Director and producer expound on the film’s mission.
By Raif Karerat
“Sold,” a feature film adaptation of Patricia McCormick’s novel of the same name, has garnered praise for its insight into the horrors of global human trafficking.
Adapted by Joseph Kwong and Jeffrey D. Brown — who also directed the feature — and executive produced by Emma Thompson, the film depicts the trials and tribulations of a 12-year-old girl as she fights for freedom after being taken from her mountain village in Nepal and trafficked to a brothel in India.
“Sold,” which features Gillian Anderson, David Arquette, and newcomer Niyar Saikia in its leading roles, began screening in the United States in April and will continue through June at limited theatres across the nation.
Speaking to the American Bazaar at George Washington University, in Washington, DC, where the movie was premiered April 21, Brown explained that the film’s narrative is an overarching commentary on the plight of abused children around the world.
“The reason we made this movie is to help kids that are at risk in India, Nepal and the U.S.,” Brown remarked. “When I read the book [“Sold”], I was so deeply touched. It’s one girl’s story and this one girl’s story speaks for something like 1.8 million children who are forced in to sexual slavery every year.”
Being an Indian American, ‘Sold’ was a very personal journey: Seirah Royin
Producer Jane Charles echoed Brown’s sentiment, noting the film as an “awareness tool” for organizations that are actively seeking to stem the tide of international child trafficking.
“We wanted to help real children but we knew that there were other organizations that were doing the work on the ground,” she said. “We never knew the extent of how involved we would get with the non-profits … We had hoped that they would want use this film and once people started seeing [it], we saw the power of it … we know this is something that will help bring awareness.”
Following the adaptation of “Sold” to the cinematic medium, the film’s creators joined forces with various activist initiatives, including the “Taught Not Trafficked” campaign, which puts schools at the center of community development in Nepal in order to prevent child trafficking.
“If you educate a kid until they are 16 the chances of them being trafficked will weigh down,” Brown explained.
“We decided early-on that we didn’t want to create our own non-profit doing work in India and Nepal; there are so many organizations already,” added Charles. “They needed us. They needed our support, and we decided that as we release the film we would help them raise funds to scale up to do the work that they are doing, because they all need funding.”
Indian American Seira Royin, who both acted in the film and served as an associate producer, disclosed that the film’s goal is not to paint India in a negative light, but to use the nation as contextual backdrop for drawing attention to the atrocities committed against children on an overarching scale.
“It is bringing to light an issue that affects everyone around the world. This story just happens to take place in India,” she told the American Bazaar. “I realized the part that I would play is being the voice of the girls … who did not have a voice … I think every time I have done any kind of interview … I remember that I am speaking for those girls who are not being heard.”
Prior to the DC premier, Brown and Charles attended a special dinner at Bombay Tandoor in Tysons, VA, on April 20 to celebrate the event.