In all my years of watching movies, I’ve never come across anything quite like Sound of Freedom, an independent film that is based on the incredible true story of a former government agent turned vigilante, who embarks on a dangerous mission to rescue hundreds of children from human trafficking, will release in South African cinemas nationwide on Friday 18 August 2023.
Thanks to a special pre-screener last week, I was lucky enough to be one of the few to see it first and words can’t describe how amazing it is with heartbreak and all kinds of emotions evoked whilst watching, such is the power of the overall story that most people in the cinema were crying and watching in disbelief. The film has been dubbed the “sleeper hit” of the year by critics internationally who did not foresee the remarkable success that it has achieved at the American and European box offices.
During the weekend of 21 – 23 July, Sound of Freedom outperformed Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, according to Rotten Tomatoes, taking third place in earnings behind the “Barbenheimer” behemoth in America. In the weekend prior to that, it outgrossed Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Sound of Freedom is based on the real story of Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Department for Homeland Security agent who conducts sting operations to rescue a young brother and sister from human trafficking in Colombia. Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” plays Ballard in the movie.
The film’s production house, Angel Studios launched an unconventional, grassroots “Pay it Forward” initiative to help people get to cinemas to see the film, and help spread awareness for the cause globally. This initiative will be running in South Africa. Caviezel explained the intent behind the call to action at the end of the trailer for the film, and at the end of the film is to help people “hear the story” of trafficking children.
“Our goal is to inspire two million people to attend the film’s opening weekend to represent the two million trafficked children around the world,” he said. “Angel Studios set up a pay it forward program where you can pay for someone else’s ticket who might not otherwise see it. If the ticket price is preventing you from attending, claim your free ticket.” So far the two million goal has been exceeded and is on four million and counting.
The film’s South African distributor, Gravel Road Distribution Group, have set a target to raise 10,000 tickets from everyday South Africans and corporates, for those who cannot afford to see the film in cinemas, through their #PayItForwardAngels campaign. As the population dynamics and circumstances are somewhat different to the USA, some of the funds raised will also go towards covering the cost of transport to get certain communities to and from the cinemas.
South African audiences can go to this website for more information on how to donate, or claim a ticket locally.
Benjamin Cowley, CEO, Gravel Road Distribution Group shared his anticipation about the film’s release: “Sound of Freedom tells an important story, one that all too often is hidden in alternative media. Child trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon and it is estimated that there are more people in slavery today, than ever before. I hope that through the film’s release, we can help raise awareness of the magnitude of the issue and contribute towards positive change”
I described it as the movie of our lifetime and probably one of the most important pieces of content one can invest their time in watching as well as going a step further by getting involved in the fantastic #PayItForwardAngels campaign. Sound of Freedom is a powerful example of how storytelling can be used to drive forward and bring awareness to real issues. If I could I would ensure that it stays on the circuit for many more years because of it’s main premise.