CFDb Interviews Brent Martz ~ Producer
= > Tell us how you first got into the film industry.
My career in film started in 2006 in a competition where we had to write, produce and edit a 12-minute film in seven days—part of the 168 Film Project. Our film was “Day of Reckoning,” and it won a ton of awards. And that experience encouraged me to keep making films. I’ve worked on other shorts and documentaries since, but Not Today is my first feature film. Since that summer of 2006, I’ve also been on staff at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California, as the pastor of creative ministries. So this happened right after the successes of Day of Reckoning. When I joined the Friends Church, they knew my desire to use film to affect culture. And I knew that film would be a part of my life, but I had no idea what was about to happen with Not Today.
= > What led to the producing of ‘Not Today’?
Not Today opened up on my first trip to India, in fall 2007, when I traveled there with my boss, Friends Church Lead Pastor Matthew Cork. Friends had been building schools for India’s Dalits for about five years, and we were there to see for ourselves the work’s progress and impact. India’s 250 million Dalits are the nation’s outcasts, the “untouchables”—the world’s longest surviving slave labor force. They have precious little chance at equality, not to mention education, and what Matthew and I saw broke us. As a result, our church—previously committed to building 20 schools for the Dalits—raised the commitment to 200 schools (roughly a $20 million). And once we got back in the U.S., understandably, we prayed about how best to bring our local congregation into the need and what God wanted us to do in India. Given that media is the language of our culture, in early 2008 we went back to film a documentary called DELETES. And it worked: Our local church saw DELETES and grasped why/what/how we were doing in India. Still, even then we knew there had to be more, and that is when Not Today was birthed.
Friends Church’s media director at the time, Jon Van Dyke—he’d also directed DELETES—came to me with the story idea behind Not Today. And I took that pitch and some storyboards to Matthew. As it happened, Matthew had prayed about talking with me about the same thing. (Longer story.) From that beginning we knew I would produce. Jon would write/direct. And the church would fund production of a feature film called Not Today.
= > Can you tell us more about the film ‘Not Today’?
The Not Today story came straight out of our experiences in India, and everything in Not Today’s story has happened. We’ve either seen it firsthand or heard about it. Because Not Today would release in the US, however, we knew the story needed to be from an American’s perspective. Audiences need to see themselves in a film to gain a character’s perspective. What people will see in Not Today is real life. In fact, an Indian who saw Not Today early on called it “the most realistic depiction of life in India” he’d seen—a huge compliment.
Here’s a little more about the story line of Not Today:
Caden Welles has the world at his disposal. With the resources of his wealthy father, he’s living life as large as any 20-year-old could dream. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare halfway around the world?
Traveling with friends to Hyderabad, India, on a whim, Caden’s expectations of a never-ending party crash hard—but not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. Haunted by the images of Kiran and Annika, Caden attempts to right his wrong, only to discover Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter.
Caden’s eyes are now opened to a world few Americans know still exists: a thriving human-trafficking trade. Add the dehumanization of Kiran and hundreds of millions of other Dalits due to India’s caste system, and Caden could easily turn his back.
Yet spurred by a true purpose, an unlikely new friendship and the prayers of his mother and girlfriend back home, Caden chooses to help in Kiran’s unlikely search to find his daughter.
= > How will this film affect people affected by Human Trafficking?
Great question because human trafficking is a huge problem, its epicenter is India, and 90 percent of people trafficked in India are Dalits. (Twenty-seven million people today live in some form of slavery.) It can be overwhelming, which is why I love the Mother Teresa quote, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” We have to start somewhere, so we start with what we can handle and work out. We have some incredible global partners standing by to help people get involved. You’ll find more about them and specific ways people can join the cause at www.nottodayresources.com.
Also, partnering with the Dalit Freedom Network, Friends Church has committed $20 million to build 200 schools for Dalit children. In these schools, Dalit kids learn that we are all created in God’s image; we can all live purpose-filled lives.
All profits from Not Today go back to the schools project. So we can truly say, “Your ticket in is their ticket out.”
= > How can others can help end human trafficking?
Step one is awareness. Then, from supporting a Dalit child’s education to helping build schools in India, to working alongside groups fighting slavery, you or your church can begin to help make a difference … today.
www.nottodayresources.com for more info.
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