A Child’s Voice – Watch this Film Today!

I am thrilled to support and recommend the film A Child’s Voice from No Restrictions Entertainment. This film is now available to rent online for $3.99. Here is the trailer:

A Child’s Voice from No Restrictions Entertainment on Vimeo.

Supernatural thriller. A homeless teen hears the voice of a child calling for help and leads him on a journey to track down the child’s killer. #EndHumanTrafficking

Press release: drive.google.com/file/d/1Fyx5ey5fVYYgEird9zhEm3W-atfrDor-/view

© 2018 A Child’s Voice, LLC | All rights reserved | NoRestrictionsEnt.com

imdb.com/title/tt7709804

As a social worker, I greatly appreciate the tough subjects that No Restrictions Entertainment addresses and the loving, social justice-oriented perspective that John Paul Rice brings to these films. I first met John back in 2011 when I interviewed him for an article in The New Social Worker Magazine. At this time I learned of his innovative use of Kickstarter to both create a community with his films and fund this important work. John’s work has always tackled important social issues and difficult interpersonal dynamics in an approachable, multidimensional human way that is not often seen in film.  

John’s current work, A Child’s Voice, builds upon this rich history with an impressive cast that truly brings this story to life. Children that survive horrific sexual abuse and sex trafficking are seldom given a voice in our popular culture, and yet A Child’s Voice not only gives them a voice but an avenue for justice for the crimes committed against them. These crimes may be difficult for some to fully comprehend, and yet the silence and absence of dialogue about these crimes only serve to exacerbate their negative ramifications for the children and families involved. Child sexual abuse is more common than most realize. One estimate suggests “one in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult.” Additionally, it is estimated that there are currently 5.5 million child victims of sex trafficking. A Child’s Voice is critically important for social workers, law enforcement, and the general public in order to enable conversations and actions needed to stop child sexual abuse and sex trafficking, and help spread the love, understanding, and knowledge survivors need from us to heal as best they can. I strongly encourage you to support this work. 

I was so excited to attend the premeire of A Child’s Voice last week in Los Angeles. I had such an amazing time! 

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Sherrie Gonzalez, John Paul Rice, and Karen Zgoda. Photographer Joseph Cruz jmcpresence.com

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Karen Zgoda and Sherrie Gonzalez. Photographer Joseph Cruz jmcpresence.com

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An All-Too-Human Grind: A Review of the Film Grinder

Filmmaker Brandon Ruckdashel has deftly answered the call for #HollywoodMustDoBetter with his film Grinder. I’m certain that it had been included in GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index (2016), it would have received a good rating for avoiding many common stereotypes of films dealing with LGBT issues.

It’s too easy for an impressionable teenager searching for affirmation and love to be groomed and manipulated, especially by an abusive, power-driven predator who promises to make dreams of success, love, and admiration come true. We meet 16 year old Luke grappling with his journey of self-discovery, his abusive home environment, and flirting online with Rich. With 50% of gay and lesbian youth reporting they are rejected by their parents for their sexual orientation, it is no surprise that after his father’s homophobia violently erupts, Luke runs away to the city towards Rich and the promise of acceptance and opportunity. He joins the “gays and lesbians [that] make up about 40 percent of all homeless youth.” To watch his innocence methodically taken from him in a myriad of ways is unsettling, and yet, that his story happens daily to many young people in his situation is truly heartbreaking.

When Luke comes to the city, he meets a photographer named Tim employed by Rich. Tim’s identity and sexual orientation struggles are exemplified by his literal running to escape who he is and what he wants:

Model: “What are we looking for?”

Tim: “Something that adds texture…without taking away from the focus.”

Model smokes cigarette. “I’m trying to quit.”

Tim: “I’m trying to take care of myself.”

He photographs Rich’s men for a profitable living. When behind his camera, Tim is at his most comfortable and emotionally intimate with his male subjects, albeit at a distance. Physical intimacy only happens not with his female fiancé, who is always absent, but with his male partners after self-hating and drinking. Tim develops a fascination with Luke, and not unlike many of us feeling the weight of our choices over many years, possibly sees a younger version of himself with all the hope and simplicity in life he still wished he had. Tim fights to give Luke the opportunity and freedom he so desperately wishes for.

The real Grinder here is not the app. Rather, it is overcoming the male meat grinder stuffed with toxic masculinity, homophobia, self-loathing, hatred, identity, power, striving, and finding one’s place in the world. To become successful, how far will you go, and what will it do to you along the way? What are the paths for young men like Luke to grow up with love and support to become the man he wants to be? Or the paths for men like Tim to escape toxic masculinity and embrace his own multifaceted place in the world? How can we help more men find them, and demonstrate support? Unfortunately these men are stuck in the grinder. However, daybreak, and the possibility of new beginnings, await.

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