Thankfully for the United States of America, slavery is one aspect of our past that we have struggled with and overcome. Or so most of us think. The fact of the matter is, there are more slaves on the planet today than were taken from Africa in more than 400 years of trading, and in 2007, slave traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined. Musician Justin Dillon was made aware of this tragedy while touring overseas; one of his translators, a young girl, had a job offer that seemed too good to be true. On further investigation, it was too good to be true; she had come very close to becoming a slave.
Dillon decided to do something about this tragedy and raise awareness of just how many of our lives, even today, are affected by the slave trade. The result of his efforts is a new film, Call + Response, a combination documentary and concert. Call + Response goes undercover to the child brothels of Cambodia and beyond; the film features commentary by such luminaries as Cornel West, Madeleine Albright, Daryl Hannah, Julia Ormond, Nicholas Kristof and more — plus powerful performances by Moby, Natasha Bedingfield, Matisyahu, Imogen Heap, Talib Kweli and many others. West explains the link between music and slavery — all a slave really owns is a voice — and the film is a collective call to the world community to stop slavery. Unlike many documentaries about heavy subjects, Call + Response assures viewers that they can make a difference about this important issue.
Call + Response opens Friday, October 10, at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli; call 303-595-3456 or visit www.denverfilm.org. To learn more about the film, visit www.callandresponse.com. And visit blogs.westword.com/latestword to read an interview with the director.