The Sound of Freedom: The Movie That Is Making A Difference “The Sound of Freedom,” an upcoming thriller directed by Alejandro Monteverde, is based on the true story of former CIA agent Tim Ballard, who left the CIA to combat child sex trafficking. Jim Caviezel will be playing the role of Ballard. This movie will not only provide entertainment to movie-goers but will also raise awareness of global human trafficking and start necessary conversations about the issue. The film should release in 2020 and is a movie that is making a difference.

Who is Tim Ballard?

Timothy Ballard is the founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad. The former CIA agent spent 10 years working on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. He also worked for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team as an undercover operative. Ballard worked undercover in the U.S. and in many foreign countries, where he was able to rescue numerous children from sex slavery and bring traffickers to justice. In 2013, Ballard left his job to start Operation Underground Railroad.

What is Operation Underground Railroad?

Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) is a nonprofit organization that exists “to rescue children from sex trafficking” through coordinated rescue and recovery planning. Since its start in 2013, O.U.R. has rescued over 3,000 victims and arrested more than 1,800 traffickers. Through partnerships and empowering others, it has collectively rescued over 10,000 survivors.

“The Sound of Freedom”

Jim Caviezel, most known for his role as Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” will portray Timothy Ballard in “The Sound of Freedom.” According to Deseret News, Caviezel says it is “the second most important film” he has ever done. Caviezel went on to talk about the importance of this film, saying it will “bring a light into the darkness.” In preparation for the film, Caviezel shadowed Ballard at O.U.R. and even had the opportunity to witness a rescue operation in Latin America before filming began.

How Will “The Sound of Freedom” Make a Difference?

“The Sound of Freedom” will make a difference because it is starting a conversation about something that people do not often talk about. Recently, Tim Ballard made an appearance on Dr. Oz along with American author Tim Robbins to address sex trafficking. During the special, Ballard spoke of the challenge of getting people aware of child sex trafficking, as it “rips your heart out” and is something that is difficult to come to terms with.

Dr. Oz went on to say “none of us want to hear about children being abused,” but that addressing it is the only way to combat it.

According to Operation Underground Railroad, 2 million children currently face sexual exploitation around the globe, a majority of whom are girls. Human trafficking is the fastest-growing form of international crime and is the third most profitable business of organized crime behind drugs and arms.

“The Sound of Freedom” is the movie that is making a difference through raising awareness and starting critical conversations about global human trafficking. It will give an inside look at Operation Underground Railroad, the heart behind it and the evils O.U.R. fights every day.

Megan McKeough
Photo: Flickr

African Movies Addressing Poverty Under the deep turmoil of an economic crisis surrounded by political unrest and social change, Africa has a rich culture in film. Directors in African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are using the art of film-making to address real issues of poverty in the country. This further showcases the ability of movies to serve as a vehicle for social change. This article will highlight five African movies addressing poverty.

Considered the poorest continent on Earth, one in three people in Africa lives below the poverty line. In particular, children and women share the greatest burden of poverty. In the midst of the dire situation in Africa, the movie industry is attempting to shed light on the poverty crisis. Actors, actresses and directors alike are using film to touch the hearts of the viewers. Through these cinematic opportunities, they hope people will take action.

5 African Movies Addressing Poverty

  1. Knuckle City. Written and directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka, this oscar-nominated movie follows the story of Dude Nyakama. Nyakama is a struggling boxer who uses the sport to keep himself out of poverty. The movie challenges the cultural norms of masculinity and punishes misogynists for their actions. At its core, Knuckle City is a call to action. The film shows viewers the detrimental consequences of a poverty-stricken, corrupt misogynist and violent society.
  2. Hyenas. This film takes place in a Senegalese village where the elders of the community must sell their possessions to save themselves as poverty rises. However, a surprise visit from a former resident has the villagers hopeful that the visitor will donate. Alas, upon learning that the woman has other plans, the residents realize the price they must pay. The movie looks at the desperate actions people in need will take and the way human folly can lead those in poverty down the wrong path.
  3. The First Grader. Based on a true story, this movie emphasizes the importance of education. An 84-year-old Kenyan villager and veteran fights for his right to go to school after being denied the right as a child due to a lack of money. The movie is a triumphant testimony to the force of education. Further, it shows just how important it is for education to be affordable for all social classes.
  4. Neria. As Zimbabwe’s highest-grossing film, this movie analyzes the issues faced by a rural woman left in poverty. When Jesesi Mungoshi loses her husband, her farm and her livelihood, she is forced to find a way to survive in a time where women are considered inferior. Her journey is empowering. Ultimately, her defiance of cultural norms leads her on a path to independence.
  5. Stealing Africa. Companies have extracted more than $29 billion worth of copper from Zambia in the last 10 years. However, the country remains one of the poorest in the world. Stealing Africa exposes foreign corporations for the culprits they are. In the documentary, an investigation finds that all the money lost due to “dodgy tax practices” could amount to 10 times the international aid that Zambia currently receives. Essentially, if foreign corporations were to follow tax regulations, Zambia’s development would significantly improve.

