Like every industry, we can’t forget that there are a lot of good people in the film industry as well. Today we hear from two independent filmmakers who use dramatic storytelling to raise awareness about important issues that most people in Hollywood won’t touch.
No Restrictions Entertainment is an independent film company that delves into issues Hollywood largely ignores. Their film “A Child’s Voice” is a supernatural thriller based on the very real issue of child trafficking and ritual abuse. Producer John Paul Rice (L) and Writer/Director Edgar Michael Bravo (R) discuss their film, why they want to raise awareness about this issue, and their hopes for the future of the film industry.
Raising Awareness about Child Trafficking via Film
There’s been a lot in the news recently about child trafficking because of Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest. You produced a film last year called “A Child’s Voice.” Although it’s a supernatural thriller, it deals with the real issues of child trafficking and ritual abuse. Why did you want to make this film?
John Paul Rice: We learned about human sex trafficking of children through our research online. It started with people like Robert David Steele coming out and speaking about pedophilia long before anybody really had a confirmed it. And then it led us to people such as Ronald Bernard who was an ex-Dutch banker, financier, who gave a testimonial two years ago in five parts discussing his bringing up into this system, this financial system, from a businessman to a career criminal. And his testimony was speaking about, as you moved up into these groups, it came into child sacrifice as the initiation. If you refused that, it would ensure that you would not be brought up into the highest echelons of power.
Edgar Michael Bravo: Before I made the movie, I had no clue about this … as we got deeper into it, we started seeing BBC documentaries about it, The Guardian in the UK talking about it, prime ministers involved in this horrible stuff in Belgium, the UK and the Netherlands–across Europe and across the United States. There were all these horrible things that have been documented by police enforcement. It was quite a shock. I just could not believe this has been going on.
We deal with subjects that people generally don’t touch in a dramatic way. And so that’s why we made the decision to do it. We thought, you know, more people will talk about it a little bit more after seeing our movie, and then they can do the research on their own, and then they can do whatever action they feel is appropriate. — Edgar Michael Bravo
Hollywood Since the #MeToo Movement
You guys have been in Hollywood for quite a while. Allegations of widespread pedophilia in the industry have been circulating for years. So is this really an open secret that everybody knows about? And if so, have you noticed any changes in the industry since the #MeToo movement started?
Edgar Michael Bravo: Well, what I have noticed is that people are more nervous and more careful. It used to be blunt. People didn’t care. They just went ahead and did whatever. But thank God, as more people have learned and all that, people are being fired, people are being laid off, people are resigning. And they’re being more careful about it is what it seems to be.
John Paul Rice: I think that the awareness in Hollywood, especially among actors and actresses that I’ve spoken to, has gone up in the last several years. The #MeToo movement obviously was an awakening of consciousness. Obviously the industry wants to control its messaging and will counteract what it can to keep the worst parts out. But overall, there’s a majority of people in this town today, in L.A., that know more about human trafficking and pedophilia going on–both in Hollywood and Los Angeles–more than ever before.
How Can Society Help?
Lots of people are focusing on who else is involved in Epstein’s trafficking ring. But the fact is that there are tons of children who have been abused. How can we as a society help these children–and adults who were abused as children–heal?
John Paul Rice: For the people that are listening to this and go, what can I do? Really it’s loving your children and giving them a loving sense that they’re safe and cared for and protected. Because, ultimately, that’s what happens is that these pedophiles–and people who do worse to children–prey on the most vulnerable and weakened individuals who come from the worst homes. That’s the general core of the people that they are taking in and abusing because they’re able to manipulate them.
Advice for the Film Industry
So you guys have been in the industry for a long time. Do you have any advice for young people, or their parents, who are trying to get in the film industry? How can people stay safe and excel in the industry?
Edgar Michael Bravo: For actors, the parents just have to be involved and be very alert and first know that this kind of stuff happens and the telltale signs of all that … for young men and women who want to be filmmakers, to me the most important thing is to be authentic … that’s the advice I give to filmmakers who want to get into it, because that gives them the strength to tell their deepest truths that they believe in. And it gives you strength to handle the ups and downs because it’s a crazy business.
For parents and children, they should know that the majority of the industry as it exists, especially in independent film, is mostly made up of people who are relatively decent … What we’re talking about is a small group of people at a high level of power who have a lot of influence. — John Paul Rice
John Paul Rice: And so in the independent world–it’s not to say that everyone else is fine–but parents and filmmakers usually have a little bit more of a closeness versus these big productions where you have 2-, 300 people on set. I think parents need to be aware of the law and they need to be aware of where their child is at all times. And that alone, just having oversight and vigilance, will curtail any potential of there being a problem.
Looking to the Future
Edgar Michael Bravo: I’m just encouraged about how there are more and more people awakening to all kinds of issues that have been buried. And as I said earlier, I really have a love for film as a way to express your particular view of the world. So I am happy that more and more people are getting into film, either documentaries or fiction, because emotionally involving people is so powerful, and it can help people seek new things or have strength to deal with things.
John Paul Rice: As this continues to build an awareness–especially as the Epstein case moves forward and potentially other disclosures–that initial shock is the first wave. But the second wave is the consciousness and the coalescing around new ideas, which are laws that are going to be needed.
Many of the trusted faces and the on-camera personas that we have attached ourselves to emotionally and have been conditioned to will be broken. And then that means that what happens next is who can we trust? And the only way to fix that is to have full transparency and new laws that are going to come, not automatically, but as more people learn about this, the demand will grow. — John Paul Rice
John Paul Rice: What we think is a possibility is that in three to five years from now, you’re going to be seeing a totally different industry, possibly a different kind of government, at least in the way that the laws are written to be able to hold people accountable because we can never return to this time ever again.
Press play at the top to listen to the entire in-depth interview with John Paul Rice and Edgar Michael Bravo.