A bit of publicity is all we ask for, and the local newspaper in Sidney, BC delivered. We hope to garner a bit more before the event on the 22nd of July but this is a good start:
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Red Earth is proud to announce that we are going to create a brand new documentary called STREET DREAMS: MONSTERS, MAFIAS AND MANIPULATORS.
This is a follow up to the original Street Dreams doco and will focus on the baddies – those responsible for trafficking and enslaving vulnerable people. Once again your favourite fearless filmmakers will go into the dark corners of the globe seeking to uncover the harsh realities of this $32 billion a year criminal industry. This doco will be the next step in a four-part documentary series which, we envision, will become a comprehensive resource on human trafficking and slavery in this modern age. Big stuff huh?
Red Earth Films is proud to announce that world-renowned anti-crime organisation CrimeStoppers International is officially endorsing the Street Dreams initiative. Having a well-respected organization like CrimeStoppers onboard is a major boost for us in so many ways as we seek to dig deeper into such a widespread and complicated area like human trafficking and slavery. We are hoping that this partnership will be just one of many partnerships that we develop on this important journey.
Stay tuned for more exciting developments as we start to plan for this next stage of the Street Dreams odyssey… and thanks again for your amazing continued support!
A new lease on life for Glenda
Jason recently returned to The Philippines, flying in from his new home in north Thailand to catch up with people like Marlene Alastra of FOCUS Inc, Dr. Paulo Fuller and Diane all of whom appeared in Street Dreams and continue to play a part in the trafficking world. Here are some thoughts of his recent experience as he went to show the film to everyone there for the first time…
All my trips to the Philippines are best summarised by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the song “Aeroplane” – pleasure spiked with pain. The pain could be better described as heartache. Hopefully the following account sheds some light on what I’m talking about.
I have arranged to visit Dr. Paulo Fuller, the English expert from Street Dreams, to show him the documentary. Pretty straightforward, right? But this is the Philippines we are talking about here folks…
We meet late in the afternoon but he tells me that at about 6pm he has to meet up with a French film crew who are going to film him delivering some sort of official documentation to a German guy. The documentation is informing the German that he has to front up to court the next day so that he can start taking responsibility for the Filipino child he has conceived, and is also rejecting. He said this showdown would take an hour. I thought: Sounds great! On meeting the crew, I am informed that this guy might get violent therefore could I please come along and stop the German from beating the Englishman (this is how America must have felt during WW2). I’ve never bashed a German on camera before, so hey, why not? We then spent the next 8 hours going in and out of clubs (brothels), housing estates and 5 star hotels.
Many of these clubs we filmed in Street Dreams, but then there was one that was definitely different. When we walked in the door, it was the usual fare: bored and embarrassed half-naked girls swaying to the music, praying that no ugly white guy would seek their company. But then suddenly one of the girls leapt on stage with microphone and sung with all the gusto of Christina Aguilera. The girls around her immediately broke into a syncronised dance routine. Is this a girly club or a cabaret?? Only in the Philippines.
The night for me finished at 2am when it seemed our German sleazebag gave us a slip. I found out later that they caught up with him and the German man, and, upon receiving his documentation, proceeded to bash the French crew (again, just like WW2).
This time it was Marlene and Diane’s turn. We sat down and watched Street Dreams together. Diane was blushing but I could tell she was rather pleased. We then decided to head out to see what the other girls from the Street Dreams doco were doing. First we hit the Cabao street side intersection where we found Glenda looking quite happy selling candy and girl’s headbands in an alleyway. Her children were playing nearby on a cardboard box. Obviously this was not ideal, but it was certainly better then seeing her selling her body. I bought some candy for the kids. However, just around the corner was a mother with a young baby. She should have had a young son with her as well, but the 3 year-old had recently died from tonsilitis. How does a child die of tonsilitis in this day and age? Marlene showed me the photo of the deceased boy who was the same age as my little boy. I am not ashamed to admit I shed a few tears over that one. It hit home pretty hard.
After catching a bus and a few jeepneys, we arrived back at the infamous row of brothels along Commonwealth Avenue. I thought we would return to the dingy dive that inspired Remember Seven’s Red Lit Stage song and music clip, but we went to a bar that was worse. I didn’t think that was possible, but it honestly looked like a shed that a farmer would keep a tractor in – no joke! As we sat in this barn, we looked across the room and saw five young horrified faces staring up at the stage. These were 16 year-old girls who had just wandered into the bar seeking work and they were beginning to realise the reality of what they were getting themselves into. I asked Diane whether these girls got any advice, training or support from the older girls or mamasans before they were to get their first customer. Nope, they had to figure it out the hard way. Looking at their young faces, Marlene and I were heartbroken at the thought that this dirty, ugly environment was the place they would lose their innocence.
