"Right now, there are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here...21 million people. I just hope that 150 years from now, our ambivalence will not allow another filmmaker to make this film."
Like the Stowe Center does with all of its programs, McQueen made direct connections between the past and the present, proclaiming that the issue abolitionists and anti-slavery advocates (including Stowe) worked for 150 years ago persists; there is still work to be done. In a recent article, the British publication The Guardian asked "Will 12 Years a Slave help fight against slavery?" considering the roles of other films about slavery and their impact. In one particular paragraph, reporter Oliver Balch commented:
"And a film's impact doesn't have to end with its screening. Promoting audience discussion and debate after a film's screening is "absolutely critical" for films about slavery, says John Biaggi, director of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. It provides the opportunity for viewers to probe issues further and, ideally, to decide what actions they can take."
So do you think the success of movies like Taken and 12 Years a Slave raise awareness of modern day slavery and encourage the fight to end human trafficking and other forms of bondage? What action are you compelled to take? Share your comments below.