CFDb Interviews Jim Schmidt ~ Producer/Actor/Writer
= > How long have you been producing films?
My background was mostly in the music world. I was a performer, Director and record producer for The Continental Singers – for about 25 years. My brother, John, was the film guy and graduated from UCLA film school. I had acted in some of his early films, but he’d always said he thought I’d make a good movie producer, but it wasn’t until 2000 when he invited me to be an Associate Producer on one of our Billy Graham films, called ‘The Climb’. We had such a great time on that project, I just decided to turn my focus to producing films. It’s been quite an adventure.
= > What led to the production of Trade of Innocents?
I was connected with Bill & Laurie Bolthouse through our respective attorneys. I learned that Bill and Laurie were passsionate about the issue of human trafficking, and they wanted to explore the possibility of making a feature film – to take the topic to a broad, mainstream audience. There have been a number of good documentaries made about the topic, but there’s something about taking a subject to a feature film level that I believe enables viewers to connect more on an emotional level.
We moved ahead very quickly once the Bolthouses made their decision, and here we are three years later with a limited theatrical release, and release of the DVD and other digital formats. I’ve been getting emails from friends who are watching it on Pay Per View already, which is really gratifying.
= > Can you tell us more about this film?
TRADE OF INNOCENTS tells the story of a couple, played by Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino, who’ve lost their only child, and they decide to turn their grief and skills toward rescuing young girls sold into the sex industry. One of our goals was to show the issue from all sides – the mother who sacrifices one child to sex slavery to provide for the rest of the family; the cop who turns a blind eye and rationalizes it on cultural grounds; the pimp who uses a perverted sense of ‘family’ to control his girls; and, we wanted to tell the story of the brave people who put themselves at great risk to rescue these victims.
Dermot and Mira play very relatable roles, and that’s important because we wanted to raise up heroes. In fact, the tagline of the film is ‘Justice needs a hero’.
= > When will this film be officially released?
We had a Limited Theatrical release this Fall, but we really believe the film will find its way in the digital world – DVD, Pay Per View, iTunes downloads, Netflix, etc. This isn’t exactly a ‘popcorn movie’, but more a tool that we hope will become the defining film on the topic. We didn’t want to just ‘move’ people – we wanted to move them toward action. The Bolthouses have created extensive resources so that no one could ever say “I just didn’t know what to do about the problem”. The resources at TradeOfInnocents.com are phenomenal, and the site leads to engagement with dozens of great organizations who are fighting this problem worldwide.
= > How can people find out more information about you and your work?
You can check out my IMDb Page for more information about me and my work.
= > How can people obtain “Trade of Innocents”?
You can purchase “Trade of Innocents” at CBD.
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