VV TV Star Blogger Film Producer Glenn Fraser
I was recently invited to get involved in an Australian short film on a serious subject matter. Human Trafficking. As both a documentary and narrative filmmaker, I’ve had the luxury of travelling and seeing a world that is largely off-limits to most. I consider it a great privilege as a conduit of those stories and bear a certain responsibility in their dispersion to a wider world. AnoraJPhotography_20151026_WTYSL_MG_7225-2
In light of recent events, we have seen both vegans and those individuals of various religious denominations jump on social media to demonstrate a ‘holier than thou’ response to tragedy. Instead, I like to focus on what some call an intersectionalist response. Where we bring together a collection of the ‘-isms’ – racism, sexism and speciesism and try and colour in between the lines of all of them.
In co-writing and directing a film about human trafficking, it has brought to the table a number of individuals with particular humanist concerns and seen them invest a good deal of time and effort into the project. We’ve just finished shooting and it’s gone extremely smoothly, and I was privileged to have had an awesome vegan caterer (props to http://veganmealsdelivered.com.au) on board who went above and beyond to keep the crew nourished with ethical, cruelty-free foods.
It provoked a lot of questions, why are we eating vegan food, why can’t we choose? The queries came up during the quiet times, while we were setting up shots or waiting on crew or actors. And the answers were equally quiet and deliberate. How can we be so concerned with the suffering and abuse of one section of society, and so in denial about another? When I wrote the screenplay, I wanted to ensure that the dialogue also worked as a perfect analogue to what we as vegans discover amongst the horrors of animal abuse scenarios.
I chose to use terms like how we cannot ‘unsee’ imagery when it is presented to us, and though our call to action may be subtle, it should serve to empower those amongst us in the simplest, most achievable ways. In WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?, I follow the path of a photographer in her journey from taking jobs for money, where she hides her concerns about the world behind the safety of a lens, to evolving into someone who braves some real darkness to record nefarious activities, enabling her camera’s lens to evolve from simply a recorder of beauty into being a real weapon for change.
Glenn Fraser film setThe lens or the glass screen being analogous for most of us slacktivists in our concern for real issues – insulating us from real contact and yet permitting our witnessing of atrocities all around us. The ticking of a Like button in social media doesn’t necessarily mean we care any less about a subject, it simply means we are often disempowered in our responses to the daily tragedies that surround us. Our take-away for our human rights film is simple.
Look deeper. Question, don’t just shake your head and look away. 
The amazing thing is that we in the West are so empowered with two particular tools that invest us with obligation and an ability to effect change. We don’t need to try and bring down governments with our activism, but as we are seeing in other activist endeavours, the cameras on our smart phones enable us to capture pieces of the truth as they happen around us. Do it. Don’t fear it. Wield those lenses as weapons of choice and of change. Secondly, never forget the power of our voice. It can take the form of a shouted address at a demonstration, or it can make the most of the quiet, affecting opportunities that spring up around us every day.
Ostensibly, our film will be about human rights. A lot of those who came together to help make it did so because they thought they were helping humans alone. Some of those creatives will have walked away with ideas about how power structures in society keep us – and others – imprisoned and disabled by the everyday rhetoric that colours our discussions of gender, race, and our animal cousins.
I may have helped join up the argument for a few more people. I hope so. You can be as sure as hell, though, that when I start talking about the film on its release, and the achievable actions we can all take on an everyday basis, animal rights will indeed be sharing the stage with her human cohort.
Come and join us on the film’s Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/whattookyousolongfilm/?fref=ts and continue the discussion.
Glenn Fraser food