Wednesday, October 14, 2020

“The New Abolitionists” Documentary to Compete for Top Prize at the 16th Annual LA Femme International Film Festival. LISTEN to Janeane's conversation with Actress/Producer Christina Zorich and Editor/Story Consultant Landon Satterfield

LOS ANGELES – October 8, 2020 -- “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. The film will screen on Sunday, October 18th, at 2PM at the (virtual) LA Femme International Film Festival, with a Q and A to follow.

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. 

In the words of Christina Zorich
Executive Producer/Director
The New Abolitionists is beyond a passion project for me.

For the past 35 years, I’ve been a working professional actor, acting teacher, director and producer. I’ve trained, taught and performed in some prestigious and respected theaters and training institutions on the East and West Coast; producing music videos, a web series and plays. However, my life changed a few years ago during a chance meeting in Hollywood. I met Erica Greve of Unlikely Heroes.

Like many people I’ve met, the human sex trafficking industry was a subject that was not even close to being on my radar. Yet, when Erica exposed and expressed to me the intense level of suffering she had witnessed of its victims first hand, I knew I was incapable of turning a blind eye. She then further shared how being a registered nurse herself had made her aware of the lack of treatment and medical facilities available to these victims. She had now committed her life to building, staffing, and the operation of homes for women and children who needed a place to, in essence, rehabilitate. She and her staff were in a constant process of rescuing and providing the important aftercare young women and children needed from this horrific industry.

Her story compelled me into action. I gave her contacts of every director and filmmaker I knew, hoping they could shoot footage for her NGO, Unlikely Heroes, to fundraise the materials, resources and expenses needed. Unfortunately, everyone requested money to film. Erica’s response to me was, “Christina, all money has to go to the girls.” It was in this moment I realized: acts of service, small and large, were required to fight this fight. This is when I first got the idea for The New Abolitionists.

I spent the next few years educating myself; researching and investigating human sex trafficking. I began an apprenticeship under a respected documentarian. I took classes and committed myself to a mission trip to Thailand and Cambodia with a ministry and began shooting.

Since that initial trip in October 2015, we returned for a second trip in September 2016 and shot for a month and a half. The combination of the two trips has given us compelling footage. We have spent four years in post production, piecing together an hour and thirty-eight minutes that we hope deeply impacts and educates our viewers. We hope we’ve crafted a project that not only illuminates the subject but compels the audience to join the fight. Our content exposes causes and conditions, complex realities, while offering effective solutions.

Landon Satterfield
Editor & Story Consultant

Landon is a film editor, actor, writer, and motion graphics artist living in Los Angeles, California. He was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas and lived in Oklahoma for most of his life. From a very early age, Landon was intrigued by the film-making process and demonstrated that curiosity through art and illustration. Developing that creative muscle led him to a year of graphic design school and a three year media internship.

After working for eight years as an on-staff video and camera director, Landon moved to Los Angeles to expand that career, where he was brought on as the fine-cut editor for The New Abolitionists.

Landon was also the editor of the documentary feature al’ Amriki: The American, colorist on the short film The Shoes of Hayim, trailer editor for the feature Toss It, motion graphics animator for The Cozy Robot Show, editor and animator for Small Water youtube series, and editor of the award winning short film The Uterus Chat.

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