorgeous setting of Luang Prabang.
  • Jason and I are hoping to take a boat down back to Thailand on the Mekong river for a couple of days of personal R&R before shooting down to Bangkok again to fly to the Philippines
  • the final week of our trip will be with the fine folks of FOCUS, who will give us the Filipino perspective on human trafficking, one that includes women actively working in the industry. We hope to gain a lot from our time there.
  • we have a lengthy adventure back to home (Mike especially, who has a few hours more getting to Adelaide once Jason is back in Brisbane!), brandishing many hours of amazing footage to cut together into a powerful series of films for our various audiences!

It’s all coming up to us quickly, so stay tuned for more updates as our launch to Asia looms closer. Once we get on the road, there should be regular updates as we imagine interesting things will unfold daily!

early May mini-update

Well, we came back from Easter break last week and got straight to business. Prior to Easter and following our successful fundraising campaign with Pozible, we confirmed that Destiny Rescue would be partnering with us to greatly enhance our documentary. While the strength of FOCUS in Manila will help drive this project, we were seeking a greater cross-section of experiences and points of view from other regions that face similar challenges when it comes to the sex-trade and human trafficking. With Destiny Rescue on side, we will be able to utilise their experience and have them guide us to valuable shooting locales in order that we get as close as possible to the action. In return, they will benefit from our footage in terms of marketing themselves to their audience and enhancing their ability to speak to a broader audience about what they do. We are very excited about this arrangement and from what we’ve heard, they are too.

Within the next few days, we’ll have sorted out our itinerary and booked our tickets for the trip. Stops we are currently planning will include Bangkok and Chiang Rai in Thailand, Phnom Penh in Cambodia plus northern border towns, a couple of locations in Laos including Viang Chan (Vientiane) and then Manila in the Philippines. When we have a confirmed itinerary, we’ll post a map on the blog and some more details.

Other than that, we’re nailing down our shooting script, finding the right gear and finding there’s interested people who want to be involved!

As we mentioned during the Pozible fundraising campaign, the $13,500 target was a bare-minimum and we can use any more help than you can provide. Please tell others who might be interested in being involved financially or some other way (we’ve had equipment, crew and accommodation help already…all of this is HUGE in making this film happen). We’re still making this film on fumes so if you want to be involved in something IMPORTANT and MEANINGFUL that you can feel GREAT about, please help us out!

Stay tuned for another update soon once we have our schedule and itinerary nailed down!