RXP015 John Paul Rice Film

In the 15th episode, Lance and Nicole welcome guest John Paul Rice, film producer from A Child’s Voice. They discuss the opening of a fire station with a police car bay, NCMEC and an ice breaker quiz on film. Nicole reports on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Red X Podcast is produced and co-hosted by Lance Olive, the mayor of Apex, NC. Nicole Bernard is the host and director of the anti-human trafficking organization, Shield North Carolina. Lance talks about attending the opening of Public Safety Station #5 where the police and fire department are jointly housed. The launch event involved a variety of activities for the children where they got to pretend to put out a fire.  Lance had to haul a 170-pound dummy to safety and it was no joke! Having police and fire departments jointly housed reminds the hosts of previous guest, Colleen Merced who is the director of a child advocacy center in which all the services are hubbed in one physical location to streamline victim care.

Nicole and Lance also worked with the police recently for “Apex Freedom Week”, for which Lance wrote a proclamation for a week of human trafficking awareness. The week kicked off with Lance reading the proclamation in front of the police department with the chief and other first responders. The week also included Nicole and Shield NC handing out cards with signs of trafficking and ways to respond at a town-wide event, a presentation on internet crimes against children by a local detective and DOJ rep, and panel discussion of the documentary, Resilience.The film has started a movement for people to better respond to adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) and the effects of childhood trauma.

NCMEC, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is the main agency that works to find missing children. You might have seen flyers or social media photos with age progressed pictures of missing children. Likely those originated with NCMEC, which works with more than 270 corporate photo partners to disseminate information of a missing child to millions of people across the US. NCMEC reports that the most frequently reported cases involve runaway youth, abductions by a family member or lost, injured or otherwise missing children. Stranger abductions are the least likely cause of a child going missing. Since 2014, states have been required to report missing foster children to NCMEC, whereas previously this very vulnerable population with high rates of runaway youth were not mandated to be reported. In the first 48 hours of running away, 20% of youth will be trafficked. In 2017, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children responded to more than 10,000 potential cases of sex trafficking.

NCMEC also tracks online enticement of children, a form of child exploitation including sextortion. Sextortion involves a child being groomed on an online platform to send sexually explicit images, meet someone in person for sexual purposes, engage in sexual conversation or to sell or trade sexual images.  This could be accomplished by a variety of methods including a predator pretending to be younger, offering money for images, or luring a child by first discussing shared interest. So far, NCMEC has been able to identify more than 13,000 children from images.

Lance asks Nicole and guest, John Paul Rice some icebreaker questions about film.

Which Is not recognized as a top 10 American Film Institute genre:

  1. Fantasy
  2. Sports
  3. Romance
  4. Gangster

In the 1941 Disney film, Dumbo, who is the voice of Dumbo?

  1. a) no one
  2. b) Gene Harlow
  3. c) Noreen Gammill
  4. d) no one knows because there were no credits

A gaffer is on a film set and they deal with electrical requirements. Why are they called a gaffer?

  1. a) in the early days of film, light bulbs would “gaff”
  2. b) old English theaters, crews would use long poles called “gaffs” to tend the lights
  3. c) film crews used to trip on the wires that went to the lights and cause “gaffs” or bloopers
  4. d) the first director to shoot with electrical lighting was called “gaffer” in high school

John Paul Rice’s background was in sports and theater. He grew up in Georgia and attended Georgia State. In his second year in school, one of the electives was the history of motion cinema. That instructor had an acting class and it got his creative juices flowing. There was a new film starring Denzel Washington coming to the area (Remember the Titans). John Paul auditioned and made the part of one the team players. He worked on the movie for 2 months working around Denzel Washington. It was 14 hours a day for two months and John Paul realized that he loved it. He then started doing commercials and other small acting roles in Atlanta but then moved to LA to pursue a career in film. He had the opportunity to learn under Joseph Drake, the producer of Hunger Games, Juno, and The Strangersto name a few.  After four years of mentorship under Drake, John Paul realized that his skill set was in producing rather than acting.

He then teamed up with Edgar Michael Bravo to make 6 films over last decade. While in LA, the two met a girl working out of a motel who would do any fantasy anyone would want as long as there was no sex, no nudity and no kissing. There was a tragic side to her to story that they wanted to capture in the film they made about her called One Hour Fantasy Girlthat became a massive hit online. John Paul wanted to do something that was different than the normal Hollywood film. His hope is that his films are a call to action for social justice issues.

