A locally-produced movie that aims to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking debuts in Red Deer Friday night.
The world premiere for She Has A Name takes place at the Welikoklad Event Centre at 7 p.m. Friday with further screenings scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Writer and Producer Andrew Kooman couldn’t be more thrilled to be showcasing his film in his hometown.
“This is where I wrote the story. This is where it sold out every show on its stage world premiere and its cross-Canada tour. It’s only right that the movie premiere in Red Deer.”
Kooman wrote She Has A Name in 2009 after learning that more than two million children are forced into some facet of the worldwide sex trade each year, and that only one per cent of them are rescued.
“I would have preferred not to know, but once I found out I thought ‘Man, I’ve got to do something about it’ and what I had in my hand was a pen, so I decided to write a story.”
Kooman believes that if more people know about human trafficking, more can be done to fight it.
“I really believe that if we can imagine the plight of one person, then we can imagine doing something about it. She Has A Name really is a story about one girl caught up in unthinkable circumstances and a person who is trying to get her out.”
After finishing the play, Kooman submitted it to a workshop at Red Deer College and says it had great success from there.
The first live stage production premiered in 2011 in Calgary before coming to Red Deer, then to 13 cities across Canada. The play continues to be produced in Canada and the United States, and is currently being translated into Spanish. She Has A Name the play is also slated for an off-Broadway production in 2017, according to the movie’s website.
Unveil Studios, founded by Kooman and his brothers, has been working to bring She Has A Name to the silver screen the last couple of years.
“We’ve had such incredible response to the story that we thought bringing it to the big screen will be a way to bring it to a much wider audience,” Kooman said.
While the movie was shot in 2015 in locations throughout Thailand at a roughly $1 million cost, the fact that it was funded and produced locally is a source of great pride for Kooman.
“It’s been hard work and we’ve been problem solving and finding a way to make it happen,” he says. “It’s just been a real privilege in life to work with my brothers Matt and Dan, who directed the film, and with our great team of producers here in Red Deer. It’s awesome to be bringing it to the world.”
Kooman says he wants She Has A Name to be more than just a movie. He wants it to be a catalyst for change.
“I really want people to have an amazing experience, to enjoy the story and to be entertained, but then to leave the theatre or when they download or watch the movie online and start having a conversation about justice, start having a conversation about human trafficking and about ‘What can I do to address this issue?’”
Twenty per cent of every ticket sold for the Red Deer premiere, along with sales through the movie’s website, shehasanamefilm.com, will go directly to agencies that are fighting human trafficking. More information on this weekend's screenings in Red Deer is posted to our Community News page.
The film is also being screened this weekend in Melbourne, Australia, Cape Town, South Africa, London, England and Belfast, Ireland. There will also be a special screening at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on December 6 for MPs and other invited guests.
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