Hidden inside overcrowded factories around the world, The Price of Free film tells the story of countless children who are forced into slave labor due to rising global demands for cheap goods. With the help of a covert network of informants, Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and his dedicated team carry out daring raids to rescue and rehabilitate imprisoned children. The film is a fresh and inspiring story about Kailash’s relentless dedication for ensuring that each child should have a childhood. Film was also celebrated with 2018’s Grand Jury Documentary Price in the largest independent film festival in the United States – the Sundance Film Festival. Without further ado please read our interview with film’s director – Derek Doneen.
What got you into filmmaking?
My fifth grade English teacher, Mr. Berger, got me into storytelling. He had a weekly assignment that instructed us to use vocabulary words in a short story. So I started a series of mystery stories following detective Joe Schmoe and just fell in love. But it wasn't until I injured my knee in high school and was forced to stop playing sports that I really got into filmmaking. I loved the immediacy of being able to pick up a camera and explore the world around me. Documentary filmmaking allowed me to connect intimately with people whom I might never have access to in normal life. It allowed me to explore questions that had been gnawing at me. Today, it gives me the freedom to explore huge, global themes in very personal, human ways. And through that journey, continue to learn about myself.
When and why you decided to make this movie?
My mentor and the producer of the film, Davis Guggenheim, was shooting his movie He Named Me Malala about Malala Yousafzai as she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. He texted me from Oslo during the ceremony telling me about this amazing man he'd just met. I was stunned that I'd never heard of Kailash or his work, and really only had cursory knowledge about child labor around the world. The more I read about him, the more I realized his story needed to be told. I was so moved by the children who had recently discovered their freedom.. and inspired by the brave rescue missions Kailash undertook, risking his life to free them. I thought if the world could see what he and his team were doing, they'd think more carefully about the things they're buying, and they'd pressure companies to be more transparent about supply chains. He always says, "Do your bit." And I felt that making this film was the least I could do to do mine.
What you want people to know?
That there are still more than 150 million children across the world - that's 1 in 10 - who are forced to work at the cost of their freedom, and that we ALL have a say in ending child labor. We need to demand that the companies we buy from are more transparent about their supply chains. We need to say "enough is enough" and "we're not going to buy your goods if there is even a chance that children made them." The more we come together and rally around this issue, the more we'll see change. Every person can make a difference. And at the very least, have a clean conscious about the things they're wearing and using!
You and your clothes: tell me all.
Oh boy, where to start. Obviously my philosophy on this has changed dramatically since I started working on the movie. I had to go through my closet and weed out the things I wasn't sure about - it was probably time to lighten the load anyway - and am extremely conscious about the things that I buy now. Luckily, my fashion choices are pretty simple. I don't like to wear a lot of branded clothing and the colors are usually rather neutral. There's a lot of black, white and grey in my closet. Beyond that, I mostly care that what I'm wearing fits right and is comfortable.
Any future plans you'd like to share?
I'm pitching my new project next week! It's a documentary series, but I don't want to give too much away until it becomes official. Fingers crossed!
Participant Media. Each and every film produced by this company brings awareness to social and environmental issues in the most graceful and moving ways and... wait for the best part!... invites everyone to participate in making things better together! Participant’s more than 80 films, including Merchants of Doubt, Kite Runner, NO, Syriana, Neruda, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, The Fifth Estate, Citizenfour, Food Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 56 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins. Make sure to check their films out - I promise you - you will not regret it. Plus worth noting that this media company was founded by Jeff Skoll who was among the initiators of social entrepreneurship movement with his exceptional organization Skoll Foundation which invests, connects and celebrates social entrepreneurs.
We do our best to ensure the products we sell are child, forced, unfair labor free. Checkout our international online shop. You can also see our Social Welfare Promise.
Keen to learn how to ensure the products you produce are child labor free? - learn about the Child Labour Free Certification.
This article is part of the article series "Fashion Films":
Derek Doneen | Documentary | Fashion Films | Free of child labour | Independent Film | Kailash | Nobel Prize | Participant Media | Social Documentary | Sundance | The Price of Free