As opposed to watching a documentary, a narrative through a genre such as a supernatural thriller as in A Child’s Voice, helps get to the emotional heart of an issue. You don’t have to know anything about the issue before sitting down to watch. You’re drawn in through the characters’ journey. You get emotionally involved. In A Child’s Voice, both a young boy and girl are marginalized and then they are brought together. The narrative evolves through a core message of love. The film makes for a richer story because it humanizes both the perpetrators and the victims and shows the complexity of people. The message of the movie is to say: what would you do? It’s a different type of disclosure and a unique angle that allows viewer to become emotionally involved.

Sometimes people are willing to “go there” in a different kind of genre and explore the emotion of an issue rather than respond to a presentation of facts. Art is a great way to get to the heart of social justice issues. When Edgar and John Paul started looking at human trafficking, they realized that lot of the evil’s root is child abuse. But in the face of unconscionable horror, they realized that people still desire to be loved and find that love in another human being. If we are ever to solve these problems, we need a rise in consciousness. John Paul says that we are incredible beings that have the power to overcome and that every bit of love given to a child is like a deposit of gold for every single child’s future. We have an obligation to alleviate suffering and cannot turn away from these horrors. It’s not a crime that can be arrested away. In order to break the cycle, we must be a steady, trustworthy and consistent adult for children. Science agrees. The best predictor of resilience from trauma is having one adult who is able to be that positive, consistent influence in a child’s life. The Red X’s previous guest, Allisonwas able to find restoration from her trafficking when one family started walking along her recovery with her.

John Paul’s friend was going to pursue another degree when she had the realization that if she was going to spend so much time being angry about child abuse then she might as well put that time into helping. She then became a social worker. On her first day as a social worker, she met a 2 year old little girl that had been in the house when there was a murder. She took her out for a day together and then later watched a movie during which the little girl fell asleep in her arms. That’s the missing piece. To have the feeling in your body that you are with someone who you can trust and to remember that peace. Abuse and trauma can be the root of victims as well as perpetrators and the root cause is what we have to eliminate. Protecting a child is something that can bring everyone together.

A Child’s Voice was probably the fastest they’ve ever made a film. It was all put together in about 2 months. It all began with a solid the script and the belief in it. You have this feeling and trajectory, you are aware of your intent of making a film and what you are trying to say. As a producer, its your personal belief in the film that you are putting out there. There are a lot of casting sessions and going through actors’ headshots and resumes. It’s a subjective process. It’s what do you feel when you are looking at them. All of John Paul’s films are low budget, under $200,000. It’s important to find people who are passionate about the message and then they put their art into it. The script is the foundation, everyone else brings something to it. This was the best produced film because everyone had a heart for this issue.

John Paul does not enjoy the technical side as much as he does the art. He’s in charge of everything from working with the colorist to the musician. Sound business does not make art. Sound art makes sound business. Investors are investing in your belief and your ability to get the job done. John Paul’s advice to anyone who would like to make film is that you might not become the subject matter expert, but explore as much as you can. Look at what actually makes you tick. How do you relate through your emotions? You won’t create something that will speak to everyone necessarily, but the goal is to create empathy which allows us to feel for someone else. Those truths that come out will heal a lot of other people.

The ultimate goal was to do a movie that would be a call to action. John Paul says to call your legislators but Instead of asking them to solve the problem, ask legislators how you can start working on this with them to end human trafficking. If you are going to fight evil, find other people who feel a certain urgency to save these kids. Support as many businesses as you can who are working to end trafficking. One example is AAHOA, the Asian American Hotels Owner Associations. One of their top 5 initiatives is to end human trafficking in their hotels. They get everyone from managers to janitorial staff trained to recognize and respond to trafficking.

If anyone wants to see the film, it’s on Amazon. If you have Amazon Prime, you can download it for free. It’s also accessible on vimeo and available to rent. Please share it with as many people as you can.

The Red X Podcast got started after Nicole and Lance worked on an anti-trafficking initiative in Apex. Lance offered Nicole a platform to communicate the issue to local warriors through a podcast and the Red X Podcast was born. A podcast is a great way to get the word out to listeners on the go. Lance leveraged his experience in radio, running live audio and doing editing on computers to put together the podcast company, Fresh Oil Audio. Lance is now opening up the opportunity to others who would like to start their own podcast. Maybe you like to preach or teach and want a way to record or maybe you have a passion or are a blogger and are looking for another avenue to communicate. Lance is offering his expertise to help you develop your own podcast. Recordings do not have to be done remotely. You can find out more or connect to Lance at www.Freshoilaudio.com on twitter @freshoilaudio.


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