There are movies that move you, but the goal of a movie with Bakersfield ties is to move you to action. The people behind it want to get everyone to do something to stop human sex trafficking. The movie is called "Trade of Innocents." It debuts next month, but its Bakersfield producer allowed 17 News and a theater full of others to preview it Thursday hoping to create a buzz and spread the message.
Before the film rolled at Maya Cinemas, "Trade of Innocents" co-producer, Jim Schmidt, shared his passion for this project with a packed theater.
The movie is about human sex trafficking, in particular, young girls being sold into the practice in Cambodia. An American investigator is trying to break up the criminal ring.
"We wanted to move people, but we mostly wanted to move people to action and really empower them," said Schmidt.
It's the same empowerment Schmidt experienced when Dr. Bill Bolthouse, part of the local Bolthouse family farming, approached the producer about exposing the issue in such a big way, on the big screen, an audience won't be able to ignore it.
"Most of us take things in life for granted," said Dee Slade with the African American Network of Kern County who watched the movie. "Well, this is a home run."
"We can't any longer just bury our heads in the sand and and think it's not happening right here also," said Cynthia Giumarra with Canyon Hills Assembly of God. "And, the more we know, the more we are equipped with knowledge, the more we are going to be able to do something about it."
"This movie makes the point that it surrounds us and I think if you talk to local law enforcement, they'll tell you it's here. It's everywhere," said Gregory D. Bynum after seeing the movie.
In this case, education is the tool and Schmidt is trying to spread the knowledge of the issue through the preview showing and a Bakersfield symposium to open up the discussion of human sex trafficking.
"You hear people on the news say I wouldn't have done anything that anyone else would have done. And that's what we want thousands of people to say. But, they can only do that when they have the information and are moved to act," said Schmidt.
"Trade of Innocents" opens in Bakersfield October 12th at Maya Cinemas.
The day after, Saturday, October 13th is when CSUB will host a symposium to see and talk about the movie and human sex trafficking with law enforcement, the FBI, and local leaders. It's at 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM at the Icardo Center.
Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for general admission.
Go to www.tradeofinnocents.com for more information.
If you are interested in sponsoring the symposium, email Joseph Hanson at email@example.com.