Sound of Freedom director Alejandro Monteverde recently discussed the upcoming film with Angel Studios President Jordan Harmon that puts “a spotlight on the global movement to end the trafficking or minors.”
The film stars Jim Caviezel as Tim Ballard and “is based on the incredible true story of a US government agent who quits his job to devote his life to rescuing children from global child traffickers.”
Ballard is the founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad. The company’s vision is to “lead the fight against child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation around the globe. Our work has no boundaries- we go to the darkest corners of the world to assist law enforcement in rescuing children and ensure ongoing aftercare. We provide critical resources to law enforcement and preventative efforts that benefit at-risk children worldwide.”
Monteverde discussed the film noting, “in order to create change you have to create awareness about this darkness so we can shine light.”
He went on to explain how he got involved, “Years ago, I didn’t know this was happening. I had no idea. When I tell you, I had no idea, no clue that these horrors were happening to children. And one day I was watching, don’t quote me on this, but one of those 20/20, 60 Minutes; it was one of those. And they did a piece on child trafficking. It was a like 15 minute piece. It was 11 p.m. at night. I’m sure it was a rerun. My wife was sleeping. And I believe there are two kinds of films: the ones that you want to make and the ones you’re called to make. This is definitely a calling.”
“It was 11 at night, my wife was sleeping. I woke her up and I said I have to do something about this, and she didn’t know what I was talking about. The next day I woke up and I wrote a treatment and it was called the Mogul. And the treatment was not a true story. It was just I felt like I needed to tell a story about this subject matter.”
Monteverde went on to detail, “And I presented it to my agents and I started trying to dive in and started researching more. And a month later I get a call and they tell me the story of Tim Ballard. And when I met Tim and I heard his story, I realized my fictionalized story was so under this powerful true story and I realized I had to tell that story.”
“And then I met Tim and now we are here. It took a little while to convince Tim, and a little while to get here,” he added.
Despite the film going through some distribution troubles, which included The Walt Disney Company shelving the project after it acquired it in the 20th Century Fox deal, Monteverde believes this is all part of God’s plan.
He explained, “To me this is perfect timing. I do believe if this movie would come out earlier I don’t think the audience was ready. Right now, there is unfortunately, there’s advertisement for this film, but on the wrong side. Every day there is these atrocities happening on the news everywhere. Children trafficked. Sexually abused children all over the place.”
“But something that is really important about this film,” he relayed. “I knew this is a dark subject matter so I wanted to figure out a way and I feel — you can be the judge — but I feel we succeeded into presenting a really difficult subject matter to digest in the most digestible way possible through the power of cinema. And that was the main goal. It’s a film on the essence of the story it’s actually it’s inspirational.”
Monteverde would later detail, “When we were raising the funds for the film, obviously, people were saying, ‘Hey this is a really risky film to make.’ And I said, ‘It’s super risky movie to make, but it’s riskier not to make it.’ Way riskier not to make it. For darkness to win is for good people to do nothing about it. So it was very important for us that we would make this movie. And it’s true. If we don’t talk about this subject matter it’s very risky not to talk about it.”
“I’m just excited and very grateful for you guys to take the risk to get this out into the world,” he said.
The director would also address concerns that the film might be eschewing entertainment value in favor of raising awareness on the dark subject matter, “The most important thing at the end, you know, people want to see a movie, and that’s the format. There’s a magic so there’s the magic of entertainment. It’s a show business. No show, no business. No business, no show. So it’s create a spectacle.”
“So I understood that even though I was diving into this darkness I had to use the power of cinema, the power of storytelling, to convey this message, the importance of this message, but at the same time to give the audience what they want, which is to be entertained as well,” he explained. “So, it’s like how can we do both? Is to really give the audiences the art and the artistry of storytelling through the cinematic narrative, but at the same time to tap and shine a light into this darkness. When those two things come together I made sure that I surrounded myself with incredible talent. I feel Jim Caviezel, in my opinion, did one of his best works in this film. And the whole cast and my cinematographer.”
“I believe we listen with our eyes. This is a story that taps into that and we use this vehicle,” he concluded.
The film’s official synopsis states, “Sound of Freedom, based on the incredible true story, shines a light on even the darkest of places. After rescuing a young boy from ruthless child traffickers, a federal agent learns the boy’s sister is still captive and decides to embark on a dangerous mission to save her.”
“With time running out, he quits his job and journeys deep into the Colombian jungle, putting his life on the line to free her from a fate worse than death,” it concludes.
Angel Studios announced they picked up the film back in May with Angel Studios CEO Neal Harmon stating, “SOUND OF FREEDOM is respectfully and stunningly filmed, based on real events of undercover heroes bringing hope to many.”
He added, “This film will keep audiences on the edge of their seats with suspense and encourage all of us to take action.”
Caviezel noted, “I am so proud to be a part of this impactful film. In fact, I’d say this is the second most important film I’ve done after THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.”
Along with Caviezel, the film also stars Mira Sorvino, Bill Camp, José Zúñiga, and Eduardo Verástegui. The movie is expected to arrive in theaters on July 4th.
Do you plan on checking this film out when it arrives in theaters?