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Arts & Entertainment

Sex trafficking drama set for Tucson premiere at Roadhouse Cinemas

The dramatic feature film "WAKE UP" will premiere in Tucson on Jan. 5, with producers hoping it will enlist more people's help in the fight against child sex trafficking.

The film, meant to open eyes and stir nerves, will premiere at Roadhouse Cinemas, 4811 E. Grant Road. It will be immediately followed by a special Q&A panel bringing the filmmakers, local leaders and community together. 

The red carpet will be rolled out at 5:30 p.m. and the show will start at 6 p.m.

"WAKE UP" tells the story of a quiet community rocked when a pair of foster youth are targeted and taken by a sex trafficking ring. A daring rescue is mounted — but will it be too late?

The story is based on a composite of true accounts Janet Craig — it's writer, director and producer — ran across after becoming a foster parent and learning about abuse within that system.

Craig describes the film as having elements of the 2005 Academy-Award winning drama "Crash" and the Liam Neeson thriller "Taken."

Her hope is that the action doesn't stop on the screen as various Tucson advocacy organizations will be on-hand to enlist the help of the people watching the film. 

"On a movie set people bring different skills and different gifts to make a film," Craig said in an interview. "People can also bring whatever time, treasure and their talents to fight this global crisis.

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This premiere's sponsorship and/or expected attendance includes Aetna, Children’s Advocacy Center for Southern Arizona, Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, MercyCare, Tucson Police Department, Second Story, RaisingHOPE, Zoe International, Forever Found, Ending The Game, Capstone Direct, and support from Christian Alliance For Orphans.

Roadhouse Cinemas is donating theater time for the event.

The sex-trafficking issue is one of the few to bring together the help of left-wing activists and right-wing evangelical Christians.

In the U.S., the FBI estimates that more than 100,000 children and teens are victims of sex trafficking and it’s estimated that 60 percent of victims have been within foster care or the child welfare system.

The film stars Craig, (Butterfly Caught), David Gridley (Team Kaylie), Isaac C. Singleton, Jr. (Anger Management, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), Judson Mills (Walker, Texas Ranger), Brooke Anne Smith (Too Close To Home), Matt Socia (Breaking Them Up, Better Call Saul); along with several newcomers at the center of the story, including Tori Griffith, O’Shay Neal, Chasnie Houston and Xan Gabriel. 

The discussion after the film will be hosted by Kristen Wise, Craig's co-producer and foster mom to more than 100 children.

All proceeds from the film will go to organizations working on behalf of the victims of sex trafficking.

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Mike Yuen

"Wake Up" will premiere at a red-carpet opening at Roadhouse Cinemas on Jan. 5. The screening is meant to enlist Tucsonans' help in the ongoing fight against child sex trafficking.

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