Written by Livier Enriquez, Intern for Abolish Slavery
“None of us are free if one of us is enslaved.”
This is the tagline used for the film, Not Today, which was released April 12. The plot revolves around Caden Wells (Cody Longo), a 20-year-old from Orange County, Calif., where he is generally unaware of the suffering that people around the world endure — until he travels with friends to Hyderabad, India.
On their vacation, Caden meets Kiran (Walid Amini) and his young daughter, Annika (Persis Karen), who of the Dalit caste and are struggling to eat in the slums of India. Not understanding why Kiran can’t feed his own child, Caden refuses to help and leaves. Caden’s conscience eats at him until he goes back only to learn that Kiran had sold his daughter into child prostitution.
Determined to find Annika, Caden finds himself immersed in the world of child slavery. With the help of his girlfriend’s and family’s prayers, Caden finds the bravery to help Kiran rescue Annika.
The film was produce by Friends Media under Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif., and the Dalit Freedom Network, a human rights organization dedicated to combating slavery in India.
More slaves exist today than ever before with 27 million people sold, exploited and used for manual and sexual labor around the world. The International Labour Organization estimates that the illegal business of human trafficking profits over $30 billion per year.
Many Dalits, or “the untouchables,” endure exploitation everyday due to India’s caste system, which casts this particular group of human beings at the very bottom. The Dalits, whose population in India today is at nearly 300 million, have suffered forms of oppression for over 3,000 years.
Not Today was inspired when Friends Church’s lead pastor and the film’s executive director, Matthew Cork, traveled to India in 2007. According to Cork, the making of the film faced many obstacles.
“Transporting 28 cast members to India was hard,” he said, “and just making a movie in a third world country was (a challenge).”
During production, the cast and crew excitedly anticipated the film’s completion due to its serious content that has the ability to generate much needed awareness, Cork explained.
“This is a chance to free (victims of human trafficking through) education,” Cork said. “Your ticket in is their ticket out and 100 percent of the profit goes to freeing children and building schools.”
Not Today has won awards at multiple film festivals including, “Best Justice Film” at the Justice Film Festival and “Best Feature Narrative” at the Peace on Earth Film Festival.
The film is a reminder that ignorance is not bliss and support is needed for the sake of humanity.
Visit NotTodaytheMovie.com for locations and show times.