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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Because the status is not quo."
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September 27 2007

San Francisco Browncoats supporting opening weekend of 'Trade'. This is a movie about modern day sex trafficking and 5% of the opening box office receipts will go to Equality Now and 3 other organisations. Click here to see the trailer and if you want to know which cities will be showing the movie this weekend, then head over to this Equality Now page.

Oh, thanks for reminding me I needed to put a poll up for PDX Browncoats to pick a showtime, now that Fandango has them listed (they didn't the other day when I first found out about this).
I'm worried about this. The fund-raising is a percentage of the first weekend gross, coincidentally what the movie companies are most interested in maximizing? Even if this were a film guaranteed to educate in the best way about the issue, I don't think that's a good plan. And this movie isn't well-reviewed so far, from what I've read. Or made by people with previous and ongoing involvement in the issue. And it could be seen as having bought its acceptance from the groups benefiting, who might otherwise be expert critics.

I'm not suggesting, and I don't think, that anybody, least of all the SF Browncoats, has anything but the best motives here. But I don't think this is a good model for fund-raising.
I have not seen the movie itself, so I can't offer a review, but I am moved by their willingness to take on such an unpleasant topic. Meryl Streep's review is: "TRADE allows an unflinching peek at the secret world of sex trafficking, disturbing and beautifully rendered, bravely acted and a searing experience. Anyone who fails to have their insides roiled by this film has commenced rigor mortis." (Ms. Streep works closely and publicly with EN).

I am also very eager to see the movie, for it's own sake and for their generous offer of donations to Equality Now and other organizations.

The premiere of this movie was held at the UN to benefit EN and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. EN used this film recently in their (successful!) effort to get NY to pass explicit laws against sex-trafficking.

I cannot claim intimate familiarity with the people who made and promote this film, but I can't for one second believe this whole project was a calloused grab at money.

I hope as many Browncoats as possible will try to see the film this weekend, both as a show of support for a daring film project, and yet another opportunity to help our good friends at Equality Now.
FWIW, I'm told this movie is getting rather less than overwhelming reviews as a movie.
I'm not criticizing the motives or effort, but doubting that this is a good way to help, because it potentially compromises the people who do help.

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