The film industry in Africa is taking a creative twist on the war against extreme poverty. The writers and directors involved are creating stories that capture one’s attention and characters that steal your heart. These African movies addressing poverty are prompting viewers to take action.

Shvetali Thatte
Photo: Pixabay

Documentaries About MigrationDocumentaries are often a great resource for gaining insight on a particular topic. In recent years, various journalists, filmmakers and documentarians have played a key role in telling the stories of those suffering from socio-political unrest occurring around the world. These stories include key humanitarian issues, such as migration resulting from crises. Not only do these crises displace millions of lives, but they also create an imbalance, leading to migrants who must endure poor living conditions. As such, documentaries about migration are extremely popular. They portray global migration crises from the perspective of those most affected. Here are the top five documentaries about migration.

Top 5 Documentaries About Migration

  1. 4.1 Miles (2016)
    A story about a Hellenic coast guard captain on a small Greek island who suddenly becomes in charge of saving thousands of refugees from drowning during the European migration crisis gives the viewers hope for humanity. The film was a winner of the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award at the 2016 IDA Documentary Awards and was an Academy Award® Short Subject nominee.
  2. Human Flow (2017)
    Human Flow takes the viewer across the globe through 23 countries. It highlights urgent stories of victims of the various refugee crisis and shows the plight of those looking for a safe space to live in. For Ai Weiwei, “the purpose of (the documentary) is to show it to people of influence, people who are in a position to help and who have a responsibility to help.”
  3. Stranger in Paradise (2016)
    Stranger in Paradise is a mixture of fiction and documentary that depicts an actor in a classroom of a detention center telling refugees about what Europeans think of them. It reflects on the powerful relation between the Europeans and refugees in a candid manner and highlights the emotion most people feel while they have to go through the turmoil of displacement.
  4. City of Ghosts (2017)
    This film is a story of brave citizen journalists who face the realities of life undercover, in exile and on the run to stand against the violence that is taking place in the city of Raqqa in Syria. This film has used the camera as a powerful weapon to show the circumstances that have shaped the lives of people in Syria and has highlighted the turmoil in Syria in a great way.
  5. The Good Postman (2016)
    This film follows Ivan, the local postman in a quiet Bulgarian community on the Turkish border, as he decides to run for mayor. He then campaigns to bring the aging village to life by welcoming refugees. Some in the community support Ivan, while others resist his campaign. The film highlights the importance of a global discussion, depicting the plight of refugees and how they are perceived around the globe.

These five documentaries about migration enable viewers to understand migrants by portraying the conflicts driving migration through a personal lens. By diving into the lives of those impacted, these films tell a larger story about humanity as a whole.

Isha Akshita Mahajan
Photo: Flickr

Movies to Africa
Mobile network provider MTN Ghana has partnered with African Movies on the GO (AMGO), a content provider, to provide over one billion movie lovers access to any of their favorite movies online using their smartphone devices.

The AMGO app will put unlimited African entertainment in the hands of movie lovers on the continent and abroad at a moderate cost. Users can easily watch downloaded videos offline anywhere and anytime on their smart mobile device, and movies can be paid for using MTN Mobile Money or any other electronic payment service of choice.

Apps like AMGO are especially important in the drive to connect more smartphone users in Africa. The continent is already seeing substantial positive change, with the number of smartphone connections almost doubling over the last two years, reaching 226 million. This means that today more than half a billion people across Africa subscribe to mobile services, with the number expected to grow to 725 million by 2020.

The mobile ecosystem indirectly and directly contributed to 3.7 million jobs in 2015. This could potentially help the continent grow its job sector; and if mobile device prices continue to drop as they have, Africa could potentially move over the affordability barrier.

