Ahead of its world premiere this September, the trailer has arrived for Elizabeth Blake-Thomas‘ dark short film Unseen, which puts the horror of human trafficking in the spotlight.
Thomas felt compelled to make a film about child trafficking and fake social media modeling contests with promises of fame and fortune to teenagers around the world with “fame lures,” after hearing the story of a girl from Utah who was abducted and trafficked for five years before she escaped and returned to her family.
The film stars Rhyon Nicole Brown (Fox’s Empire) and Isabella Blake-Thomas (Disney’s Secret Society of Second Born Royals, role in ABCs Once Upon a Time) as best friends who come across what seems to be a modeling contest on social media. It is not.
The film also stars Yolanda Wood (Extinct), Rebecca Da Costa (The Bag Man), and Hillary Barraford (The United States of Tara).
“In Unseen, a teenage girl’s innocent social media mistake has dire consequences. Carly (Brown), 17, like most teenagers, wants to have her own money, be seen at parties, get out of her small town and find something better, even become famous. Carly’s way out of her current situation comes in the form of a social media advertisement that she sees on her phone: an agency looking for models and offering them a prize of $1,000. Carly decides to meet with the modeling agency and puts herself in an unsafe position by going alone and not telling her mother. This leads to her being unseen, never to be seen again. By the time family and friends realize that no one knows Carly’s whereabouts, it is too late. This is “fame lure” and can happen to any child, anywhere at any time.”
“I didn’t want to show a film that depicted what happens in the trafficking industry, there are plenty of films that show that. I wanted the audience watching to experience what the characters did in the moment. That before they know what’s happened, it’s too late. The trafficking has happened,” said Elizabeth Blake-Thomas.
Unseen tells the story of child trafficking from the point of view of the child lured into danger, and shows how quickly it can happen, and that it could happen to anyone, anywhere. Being a single mom who works hard, director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas wanted to tell the story through a situation that could have been hers. She did not want to portray a family who had drug abuse or physical abuse issues. Rather, she portrays just a normal family with the common issues every family faces because child trafficking can happen to any family, even a family where a caring mom tries to do her best and to work hard and make her family’s lives better.
Every parent with a teen knows there are dangers on social media. It’s a scary place. The online wolves can disguise themselves in sheep’s clothing in infinite ways. We must repeatedly discuss online safety with our kids and try to teach them how to be safe. Hopefully, “Unseen,” will be a conversation starter. There are no easy answers, and the problem isn’t going away,” said Thomas.
The film was executive produced by Elizabeth Blake-Thomas under her Mother & Daughter Entertainment banner, produced by Mal Young, Larry Schapiro of Nine Yards Entertainment, Francis O’Toole of Mercury Pictures, Timothy Patrick, and Maria Capp, and associate produced by David Roberson.
The World Premiere of Unseen
will be Friday, September 6, 2019,
at Arena Cinelounge in Hollywood. For more information and tickets please visit Unseen