ALPERN AT LARGE - Having been focused predominantly on bipartisan solutions my whole life (I’ve got the whole political spectrum among my friends and family), I just hate when stupid politics and finger pointing get in the way of fixing crises.
Enter the movie “Sound of Freedom”, which is based on the story of Tim Ballard, who spent more than a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security to investigate and hunt down child sex traffickers who victimize and enslave an exploding number of miserable kidnapped children.
The film is overwhelming created, produced, and directed by Latino/a professionals who made a film several years ago that grabs you by the collar from the very beginning, and has no slow parts from start to finish.
And the ending itself is as gripping, uplifting, sobering, and memorable as any other part of the movie.
The Colombian and other Latin American nations are rightfully portrayed as victimized nations, but blessed with some of the bravest and most dedicated police forces and armies trying to halt this horrible trade…
...with the number one destination of these miserable kidnapped children being the United States.
Those fighting this trade, and trying to bring back these children to their parents are both ex-narco mafia bosses and the rich/powerful in Colombia and neighboring nations…while those they must contend with are often those in this same group of overlords.
Why Disney shelved this important movie (it’s anything but boring or forgettable) after they bought out Fox Studios is a question filled with nonsensical explanations from Disney.
It is also a story filled with outrage and resentment by Angel Studios (an entity primarily led by Latino/a executives), which after five years was able to purchase the film from Disney as an independent company.
And now the movie has exploded within weeks to gross over $100 million through word of mouth…and although made for only $15 million, it’s on its way to making by far more than the recent Indiana Jones sequel, as well as quite a few Disney films that aren’t doing too well.
Fewer theaters carry this movie than Hollywood’s more well-known blockbusters, so it’s much tougher to get a seat…
…but it’s worth it. A plan to “pay it forward” and purchase two million free tickets to those who cannot afford to has now led to over twice as many tickets purchased (and climbing).
To those who’ve heard the QAnon conspiracies and “right-wing Christian” complaints by those who made and/or starred in this movie (Jim Caviezel, Bill Camp, and Mira Sorvino), don’t get sidetracked by that nonsense…unless you’re into conspiracy theories yourselves.
It’s about little kids getting grabbed and forced into sex slavery instead of a childhood that they were supposed to have. NPR can go on and on and QAnon connections, but anyone who’s seen the movie know it’s about a plea to end child trafficking.
Virtually every actor in this movie is brown-skinned Latino, with the notable exceptions of Caviezel and Sorvino and a few others. This Latino/a ensemble created this movie with Eduardo Verástegui as the lead producer.
(The real-life Tim Ballard and his wife, who urged him to put himself in harm’s way by flying to Latin America, are both as blond and fair-skinned as anyone in this nation of ours).
But the Latino/a filmmakers also believe, and proclaim with Caviezel as the chief spokesman, that “God’s children are not for sale”.
That sentiment, that belief, and that reality, is true of children of all colors.
In the end, though, that’s what this movie is all about—an atheist could easily love the movie for its portrayal of this exploding world crisis, and how our bravest on this planet can help reduce this travesty.
Don’t worry about QAnon or Disney or ethnic makeup or Christians having anything to do with this movie.
It’s about the movie, it’s about the crisis, it’s about the call to action, and it’s about the adults in our nation and planet doing the right thing to preserve all of its humanity.
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father. He was active for 20 years on the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) as a Board Member focused on Planning and Transportation, and helped lead the grassroots efforts of the Expo Line as well as connecting LAX to MetroRail. His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)