Home #Hwoodtimes “Wake Up” To Reality

“Wake Up” To Reality

By Gordon Durich

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/11/22 – In a meeting of reality meets drama, the powerful new award -winning film “Wake Up” does just that.  Wakes us up. The subject matter, human trafficking and foster children, is neither new nor undeniably present, however director Janet Craig’s treatment of it is.  Raw and confronting.  Her eldest daughter, 16, went to a school event and then told her about Forever Found, a trafficking organization.

“I wanted to do more than just make a documentary about this important issue,” said Craig. “I wanted to take elements of stories, similar to ‘Crash’ (director Paul Haggis’ “passion piece”) about different people in Los Angeles.  Her film was “inspired by a real life incident and tied it to the topic of trafficking. Sex trafficking and foster children being abused.”

Inspired by actual stories of foster kids and human sex trafficking victims, “Wake Up” is a disturbing and urgent film. “It’s R-rated because it has a little bit of a gut punch,” said Craig, with whom I talked before this screening in Agoura Hills. The premise is that a quiet California community is rocked by the targeting – and kidnapping and selling of foster girls by a sex trafficking ring. This is enough to wake any parent up from complacency. But there’s more.  A disturbing element is pornography, and its devastating impacts.

This film was billed as a thriller, however, “Wake Up” is hard to categorize in the traditional sense. A series of vignettes are tied together, with twists and turns.   The passionate Craig, who lives in Thousand Oaks,  also a foster mom, said she wanted to take the film into the local and wider community, and that she did.  “I had to do something,” she told the riveted audience.  Area churches such as Atmosphere, Calvary and Emmanuel were among those invited.  “Wake Up”’s premiere was at The Directors Guild of America, Hollywood.

Craig attends as many screenings as she can. In fact, The Regency Agoura Hills Stadium 8 Cinema  is hosting a week- long season of “Wake Up” screenings, for which Craig is very grateful. She spoke and will speak before each screening. Further, after the screening will introduce various joint community organizations.

“I thought it was important to bring the issue out in the community, to the places it would be most impacted by,” said “Wake Up’s” writer, director, producer and actor. Also featured is a great ensemble cast.   Craig appears in the film as Annie.  In the film, the couple is adopting a foster child whose neighbor, a doctor plays an important role in the plot.

Rated R, the film was principally shot in Santa Paula, Ventura County.