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Exposing Manipulation in the World of Child Advocacy in ‘Selling Our Daughters’

Exposing Manipulation in the World of Child Advocacy in 'Selling Our Daughters'

[Editors Note: Project of the Day is presented in partnership with Blackmagic Design, one of the world’s leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology.]

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Selling Our Daughters

Logline: Exploring the dark side of child advocacy through the story of an “activist” who misrepresents Thai girls as sex trafficking victims.

Elevator Pitch: 
In 2013, we went to northern Thailand to film a story about girls who had been sold into the sex trade by their parents. Our guide was activist Mickey Choothesa. What we discovered instead is that Mickey has been deceiving both the public and those he claims to be helping. Since founding his non-profit organization, Mickey has marketed it as a sanctuary for trafficked and at-risk girls while describing it to the girls it houses and their families only as a unique educational opportunity. The film unfolds as a mystery, revealed to viewers as the filmmakers uncover the deception.

Production Team:
Director/Producer – Josie Swantek Heitz – co-produced the Academy Award®-nominated, Emmy®-winning feature documentary, “War/Dance” (2007); directed the documentary “In the Moment: Amar’e Stoudemire” (2013) for broadcast on EPIX.

Co-Director and Director of Photography – Dave Adams – cinematographer for the EPIX documentary “In the Moment: Amar’e Stoudemire” (2013).

Producer – Susan MacLaury – Executive Producer of the Academy Award®-nominated and two-time Emmy Award®-winning “War/Dance,” Academy Award®-winner “Inocente,” “The Harvest (La Cosecha),” and “1 Way Up in 3D.”

Co-Editor – Chris Tuss – director and editor of Vimeo Staff pick “DCDC.”

Executive Producer – Albie Hecht – has produced narrative, animated, and documentary films, television series, and specials for film and TV for more than 20 years. He oversaw production at Nickelodeon Movies and developed hit series for Nick TV. After creating Spike TV, Albie executive produced the award winning series, “Untold and True Dads.” For Shine, he produced the Emmy Award®-winning, Academy Award®-nominated “War/Dance,” the Academy Award® winner “Inocente,” and “1 Way Up in 3D” and executive produced “The Harvest (La Cosecha).”

About the Film:
Sensational and dramatic storytelling gets ratings, attracts an audience, and helps secure funding but it has a real world, negative impact on those we are (mis)representing. Power dynamics between storytellers, promoters, audiences, and subjects raise difficult ethical questions we face everyday as filmmakers. So when we became entangled in the deception Mickey was perpetrating, we knew we had to keep our promise to the girls and their families to share their story with the world.

Current Status: Post-Production – final finish.

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Project of the Month: Blackmagic Design will award Indiewire’s Project of the Month winners (November, December, January) with one (1) Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 License each. DaVinci Resolve 12 combines professional non-linear video editing with the world’s most advanced color corrector so now you can edit, color correct, finish and deliver all from one system. 

Project of the Year: Blackmagic Design will award Indiewire’s Project of the Year winner (announced in January) with one (1) Blackmagic URSA Mini 4k, the world’s first high end digital film camera designed to revolutionize workflow on set. 

For more information about Blackmagic please visit: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com

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