13th Annual Colony Short Film Fest to Feature ‘The Price of Free’

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Friday, March 1 through Saturday, March 2 mark the 13th Annual Colony Short Film Festival, which will take place at the Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta. The festival is intended to spotlight independent short films from around the globe, and this year the event is highlighting The Price of Free, the winner of the 2018 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, as one of the festival’s special features.

The producer of the film, Sarah Anthony, spent a large portion of her early years in the Mid-Ohio Valley, and WOUB had the pleasure of speaking with her about the making of the film. That Q&A is below.

WOUB: For those who are not familiar, could you tell us what The Price of Free is about?

Sarah Anthony: The film is the story of Kailash Satyarthi, who has dedicated his life to the empowerment of children, and more specifically to ending child labor and child slavery. He and his colleagues started Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), which stands for Save the Childhood Movement. They have worked for 30 years conducting rescue missions (where they break into factories or workshops) and have freed over 86,000 children. Additionally they have worked on the legal side to change laws around child labor and child trafficking. Kailash organized a world-wide march across 103 countries, which resulted in the International Labor Organization ratifying a treaty against child labor. In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

We wanted to make sure that the film wasn’t just a historical piece, because there are still over 150 million children working around the globe. So in additional to Kailash’s personal story, there are two present-day story lines. The film opens with a raid on the factory and we follow the rescued children through their rehabilitation. BBA also receives frequent requests for help finding missing children, so we also follow the story of the hunt for a missing boy which includes going undercover to befriend the trafficker. It was important to us that the film be an entertaining adventure, as well as outlining the problem and inspiring audiences to help.

WOUB: Can you explain your involvement in the filming and production of The Price of Free? I feel like oftentimes people don’t really understand what a producer does.

SA: I was lucky enough to work with director Derek Doneen and producer Davis Guggenheim, who are both very collaborative. So I was involved in all aspects of production – from the story development, through the filming, editing and post-production as well. My first role was to make a plan for telling the story, which involves creating a schedule and a budget for what it’s going to cost, where and when we’re going to film and how we’re going to do it. I was also the Producer on the ground in India, organizing crew and equipment and all the filming. I helped with the research, going into the field to find the characters that we would follow. Because we had so much to film in a limited amount of time, the director and I often split up and I would go with a cameraman to the villages while he stayed in Delhi to film.

I was also responsible for managing the schedule and budget along the way to make sure we didn’t go over budget and captured everything we needed in the time we had. If you’ve ever seen the old film Stuntman, the producer walks around shouting “Time! Money!” That’s a big part of the job, making sure you don’t run out of either of those things. You make sure you have the crew and equipment you need to get the right look, and that you film what is needed to tell the story the director wants to tell.

WOUB: I understand that you are originally from the Southeast Ohio/West Virginia area! Could you comment on your time here and maybe tell me about how it impacted your career in the film industry?

SA: My family moved to Parkersburg when I was very young and then to Vienna, so my entire childhood and teenage years were spent in the MOV.  I feel lucky to have grown up in a place that was very safe and secure, with a strong sense of community. I was very involved in extra-curricular activities, and I suppose one of the things that impacted my career is the sense of teamwork and camaraderie that I got from things like being on the Red Wing drill team. There were lots of opportunities to contribute in high school and that’s something that I took with me into the film world – jumping in to working with a team and taking on whatever was needed. I think I was also lucky that my grandparents and extended family lived in England, so we travelled a lot to go visit them. I always knew that there was a big world out there and I wanted to see as much of it as possible, so documentaries are perfect for that.

Check out a full schedule of events for the Colony Film Festival right here. There will be multiple opportunities for audiences to engage with filmmakers of some of the films being shown at the festival, and Anthony will be speaking to audiences at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 with fellow filmmaker Sara Taksler.