Break the Chain
Produced and Directed by Michigan documentary filmmakers, Laura E. Swanson and Kirk Mason, ‘Break the Chain’ is an award-winning feature-length documentary film that addresses the often “hidden-in-plain-sight” issue of Human Trafficking within Michigan communities and the United States. The film chronicles two survivors of Human Trafficking – providing a detailed look at how trafficking goes unnoticed within our backyards. Kwami, a child survivor of Labor Trafficking, was enslaved for nearly five years with three other children in Ypsilanti, Michigan before anyone noticed. Debbie, a survivor of Sex Trafficking, takes us through her experience of being sold for sex around the Detroit-Area between the ages of 13 and 18.
Accompanying the stories of these survivors are nearly 20 interviews with researchers, Senators, non-profit organizations, legal service agencies, law enforcement officers and several artists actively working to raise awareness for this global issue. The film teaches us that what we see in the media about human trafficking is one small sensationalized form – that it occurs anywhere and everywhere within our world. More importantly, viewers will learn how we are all connected to this extremely profitable business and that we have the power to choose what we support, and ultimately, how we break the chain.
There will be a pre-show meet and greet with Co-Director, Laura Swanson, and a post-show panel discussion following the screening.
Artist biography: Laura E. Swanson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, professional speaker, sexual assault survivor/advocate, and human rights activist currently residing in Michigan. Her work is heavily rooted in building awareness for important, yet misrepresented, issues of social justice using a non-sensationalized and victim-centered artistic approach. Swanson’s entrance into the film world began in 2014 after working several years in a sexual and domestic violence crisis clinic – helping survivors receive support and resources while also healing from her own experiences with rape and relationship violence. Feeling empowered and inspired by the hundreds of people she encountered, she attempted her first documentary film about sexual assault in 2014 in which she appeared alongside 17 other male and female survivors.
After receiving a national grant from the Robin McGraw Foundation and appearing on a special segment of the Dr. Phil show, she was able to tour the Midwest with the film in 2015 to research how various colleges were addressing the sexual assault epidemic.
Since then, Swanson has found her passion in creating documentary films that not only empower her survivor subjects, but encourage greater understanding and empathy among audiences. Break the Chain is her second feature-length documentary film about survivors of sex and labor trafficking and has been independently produced with the help of Michigan-based task force agencies, law enforcement, shelter homes, and non-profit organizations.
On Screen/In Person is made possible by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program.