Lesli Woodruff alerted me to Alone this morning on Facebook. Her friend, Daniel McCullum,co-wrote and directed this narrative short film that tells the story of Jessie, a young girl dragged into the dark hole of sexual slavery, and her one chance at being rescued. It’s an honest look into the dark world of sexual slavery with an ending that drives home the reality of what keeps this practice alive and well, in places we’d never expect.
I asked Daniel McCullum, what motivated him to make this film?
“In the fall of 2009, I attended a presentation by the makers of the documentary Sex & Money that really opened my eyes, ” McCullum told me. “I was shocked by the fact that forced sexual slavery is happening to girls of every social status, location, and ethnicity. No one is safe from being a victim in this industry. And that men from all walks of life are making it possible. I was shaken by the fact that it impacts all of us, whether we acknowledge it or not.”
What strikes me about this film, is the absence of sensationalism.
Sex is not exploited in the film, in fact, great care was taken to make sure the opposite occurred. I personally appreciated the completely black moments of uncomfortable darkness in the film. McCullum explains, “Very early in the process, we agreed that we didn’t want to make a film that further exploited the women being portrayed, or the actress in the film. We wanted to make sure the viewer saw sex in this context as being robbery. So creating a film that used sex to titillate was simply not an option.”
Do yourself a favor and make 15 minutes to watch.
“I wanted to put the audience in the shoes of this guy, who at the end of the film, closes his eyes and runs away,” McCullum said. “He leaves her alone in the room, because he is too afraid to face the truth. He represents our society, afraid to really admit there is a problem. If she gets saved in the film, the burden of action is taken off the viewer, when today’s truth is that most of these girls will not be saved.”
The truth is hard to accept, but it doesn’t diminish the truth. Thank you, Daniel, for this excellent short film.