One of the must-see documentaries set for world premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival this weekend is The Wrong Light a riveting film about a man who leads a highly-regarded NGO that aids girls who have been trafficked for sex. What begins as a positive profile of a hero of-sorts turns into a fascinating expose.
THE WRONG LIGHT TO HAVE WORLD PREMIERE AT CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
NEW DOCUMENTARY TAKES A SHOCKING TURN AND TURNS THE TABLES ON A WIDELY CELEBRATED CHILD ADVOCATE
In a world of “clicktivism” and armchair activism, NGOs globally often feel pressure to play to the public’s appetite for sensational stories that generate sympathy.
FROM THE PRODUCERS OF THE OSCAR®-WINNING INOCENTE, WHICH ALSO DEBUTED AT CIFF
The Wrong Light, the latest documentary from the producers behind the Oscar®-winning short doc Inocente, will have its world premiere in competition at the 40th Cleveland International Film Festival with screenings on April 2 and 3.
From the Shine Global production team and first time feature directors Josie Swantek Heitz and Dave Adams, The Wrong Light unfolds as a mystery while exploring the dark side of child advocacy through the story of a charismatic “activist,” Mickey Choothesa, who claims to rescue at-risk Thai girls, but is instead exposed as having misrepresented them for his own gain.
SYNOPSIS (From CIFF Program): The Wrong Light begins as a positive spotlight on Mickey Choothesa and his nonprofit, the Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA), which aims to rescue young females from the deplorable sex trade in Thailand. He tells the filmmakers about his start as a war photographer, capturing images in the heat of battle. The horrors of war were less jarring to him than the fate of trafficked girls, he explains. Dubbed “Uncle Mickey” by the kids at COSA, Choothesa is heavily involved in their lives, providing education and shelter to those he deems at-risk. On paper, this seems like a slam dunk for an inspiring film about a man making a difference. But, as interviews with the girls and their families unfold, an unfortunate truth begins to emerge: Mickey isn’t who he seems. It becomes clear his intentions are far from pure, his mission less noble than previously presented. Ironically, his program is exploitative—the very thing he claims to fight against. This shocking documentary uncovers a wolf in sheep’s clothing, whose selfish actions are undermining the effort to end human trafficking.
MORE ABOUT THE FILM: We went to northern Thailand to film a story about two girls – Fon and Eye – whom we thought had been sold into the sex trade by their parents. Our guide was Mickey Choothesa. What we discovered instead is that Mickey has been deceiving both the public and those he claims to be helping. Since founding his non-profit organization, COSA, in 2005, Mickey has marketed it as a sanctuary for trafficked and at-risk girls. His dramatic rescue stories, featured in articles and shared online, inspire donors globally to support COSA’s work. In a world of “clicktivism” and armchair activism, NGOs globally often feel pressure to play to the public’s appetite for sensational stories that generate sympathy. Our film and outreach campaign will encourage debate about the ethics of effective aid, poverty porn, representation, exploitation, and how to ensure responsible support by people who want to help.
PUBIC SCREENINGS of The Wrong Light at CIFF40
• Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 6:15 PM
• Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 2:00 PM
IN-PERSON! Directors Josie Swantek Heitz and Dave Adams as well as Producer Susan MacLaury and Executive Producer Albie Hecht will all be in attendance for the screenings and Q&As.
Tickets and more info: http://www.
“We are thrilled to be back at the Cleveland International Film Festival to premiere another of our films,” said producer and Shine Global co-founder Susan MacLaury. “We know this will be a great festival for this film and we are excited about the conversations it will start.”
Directors: Josie Swantek Heitz, David Adams
Produced by: Susan MacLaury, Josie Swantek Heitz
Executive Producers: Albie Hecht, Barbara Dobkin
Co-Producer: Alexandra Blaney
Dir. of Photography: Dave Adams
Editors: Chris Tuss, Matt Cascella
Music By: Adam Taylor
Animation: Jonathan Ng, Grace An
Production Company: Shine Global, Inc.
Shine Global, a non-profit media company, gives voice to children by telling stories of their resilience to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. The organization’s films have won more than 50 major awards including an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject for Inocente and an Academy Award®-nomination for War/Dance. For more information visit: http://www.shineglobal.