Pitt-Bradford will show the documentary “Break the Chain” as the first film in its On Screen/In Person series this year.
In the movie, two survivors of child sex and labor trafficking provide a harrowing look at how human trafficking hides in plain sight. It will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 21) in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall. Cost of the film is $5 for the public and free for all students.
Following the screening, filmmaker Laura E. Swanson will join a panel of local experts for a question-and-answer session.
The university received a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for the series, which brings filmmakers to campus to talk about their films in order to increase accessibility and appreciation for film through direct audience engagement.
Swanson's work is heavily rooted in building awareness for important, yet misrepresented, issues of social justice using a non-sensationalized and victim-centered artistic approach.
Before turning to filmmaking, Swanson worked 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. She attempted her first documentary film about sexual assault in 2014, appearing alongside 17 other survivors. This is her second feature-length documentary.
The film tells the story of Kwami and Debbie, who were enslaved and exploited as children for years in Michigan before anyone took notice. Also featured in the film are U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow; Bridgette Carr, a nationally recognized expert in human trafficking and the director of the University of Michigan Law Clinic; and Colleen Owens of the Urban Institute of Policy and Research in Washington, D.C.
A Q&A panel discussion will follow with Swanson, McKean County District Attorney Stephanie Vettenberg-Shaffer, Heather Schultz-Piche of the Bradford YWCA Victim Resource Center, and Megan Inghram, an ambassador of Shared Hope International.
Pitt-Bradford received a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation to bring the On Screen/In Person films and filmmakers to campus during the 2018-19 academic year. On Screen/In Person is a program of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts.
For a full listing of the films to be shown, visit www.upb.pitt.edu/inperson.