Foster youth in suburban America are ensnared by a sex trafficking ring in the new dramatic feature film, Wake Up, which will premiere Jan. 4, in Scottsdale at Harkins Theaters, followed by a special question-and-answer panel with the filmmakers, local leaders and community.
Based on real-life stories of foster youth and human trafficking victims, Wake Up tells the story of a quiet community rocked when a pair of foster youths are targeted and taken by a sex trafficking ring, according to a press release.
Wake Up comes from veteran actress and first-time feature writer-director Janet Craig and producer Kristen Wise, who will host a discussion panel following the screening to bring the community together and raise awareness about the widespread reality of sex trafficking in Phoenix.
The film ends with a message from a human trafficking survivor and advocate Rachel C. Thomas, detailed the release.
Craig and her husband Doug Grossman, produced the project to highlight what was described as “the sinister world of sex trafficking,” an important issue to the longtime foster parents.
A Hollywood actress turned filmmaker, Craig is a Scottsdale native, who will bring local organizations together with the community kicking-off a 10-city Red Carpet Premiere Screening of Wake Up in Scottsdale at Harkins Theater.
The Q&A panel after the film will include: Janet Craig (director), Kristen Wise (producer), Lisa Lucchesi (Aetna, National Human Trafficking Project Manager), Shauna Sexton (Phoenix Dream Center), Joanna Jauregui (The McCain Institute), Judge Pamela Svoboda, and Dr. Angela Solomon (pychologist, Streetlight USA).
Helping produce the project, Craig partnered with Mike and Kristen Wise, who have fostered over 100 children, and executive producer Deborah Smerecnik of Busy Bee Film Productions.
All profits that Craig, Grossman and the Wise’s generate from the film will assist non-profit organizations, including the foster care support organization RaisingHOPE, and the anti-trafficking organizations Forever Found and ZOE International, added the release.
In the U.S., the FBI estimates more than 100,000 children and teens are sex trafficking victims, the release said, noting an estimated 60% of victims have been within foster care or the child welfare system.
The Red Carpet event begins 5:30 p.m.; screening 6 p.m., Q&A panel immediately after on Jan. 4, at 7354 Shea Blvd., Scottsdale.
Tickets/Info: officialwakeupmovie.com/tour or https://tickettailor.com/events/hotlinellc/623734.
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