I wasn’t going to let this den of sin have the last word. The DJ starting playing “Gangnam Style” over the speakers and since the joint was empty, I grabbed Diane, jumped up on the vacant stage and got her to teach me this dance in front of the girls. Frowns turned to smiles as the mighty Braytrain displayed for the first time in a long time why he was the joke of Mansfield High school dances. Okay, so I was bit uncoordinated and I embarrassed Diane to death, but I hope I bought a bit of laughter to a place that doesn’t see much of that.
– – O – –
So there it is, pleasure spiked with pain in my first trip back to the Philippines since we completed Street Dreams. Amongst the smiles and the tears I left those islands realising that Street Dreams was just the beginning, and that there are a lot more stories worldwide for Red Earth Films to tell. Some of those stories are about despair, some of them are about the human spirit, sometimes it will be about both. Either way, the challenge is before us and all our supporters to get out there and make it happen.
Hey folks, it been a bit quiet on the Street Dreams/ Red Earth front recently. We’ve been busy with personal transitions (ie. Jason moving to Thailand), trying to cover our bases with distribution, waiting on film festivals and examining new and exciting directions, particularly in North America. There is a possibility Street Dreams will be hitting Mike’s home turf of Canada in mid-2013.
Stay tuned and please keep supporting our effort! Our DVD is for sale and can be used to show friends and family or we also do public screening licenses so you can show your school, church or organisation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need some extra info to help get the word out. We are wholly committed to helping to change perceptions and this industry and we hope we can count on your support to assist with that change. It only takes one person changing another person’s life to be worth it….!
Our friend Rebekah Lambert of Unashamedly Creative has written a great article on her zine/portal called “Discordia” where she outlines a plea to readers to pay attention to the plights of the girls in the sex industry as told by our Street Dreams film.
We greatly appreciate her insight and generosity in time and support to publish this article and promote our film to others. Discordia is a zine “for women by women” so we feel privileged to be recognised for the great respect we have for women as demonstrated by our film.
Check out what Bek had to say:
We’ve had a number of groups take the initiative lately to help get folks seeing Street Dreams and continue to raise funds for Red Earth as well as anti-trafficking groups FOCUS and Destiny Rescue. It is this kind of initiative that really is inspiring to see and we are grateful for this kind of amazing generosity of time and interest in the issue. Some highlights of recent events:
On top of that, we’ve had an impassioned individual decide to donate fortnightly to us in order to support what we are doing. We are deeply thankful for such generosity as it shows a commitment and validation of the work we are doing.
Thanks to everyone who is working hard so far for us. We are hoping that with the release of our DVD this week, we will start seeing more groups gaining traction in the fight against human trafficking.
I don’t think we could have forged on the Street Dreams Australian Tour this year without the support of audience members, friends and family, both from a production and fundraising point of view, but also as the Tour went on. It was physically and emotionally tiring being on the road for 5 weeks especially directly following a 7-day/week lead up to the event getting the film completed and the tour all prepared. Besides having people coming up to us and personally thanking us for the film, it was great to see the kind words that people offered through text & email messages, this blog site and Facebook. I have just put a few special notes here that warm our hearts and help us to continue on our quest! (I’ve listed the quotes anonymously so I don’t have to chase everyone up for their consent! 🙂
“You did an amazing job capturing the voice of each girl, their heart and both my husband and I were very moved. Thank goodness that there are men in this world that will stand up for these girls and help them rather than abuse them.” ~ MT
“Thanks to these men who are not afraid to stand up to injustice or to push the boundaries on what is too much for sacrifice to save a life…even if it means coming to Tassie! We stand with you!” ~ AG
“What an awesome effort you guys are making towards creating change in the world. Totally humbling.” ~ JW
“Thanks to all those involved in the making of this film…I was so inspired and challenged by the film and the discussion afterwards.” ~ AM
“Saw this film in Maroochydore last night! Wow! A must-see! Has re-enforced our conviction that we need to do something. Looking fwd to getting to Cambodia in Oct. Katie Wallis is right – it’s going to take an army of people working alongside each other to stop human trafficking…” ~ SJD
“I am so proud of you both and the gargantuan effort you have injected into this project. To take an idea all the way from inception to a finished product that can move and inspire others is what film making is all about and I feel that you have achieved more with this truly international documentary than many film makers ever will….Stay the course, you’re doing something special and magnificent.” ~ DS
“Just wanted to let you know how much your movie has inspired me…I don’t think I will get much sleep tonight as you have me so excited to get out there and do something about the issue. Thank you so much. It’s something I have wanted to do for so long but you have given me the extra push I need.” ~ A
Of course, one of the best was from our new friend Christine McPherson on NSW’s Central Coast, who wrote a beautiful blog posting that we previously posted on this site, but here it is again if you didn’t see it…
There were a heap more similar comments and we thank everyone who took the time to not only see the film and hear us out, but responded so graciously with their positive words. Thank you!!