It is our honor to feature filmmakers from time to time on our website. Our hope is to introduce you to filmmakers doing good work within the film industry whether they work inside or outside Hollywood. True change comes from within, and these women and men are nobly working to be Christ in their industry.
Some of these filmmakers do strictly fictional narrative work. Others make documentaries. Still others make advocacy films to bring important issues into our focus. Given that cinema is the key meaning-making method of our times, these advocacy filmmakers are doing us all a good service.
One such filmmaker is Jonathan Fung. He is a film production professor at Santa Clara University and an accomplished filmmaker. His short film, Hark, is a brief, fictional look inside human trafficking that tells the story of a man and woman who suddenly discover the terrible trade happening right in their neighborhood. We had the chance to ask Jonathan a couple of questions about his film:
1) Hark strikes me as a film about becoming aware of the human trafficking very likely happening around us. Is that a fair characterization? If so, how did you become aware of human trafficking originally?
Yes, the purpose of Hark is to spread awareness that human trafficking is in our backyard. Five years ago I heard Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission (IJM) share his story about how he got started fighting human trafficking and his story resonated with me. He showed some underground footage of two 4-year old girls from Southeast Asia being sold together for oral copulation for $20 each to a john. I was disgusted and could only think of my own 4-year old daughter at the time and felt I had to do something about this atrocity. I couldn’t imagine this happening to my own daughter or anyone else’s daughter.
2) In Hark, trafficking is something that happens at night, secretly, and via highly buffered system of phone calls, delivery men, creepy overseers, and addresses scribbled on slips of paper. Is this true to the nature of this kind of “white collar” trafficking in the US? How did you learn about traffickers’ methods in crafting your film?
No, human trafficking happens in different ways. It’s so easy to do that it’s difficult to stereotype a pimp, therefore they are not easy to track down. Hark focuses on breaking stereotypes that anyone can make poor choices leading to debt bondage and sex slavery. I am part of several anti-trafficking non-profits and have been immersed in trying to understand the role of a victim, perpetrator, john, law enforcement, legislator and neighbor. I also ran my screenplay through David Batstone, Founder and President of Not For Sale to fact check and for believability.
Hark is also being featured in the 2013 Windrider Bay Area Film Forum. We hope you have a chance to attend, see the film, meet Jonathan, and learn more about how together we can end human trafficking around the world.