COLDWATER – With a feature film “Ring of Silence,” and four local showings on April 12, Branch County Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (BCCADSV) along with Tibbits Opera Foundation and Arts Council Inc. bring the issue of human trafficking to the forefront of our community for awareness and discussion.
According to Kim Hemker, Executive Director of BCCADSV, “Although many people think that human trafficking doesn’t happen here, I am here to tell you that it does.” She adds, “We can’t stop the fact that we have people who are willing to sacrifice human beings to make money or to have control. What we CAN do is educate our community to make sure that we say NO MORE of this in Branch County.”
The human trafficking epidemic has victimized over 8,000 people just in Michigan in the last decade alone. That’s why director Nicole Bowers Wallace, with an incredible team, made this powerful feature film. This is a film everyone needs to see. Organizers recommend it for students in middle school and up. Students need to understand that the perpetrators look like the handsome young men in their school, like the kid on Instagram or Snapchat, like the person next door.
Tibbits is teaming with BCCADSV to present the film at the Tibbits Opera House. Showings will be at 8:30 am, 11:00 am, 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm. All showings are free and will be followed by discussion of the film and the issues it raises. The 11:00 am showing will include a box lunch and is eligible for CEU credits. Donations will be accepted to help cover costs. Discussion materials will be available at all showings to assist in continuing the education at home, in neighborhoods, classrooms or the workplace. The message of the event: “It’s time to speak louder than the silence.”
The feature film stars Ava Deluca-Verley, Brian J. O’Donnell, and Brandon Bulter. When a young girl falls in love with a sweet and charming stranger, she soon finds out that her fairy tale doesn’t lead to wonderland, but to a far seedier underbelly of society.
Director Nicole Bowers Wallace says in a statement on her film:
“RING OF SILENCE explores love, manipulation, betrayal, and exploitation. It captures the essence of victims whether male or female, city or rural, regardless of race, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, and the seemingly uninformed adults who are supposed to protect them. It shows how this world happens right in front of their eyes, and how the signs are lost in everyday life.
...Trafficking happens in our local schools, at sports events, in local truck stops, high end hotels, even in homes in your neighborhood. And yet, most of us are unaware. Worst of all, our teens are unaware. And that makes them easier targets. This film was created to passionately tell the stories of countless victims who have been trapped, bought, and sold into the underground world of human sex trafficking. It was designed for viewers to witness the signs, the terror and manipulation that this business entails, no matter how hard it is to see.”
“Bringing this movie to our community is very important,” says Hemker. “What it takes to stop this is educated students, educated parents and educated community members.” BCCADSV will be a resource for the education but Hemker says, “You have to show up.” The intention of the film and the dialogue is to make it clear there are people who are willing to commit these atrocities. Hemker added, “The children in our community, like anywhere else, are susceptible to this grooming process. We hope you come to the movie and open your eyes to how it can happen.”
BCCADSV will also be scheduling forums in the days following the movie at its new downtown Coldwater location at 117 West Chicago St. The forum is designed for more conversation and to answer questions on issues raised by the movie. Those dates will be posted at the movie.
All showings are general admission, groups larger than 20 may call Tibbits ahead at 517-278-6029 to assure seating together. Reservations are required for the 11 am showing which includes lunch. Reservations for 11 am may be made on line at http://tibbits.org/events/tibbits-and-bccadsv-presents-ring-of-silence/.