How can creators use their gifts to make a difference in the world? Well, the cast and crew behind the independent film No One Knows are creating a story of awareness about the horrors of child abuse. I had the chance to talk with producer Daniel Hoyos through email about the upcoming film.
Here is our discussion about a story that gets pretty dark in some places.
First of all, give us the quick pitch for No One Knows.
The Smiths could be any family. They could be your neighbors. When twelve-year old Jason looks in his neighbor’s window, he learns he’s not the only kid living in an abusive environment. What he learns will change his life.
From watching your IndieGoGo video, I understand that Jamie Livingston-Dierks wrote the script. How did you come across her material?
I met Jamie thru a mutual friend in June, and she passed on the script for No One Knows. The interesting story behind No One Knows was some big L.A. producers turned down the script cold years ago because of the controversial subject matter.
Talk to us about your fundraising process. I saw that you’re fully funded and ready to begin filming!
The story of just how we got funded was pretty amazing; we got a lot support early on from script chat community, but the biggest break come after we decided to give away Stop Child Abuse bracelets from the national organization Child Help.
I must thank our lead actress 13-year old Sami Isler who basically won over our sponsor Child Help because of a small pitch video she made. Together with the non-profit Help Spread This, we pushed the campaign over the top. In the end we raised over $3,000 in 2 hours bringing the grand total to $8,243. At one point we ever got celebrates including Mariel Hemingway and Melanie Griffith.
Child abuse is such a difficult and pervasive subject that automatically stirs up deep emotions. How do you feel that the script handles the temptation to come across as a “preachy” warning against abuse?
What first attracted me to the script was the fact that it’s not being preachy in anyway, and the storyline doesn’t feel like walking advertisement for child abuse. The script is very raw and emotional. I feel this is definitely a film kids should watch with their parents so they can explain the content to them.
As of the beginning of your fundraising campaign, you already had a director, a D.P. and your cast! Have you worked with any of these individuals before?
Last year I worked with my director Bunee Tomlinson on another short film called Play for Me, which is about an old composer and his granddaughter. The film won best Cinematography at Sierra Canyon Film Festival. The rest of my cast and crew are from Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa. I feel extremely privileged to work with such professional people.
I can only imagine the challenge it must be for child actors to play such serious roles in a story like this. How difficult was it to find the right kids?
In all honesty, No One Knows was the hardest film I have ever cast, yet I enjoyed the challenge. A lot of mothers wouldn’t let their children audition for role of Hannah because of one specific scene involving Mr. Smith undressing his daughter from behind. Without question that had to be the darkest hour because originally the Isler family turned down the role, but Sami begged her mom to play the part, and because this stroke of luck we got our first choice Hannah.
Now that funding is achieved, how soon do you begin filming?
We start filming August 10TH in Oklahoma City for 3 days; the main locations included a community church, the Smith family house, and the neighborhood park.
What advice would you give to artists who feel strongly about a cause? How should they go about making art that reflects their passion?
If you have a passion for cause, the arts can be a great way to express yourself, let other people know about the project. Getting sponsors on board can be a great way to reach a wider audience; in the end you’ll be surprised how many people care enough about the mission statement behind the project.
Lastly, how can we keep up with all of the latest info for “No One Knows”?
A big thank you to Daniel. I’m looking forward to seeing the final version of this film, and I know it will be a powerful tale to speak out for the neglected. Keep track on the progress of the film by bookmarking the website and liking the Facebook page.