Fighting Sex Trafficking With Filmmaking

Editing With A Cause – Taken Photodocumentary

Taken Photodocumentary Ebook

Taken, a photodocumentary ebook, launched last week and available on iPads everywhere from the ibooks store, is out to help fight sex trafficking through a mix of gripping photography and engaging film content. It’s a tough subject matter, gracefully handled by photojournalist Hazel Thompson, a regular shooter for the New York Times and other national outfits, who has spent the last 11 years returning to Mumbai to expose the horrific true stories of the women and children trapped in prostitution.

Editing the Taken Documentary Films

I had the privilege of working on this great project thanks to a connection through a mutual friend of ours, director Roy Petersen, for whom Hazel shot a quirky short documentary about a 102 year old jazz musician and his young, toy shop owning friend, which I later edited. Hazel liked what I’d done and asked me to cut the three short films for this project, which follow the trajectory of the book.

Due to a scheduling conflict I had to cut Taken in every spare evening and weekend I had going over the summer. Working two jobs was gruelling but it always felt well worth it when I finally collapsed in bed after inching the edit forward each night. There was about 24 hours of raw footage to cut down into three, 3-5 minute short films, and thanks to Hazel’s courageous filming effort, an embarrassment of riches to work with.

As a result of all the great source material, plus Roy’s superb interview with Hazel about the making of the book, I ended up creating eight other short making of films, plus the trailer to help promote the book.

Trying to Make A Difference With My Craft

Taken Ebook

Working on Taken was one of those hard, but satisfying gigs where you get to feel like what you have to offer the world, the skills you use every day, can actually be valuable and help to make a difference where it matters most. So I’m really thankful for the opportunity to have edited the films. If you’ve got an ipad, check out the free sampler on the ibooks store and if you feel motivated, buy the book too. All the profits go to help rescue more and more women and children from a slow death in the hellish streets of Mumbai’s Red Light district.  The work Jubilee Campaign and Bombay Teen Challenge do is incredible and well worth supporting.

Leave a Comment