UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A sneak peek of a Penn State faculty member’s feature film, a panel discussion coordinated by the Penn State College of Nursing about children at risk, and a performance by a musician with Pennsylvania roots are part of an important evening focusing on the topic of commercial sex trafficking and its victims Nov. 16 at the State Theatre in State College.
The evening begins at 6 p.m. with preview of the film “The Turn Out.” The film, based on the testimony of sex-trafficking survivors, anti-trafficking activists and truckers, is a fictionalized narrative about a trucker who must decide if he will stand up against trafficking. Some of the truckers and survivors are featured in the film, which was directed by Pearl Gluck, an assistant professor of film-video in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
According to FBI data, the average age of commercial sex-trafficking victims recovered from this year’s anti-trafficking operation is 15. Experts such as Bradley Myles, CEO of the Polaris Project, which launched a human-trafficking hotline, say traffickers often prey on those with a trauma in their childhood history.
Gluck also wrote the film — her first feature-length fiction effort. She reached out to local recording artist Chris Rattie to compose the music for the film.
To celebrate the creative collaboration between the two local artists, the State Theatre paired its Native Sons & Daughters Attic Series featuring Chris Rattie & The New Rebels with the sneak peek of the film.
A panel discussion with local activists will follow the screening before guests are invited upstairs to the Attic to hear some of the music performed live.
There is no cost to attend the sneak peek and discussion. Donations to benefit The Freeman Project and Survivor’s Ink, organizations founded by women who have survived trafficking and committed to helping other women in need, will be accepted.
After the screening, a panel will discuss the film as a tool to raise awareness and promote activism. Matt Jordan, an associate professor of media studies in the Bellisario College, will moderate the panel that includes: Barbara Freeman, a survivor-activist who inspired the film and appears as an actress in it; Sheridan Miyamoto, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing and a registered nurse who is part of the faculty member for the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network; Susan Mathias, CEO of Transitions PA; and Rattie.
An award-winning filmmaker, Gluck teaches screenwriting, directing and producing. Through her courses and her films, she explores themes such as autobiographical film and representations of gender, class and faith in cinema.
Gluck’s credits include: “Junior,” which looks at racially motivated police violence through one mother’s eyes; “Where is Joel Baum,” whose numerous accolades include Best Film at The Female Eye film festival and Best Actor for Luzer Twersky at the Starz Denver Film Festival; and “Divan,” for which she earned a Sundance Producer’s Lab fellowship and a Sundance Film Festival mentorship.
Penn State communications students were part of the filmmaking process for “The Turn Out,” both on location shooting and in post-production roles.
At 8 p.m., Chris Rattie & The New Rebels will perform in the Native Sons & Daughters Attic Series at the State Theatre. Tickets for that performance cost $12.50.
The evening is sponsored by the State Theatre, Lion Country Lodging, the College of Nursing, the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, and the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies.