L.A. Times echoes Sands of Silence PBS premiere

L.A. Times echoes Sands of Silence

WORLD Channel and PBS premiere

To celebrate the International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Women and Children (which is commemorated today) and, incidentally, Hispanic Heritage Month (which ends on October 15),  this weekend the celebrated documentary “Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage”, which deals with the aforementioned subject from a mostly Latino perspective, will be aired.

The work is inspired by Virginia Isaías, a Mexican woman who managed to escape with her 6-year-old daughter from a prostitution ring in Chiapas to finally settle in Anaheim, California, and who, after a decade of effort, rebuilt her life and became became an ambassador against sexual exploitation due to her pivotal role in the Human Trafficking Survivors Foundation.

This led to the L.A.-based Spanish documentary filmmaker Chelo Alvarez-Stehle  take a long look at a phenomenon that, unfortunately, remains active. And she did it through this work, which in addition to portraying the hardships of women belonging to various communities, she moved her to Mexico, Nepal and even her Basque Country of origin to deal with experiences from her own past.

“This is the culmination of a 12-year effort by the crew and the survivors of the film… Knowing that it is going to enter the hearts of millions of homes in the United States gives me hope. It means that countless people will be moved and inspired to act. ”

“Sands of Silence,” which has been screened in cities ranging from Shanghai to Sydney and at Yale, NYU, and UCLA universities, among others, has received numerous awards, including Best Documentary Feature from the Los Angeles Press Club Awards, Best Humanitarian Documentary at the Women’s International Film and Television Showcase, and both Best Documentary and Audience at the Malibu International Film Festival.

READ MORE at the LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

Ms. Magazine features Sands of Silence PBS premiere

Sands of Silence airs and streams on WORLD Channel and PBS

Tune in on Sunday Sept. 27, 2020, 7pm PT / 10pm ET

or

Stream at WORLD Channel http://bit.ly/DW_SandsofSilence

Ms. Magazine – an interview with Sands of Silence director Chelo Alvarez-Stehle by author and scholar Carrie N. Baker 

“For the last two decades, journalist and filmmaker Chelo Alvarez-Stehle has traveled the world investigating and documenting women’s experiences of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

In her award-winning documentary film, Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage—premiering on PBS on Sunday, Sept. 27—Alvarez-Stehle brings together the stories of women she has filmed with her own story of abuse and those of her family members.

Shot in Spain, Nepal, Mexico and the U.S., the film explores the spectrum of sexual violence—from sex trafficking, to child molestation, to trusted adults sexualizing the young people in their care. Avarez-Stehle delves into the devastating and long-lasting impact of this violence, showing how childhood experiences of abuse make women vulnerable to future violence, and the ways girls and women are silenced or encouraged to deny the impact of this violence….”

“Sexual violence occurs along a spectrum, but the common denominator is silence,” Alvarez-Stehle told Ms.

The film begins on a beach in Spain with Alvarez-Stehle telling the story about how one summer, her nine-year-old sister was abducted by an adult man, who took her into a cabana and molested her. The incident “robbed us of our childhood’s magical aura,” says Alvarez-Stehle. Her family’s silence about the incident inspired her decades-long journey exploring the pandemic of sexual exploitation and trafficking across the globe.

The film then tells the story of Virginia Isaias—a Mexican-American woman who experienced child sex abuse, then as an adult was abducted with her infant daughter and forced into prostitution in Chiapas, Mexico. Isaias says her family taught her to be silent about her abuse, but she finds healing as she speaks out about her experiences.

READ MORE at Ms. Magazine

Sands of Silence Premieres WORLD Channel / PBS ~ Sun 9/27/2020

Photo Credit: William Sparkes

WORLD Channel’s “Doc World” Series

& 174 PBS Stations

September 27, 2020 @ 7p PT / 10 p ET

Celebrating

International Day Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children

and

WORLD Channel Hispanic Heritage Month celebration

“This is a culmination of a 12-year effort,” says director Alvarez-Stehle, “on the part of the team and the survivors in the film. Knowing the film is going to enter the hearts of millions of households across the U.S. gives me hope. It means that countless people are going to be touched and moved to take action. Our film impacts and helps heal both victims and perpetrators,” she adds, “as we have witnessed in our presentations in prisons, universities and communities around the world.” The film has had an international impact campaign with screenings from Shanghai to Sydney and in universities from Yale, NYU and UCLA, to Oxford, Barcelona, Brisbane and Hiroshima.“This film is a tool that moves those who watch it to break their own silence or help others to do so,” adds Alvarez-Stehle, “and inspires them all to be part of the solution in the fight against the long standing sexual violence pandemic that affects us all.”

There are two ways to watch:

ON-AIR: WORLD Channel is a public media channel produced by GBH in Boston and carried by 174 PBS affiliate stations across the country.

To find your local WORLD station, go to http://www.worldchannel.org/

A pop-up will ask you to click and confirm your preferred local station. Once you have made your selection you will be able to navigate to the “schedule” page where you will find local tune-in information and local broadcast times.

If there is no broadcast channel for WORLD in your area, you can watch online: http://bit.ly/DW_SandsofSilence

ONLINE: WORLD Channel will also be streaming the film for 30 days starting the day of the broadcast: http://bit.ly/DW_SandsofSilence

WORLD Channel’s National Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 23 is International Day Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children, established by the World Conference of the Coalition Against Trafficking in coordination with the Women’s Conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in January 1999. On September 23, 1923 the first legal norm against child prostitution, known as Palacios Act 9.143, was enacted in the world.

 

 

Los Angeles Press Club Screening with Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times

“SANDS OF SILENCE: Waves of Courage” is

the LA Press Club’s 2017 SoCal Journalism Awards

Feature Documentary Winner

Exclusive screening of

“SANDS OF SILENCE: Waves of Courage”

on April 26

Moderated by Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times

Watch the 34 min. video of the Panel Discussion

“SANDS OF SILENCE: Waves of Courage” is the LA Press Club’s 2017 SoCal Journalism Awards Feature Documentary Winner. Through the transformation of sex-trafficking survivor Virginia Isaias into an inspiring advocate, “Sands of Silence” celebrates the triumph of the spirit with a call to action to break the chains of sexual violence worldwide.

“In a searing exploration of the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women worldwide, journalist Chelo Alvarez-Stehle also documents her own relatives’ sexual abuse, as well as her own, as they work through their efforts at coping and healing. A moving, poignant documentary of women learning to deal with the physiological and psychological stresses of abuse.” – LAPC 2017 SoCal Journalism Awards Judge.

 

SABLES DE SILENCE: Vagues de Courage

Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage

Un film documentaire sur la violence et le traffic sexuel

SYNOPSIS ~ Après plus de 15 ans consacrés à dévoiler le monde souterrain de l’exploitation sexuelle et du trafic des êtres humains de l’Asie à l’Amérique, la journaliste et réalisatrice espagnole Chelo Alvarez-Stehle revient sur la plage de son enfance, Zarautz, au Pays Basque, pour nous révéler ses secrets de famille. C’est lors de son travail en compagnie des survivantes du trafic sexuel qu’elle fait la connaissance de Virginia Isaias, une jeune mexicaine qui parvient à s’échapper avec sa fille de six mois d’un réseau de prostitution basé à Chiapas et traverse la frontière américaine. Il lui faudra dix ans de dur labeur pour reconstruire sa vie et devenir une ambassadrice contre l’exploitation sexuelle. Inspirée par Virginia, Chelo décide de creuser dans les profondeurs de son sujet de prédilection, la violence sexuelle. Ainsi naît un voyage introspectif qui conduit la réalisatrice à revenir en Espagne brisant un long et douloureux silence personnel et familial sur les violences sexuelles.  

— 86 min. (USA/Espagne, 2016) (Anglais, espagnol, nepali – Sous-titré en français)

Sables de Silence Trailer French


CRITIQUES

“A travers des histoires brûlantes que Chelo Alvarez-Stehle raconte dans son film, elle démontre que les abus et le trafic sexuels sont seulement des exemples dans un continuum. Elle a apporté une importante contribution à la discussion globale sur les attaques sexuelles et la culture du viol. Ce film fait partie du nouveau mouvement des documentaires indépendants qui révèlent d’importantes vérités concernant de terribles secrets que nous gardons en tant que société et le bilan qu’il engendre sur chacun de nous.”    — Prof. Jack Lerner, École de droit University of California, Irvine et membre du Bureau des Directeurs de l’Association de Documentaire internationale.  

“Dans ce documentaire qu’elle a mis 15 ans à réaliser, la cinéaste et journaliste espagnole brise le silence autour du trafic sexuel à l’échelle mondiale, mais également autour des abus subis dans sa propre famille. Un silence qui ne profite qu’aux prédateurs et aux trafiquants.” Lire l’article intégral de «Prostitution et société» magazine ici.

 “Sands of Silence démontre que le traumatisme n’est pas simplement la situation critique de femmes dans des pays lointains. Il peut exister près de chez nous et ne peut être combattu que par de la transparence et de la communication. Les récits contenus dans le documentaire font de ce film une source d’aide pour des individus et des groupes abordant les cas d’abus et de trafic sexuels.” Lire l’interview intégral d’Agnès Films en anglais ici. 

PRÉSENTATIONS

— NATIONS UNIES – New York – High Level Political Forum, 2017

— PARLEMENT EUROPÉEN – Intl. Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 2017

— Universités au tour du monde: Oxford, Barcelona, Madrid, Yale, NYU, UCLA, Brisbane, Hiroshima                                                                

— Prisons de l’Espagne à la Californie

PRIX

Universities – Feedback

FEEDBACK from Students and Faculty

“I’ve had three sexual assaults and I didn’t know that it was an assault because I wasn’t “raped.” I compared my stories to others and thought that it wasn’t that bad, I had no right to be upset. Also, because there was no gun to my head or a knife at my throat I thought I let it happen, that it was my fault. I beat myself up for not pushing the guy away. I just froze and I interpreted that as I gave the guy permission.  This is why I feel the most important part of Sands of Silence is Virginia validating that your own experience is indeed significant, that it doesn’t not matter exactly what happened physically, there is a psychological impact of violation.”

A 25 year-old graduate after a screening at Yale University

“Sands of Silence is a deeply moving work that will leave no one untouched by its message to put an end to sexual violence. Its secret lies in the self-reflexivity that characterizes the approach of the filmmaker as well as the structure of the film. Chelo skilfully interweaves her own inner journey towards acknowledging the trauma that she herself endured as a result of sexual abuse with the stories of victimized women from around the world. She thereby draws us into the abysses of sexual violence and human trafficking as well as into complex and often painful processes of healing.       The diverse experiences documented by the film also bring home the truth that sexual violence occurs not only in milieus associated with deprivation and crime but right in our own seemingly protected homes and communities.Importantly, Chelo’s non-judgmental stance creates a space for daring questions and open conversations, in the film and beyond. Our discussion after the screening at Hiroshima City University encompassed the situations of victims as well as perpetrators; cycles of violence and abuse and how to stop them; silences in families and communities and how to break them; and, notably, the fact that wartime sexual violence committed in the past may continue to haunt the nation of the perpetrators in the present. I have seldom seen our students so attentive and wholeheartedly involved.” 

Ulrike Woehr, Gender Studies Professor, Hiroshima City University, Japan

“Please help me. I was sexually abused by my physical therapist. He convinced me he had to touch a point in my vagina to cure my shoulder problem. I told my mother and she went to confront him but he denied anything of that sort. I want to report him but I don’t dare…”

An 18 year-old Journalism freshman

“Thank you for screening The Sands of Silence for my class on psychological trauma. It was a powerful and impactful experience. As several of the students pointed out, it made the topic of psychological trauma, which we have spent the last 6 months studying from a theoretical and clinical viewpoint, come alive. The film portrayed a chilling picture of trafficking on women and child victims. But it also showed how common sexual abuse is, and how it can take a seemingly subtle form, yet still have long term effects on a person’s view towards relationships, themselves and their role in the world. This is a rampant problem internationally, and your film helps to bring awareness to this problem. I know that the experience of seeing the film will remain vivid for my students as they embark on their careers as trauma therapists.” 

Ellyn Goldstein, MS, LMFT, Adjunct Faculty, Psychological Trauma, California Lutheran University

“Sands of Silence: Waves of courage takes us into an often invisible secret world where women are enslaved and sexually trafficked. A perilous world which can often seem far away and beyond relief. However, the director Chelo Alvarez-Stehle shows us that human sex trafficking is but one step away from sexual and domestic abuse that infiltrates all areas of society. This film compels us to confront the secrets, venues and patterns that make sexual violence possible. While this film is challenging, it is also filled with hope. That survivors of any level of sexual abuse deserve a voice and a chance to heal and no matter what part of society we inhabit we can be a part of the solution. And indeed the human spirit is triumphant.”

Cynthia V. Duarte Ph.D., Director, Center for the Equality and Justice, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, California Lutheran University