The AMGO app will help the continent do just that by promoting digital access to media and entertainment. The app, specifically, could present a great opportunity for African movie producers according to the CEO of AMGO Group LLC, Nana Osei Aboagye. Equally important, it will also sell African content to the outside world in an effort to change the narrative of the continent.

The ultimate hope is to enhance the lives of the users by enabling them access to these benefits. Currently, the app is available on Google Play for Android devices, but the company plans to get other operating systems on board.

With the release of the AMGO app, Africa will take a big step forward in its digital revolution and enhance its people’s lives.

Mayan Derhy

Photo: Flickr

RefugeesFilm is undoubtedly one of the most compelling forms of storytelling and some of the most powerful yet untold stories are those of the refugees.  Many millions have left their homelands and travelled across the globe throughout history, inspiring film-makers to capture their journeys. Here are four movies about refugees—two older, fictional films and two newer, real-life stories—that portray the experiences of refugees in an important and meaningful way. Although this list is only comprised of four movies about refugees, hundreds of documentaries, feature films and shorts are available online and in stores.

Fiction

In This World (2002): Shot like a documentary, In This World portrays two Afghan refugees’ land journey. Unlike many other fictitious films about refugees, this film shows a fairly complete picture of a refugee’s journey, which includes the endless hours of waiting, hours of panic, and brief, beautiful moments of hope.

Welcome (2009): A beautiful, artistic and rather unsentimental picture of one Iraqi Kurd’s attempt to swim the English Channel in order to gain asylum, this French film portrays the stark situation of many homeless refugees living in France at the time and the legal dangers that awaited the French people who helped asylum-seekers.

Documentaries

The Land Between (2014): Documenting the everyday lives of Sub-Saharan migrants trapped between their homelands and the prospect of a new life in Europe, The Land Between addresses one of the most important questions of all migrant crises, whether past, present or future: why, and how, do people risk their lives and everything they own?

Neuland (2015): Neuland explores the lives of immigrants and refugees from all over the globe as they acclimate to life in Switzerland. Following the students in one class, the film shows the hardships and joys of building a new life in a foreign country.

In addition to many other full-length fictitious and real-life movies about refugees, many organizations, like Amnesty International, compile short films to spread awareness about refugees. In the end, whether short or long, real or imagined, movies about refugees provide an invaluable window into the lives of victims from all over the world.

Sage Smiley

Photo: Flickr

Human_Right
Movies about human rights have the power to make the problems of distant countries personal to viewers. Whether it is a documentary or a fictional story, the impact of film can be extraordinary. These five movies are just a few of the films that highlight human rights issues throughout the world.

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Hotel Rwanda depicts the atrocities of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Following decades of power struggles between Hutus and Tutsis, the Hutu government sought to cleanse the country of Tutsis. This infamous movie about human rights is based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, who opened his hotel to Tutsi refugees during the conflict despite being a Hutu himself.

While the Rwandan genocide occurred over two decades ago, the country still faces crippling poverty. The film illustrates the effect of violence and civil war on already vulnerable nations.

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Beasts of No Nation never reveals the country it is set in. However, the events within the film continue to happen in various regions. The main character, Agu, loses his family to the violence around him. He is eventually forced to become a child soldier and goes on to commit atrocious crimes.

Sierra Leone, Uganda and Sudan are among the various African regions where child soldiers are recruited. The film highlights the effects of poverty and conflict on children within war-torn nations.

India’s Daughter (2015)

India’s Daughter follows the aftermath of the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh in 2012. The event, which took place in an off duty bus, raised various concerns throughout the country about women’s safety. The documentary interviews a wide array of individuals including Singh’s parents, the parents of the accused and the bus driver.

The documentary brings India’s gender bias to the forefront as it depicts the various protests that emerged following the crime.

5 Broken Cameras (2011)

5 Broken Cameras is a documentary shot by Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer, in a West Bank village known as Bil’in. The film is also co-directed by Isreali filmmaker, Guy Davidi.

The documentary depicts life in the West Bank through footage of protests and Burnat’s own family. The film gives raw insight into the lives of those living within an unstable and impoverished region; it is one of the great movies about human rights.

When Elephants Fight (2015)

This film highlights the underbelly of consumerism and its implications in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Electronics companies desire minerals from this region to manufacture their products. However, this practice has led to an illegal mineral trade as well as the rise of warlords within the country.

The documentary calls for companies to hold themselves accountable for the war and poverty that plagues the nation.

Movies about human rights are important and informative as global communities work together to end abuses against the most vulnerable individuals and groups.

Saroja Koneru

Photo: Flickr