Last year I was honored to interview five women who were on the road to recovery following months or even years of being caught up in human trafficking. Their stories were gut-wrenching but their resolve to create new lives for themselves was powerful.
Every interview situation has its own challenges–whether that’s persistent background noise or light flashes as the sun hits the windshield of a passing car. The ground rules here were unique due to what these women had endured:
- We recorded only audio–no video–to protect their identities.
- Some wanted the office door left open because far too often a closed door meant captivity.
- The audio engineer asked permission to wire the interviewees with microphones; some didn’t want him to be so close so a staff member stepped in to help.
- One preferred that her counselor ask the questions rather than having to respond to a male stranger.
We knew hearing their own words had a greater impact than anything I could have scripted. The unscriptable comment that still haunts me: “They had such absolute control over me that I didn’t even know my favorite color.”
Rather than standard interview shots, we used abstracted yet compelling visuals. Graphics were fully integrated into video to reinforce the story and maintain movement, even when the images were somewhat static. Kudos to Bradford Van Demark and Brock Slagle at BlueSky Filmworks for shooting and editing this video that enthusiastically complimented by both staff and guests at their fundraising banquet.
I delayed posting about this project for a year because I wanted the women I interviewed to have more time to heal and to travel farther down the road to recovery. Here’s the video link:
If you have an upcoming project that requires a degree of compassion, I hope this video demonstrates my ability to work compassionately in sensitive situations.