Julia Verdin’s “Lost Girls” Making An Impact - Changing The World Through Film

From left to right: Siena Goines (Ms. Sanchez), Will Brandt (Greg), Cristina Cibrian (Marisol), DP Peter Holland, Director Julia Verdin, Tori Griffith (Beth), Co-Producer Halil Sevis, Photo courtesy of Rough Diamond Productions

Director, Julia Verdin’s short film, “Lost Girls” screened at Neue House as part of a social awareness event and fundraising push to raise money for Saving Innocence. Child sex trafficking is quickly becoming the most pervasive social crisis in the United States. Saving Innocence is a non-profit organization that provides aftercare and housing for rescued trafficking victims.

 

Lost Girls Official Movie Poster, Photo courtesy of Rough Diamond Productions

Some of the stars of Lost Girls, including Bar Paly (Pain and Gain, NCIS), Siena Goines (Criminal Minds, Chase), Jamie Harris (Turn, Agents of The Shield) and Will Brandt (Animal Kingdom) were in attendance at the event. The audience included other filmmakers such as directors, Guy Moshe and Bernard Rose; producers Jason Piette, Glen Ackerman, and Jason Resnick; Actress Olivia D’Abo and TV personality  Lady Victoria Hervey. The film’s executive producer Sean Michael Acosta hosted the event. Saving Innocence CEO, Alan Smyth, delivered a moving speech concerning the current situation of teen trafficking in Los Angeles and efforts to raise awareness.

 

Still image from Lost Girls, Photo courtesy of Rough Diamond Productions

 

From Left to Right: Bar Paly (Kara), Siena Goines (Ms. Sanchez), Director Julia Verdin, Photo courtesy of Rough Diamond Productions

In August 2016, the Ventura County Sheriff arrested five people suspected of operating a sex trafficking ring.  A San Fernando Valley based task force apprehended 200 pimps and johns sending a message in the fight against this crisis. Lost Girls, and the ensuing fundraising efforts, is timely considering these recent developments by law enforcement.  The film serves to raise awareness as a growing number of teenage victims are desperately in need of aftercare. “Film can be a very powerful way of creating awareness and rallying people to action on important issues such as this.” Verdin continued, “it’s why I made this film, and hope it will start the conversation on this very important issue."

 

From left to right: Executive Producer Sean Michael Acosta, CEO of Saving Innocence Alan Smyth, Will Brandt (Greg), Director Julia Verdin, Bar Paly (Kara), Photo courtesy of Rough Diamond Productions

Verdin, who also wrote the script, handles the difficult material delicately. As a director, she cleverly provokes the audience’s imagination to convey the horror of the abuse to which the young victims were subjected rather than gratuitous exploitation with this subject matter.  

Still image from Lost Girls, Photo courtesy of Rough Diamond Productions

The music, composed by Emily Rice, complimented the film setting a dark, haunting tone. Cinematographer Peter Holland skillfully used shadowy and gloomy tones to enhance Verdin’s vision. Verdin clearly achieves the goal of the film resonating through conversation and questions following the screening. The audience was clearly deeply impacted and moved by the film.

Lost Girls is successfully navigating the film festival circuit with recent screenings at the Raindance Film Festival, La Femme International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, where it won “Best Drama” and “Best Ensemble Cast” awards.

Verdin is currently preparing to produce a follow-up feature film set in the same world but a slightly different storyline.

Please visit the Lost Girls Official Website for more information. 

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