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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: Documentary

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December 1, 2014 at 6:03 AM

‘The Long Night’ film sheds real light on sex trafficking in Seattle, King County

How do we fix or prevent a problem if we don’t even understand its scope? That’s one of the questions that motivated me to write my most recent column on child sex trafficking.

In that piece, I mentioned Seattle journalist Tim Matsui’s film, “The Long Night.” Shot between fall 2012 and fall 2013, Matsui takes a journalistic approach to showing us what is happening to our young people on the streets. There is no judgmental narration or public shaming, as other sex trafficking films have done. Matsui does not have to tell viewers what to think or what is right and wrong. After seeing the film twice with different audiences, I can tell you viewers are moved to talk about the problem and do something. 

“I want people to have an emotional connection with the characters and to understand just how far-reaching the [sex trafficking] issue is, and how it comes from these root causes that we don’t generally think about,” he says. “Dysfunctional home life, domestic abuse, lack of education — these root causes create vulnerability that are then exploited.”

Over the next seven days, the  documentary will stream at this link for free. (After next week, streaming video of the film will only be viewable for a fee.)

Here’s a preview:

Prostitution in all forms is often perceived as a victimless crime. But once you associate sex trafficking with real people, especially children, does your perception change? Watch the film then join us here at the Opinion Northwest blog on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. for a Google+ On-Air Hangout.

Matsui is scheduled to participate. We’re also working on getting other experts to share their knowledge of the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the Seattle area. Why is this happening? How many kids are affected? What can or should be done about it?

Have questions you want us to address? Send me an email at ttan@seattletimes.com. The hangout will be live, but a recording will be embedded on this site afterward. 

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Comments | Topics: Documentary, king county, Seattle

October 15, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Shame on the NFL for ignoring its workforce

I watched the Frontline documentary, “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” with mixed emotions. Certainly the behavior of the National Football League toward its players – its employees – was arrogant, despicable, even vulgar. The league, and the owners and teams it represents, spent years and years denying the occupational health hazards suffered by players….

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Comments | Topics: concussions, Documentary, frontline

August 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

‘The Campaign’ shows how Prop. 8 ignited marriage-equality revolution

This Seattle Times news account of state Sen. Ed Murray’s marriage last Saturday to his long-time partner Michael Shiosaki warmed a lot of hearts, including mine. Murray, a Seattle Democrat, fought well over a decade to convince a majority of his fellow lawmakers to support legalizing same-sex marriage. Patience pays off. The two wed exactly 22 years from the day they met during a hike to Mount Rainier.

The political wedding of the season happened just a few days before the highly anticipated documentary film “The Campaign” is scheduled to screen Thursday at SIFF Uptown in Seattle at 7:30 p.m. KCTS 9 will broadcast the film next Sunday at 11pm. Here’s a preview:

Aw, that’s right. Four years before Washington state voters made history by becoming one of the first electorates in the union to affirm marriage equality, there was the 2008 campaign in California for and against Proposition 8, a measure by same-sex marriage opponents to define marriage in that state’s constitution as a union between one man and one woman. Two lower courts ruled the amendment was unconstitutional before the case reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Last June, the justices ruled they had no authority to decide on the case, thereby allowing California to resume same-sex marriages. (Read the Wikipedia explanation of this rather complex legal battle at this link.)

The stunning outcome of that election raised our collective consciousness and ignited a revolution (and lots of fundraising) in states outside California, including right here Washington. It forced a mainstream discussion about gay marriage not just as a social or political wedge problem but as an issue of human rights and personal freedom.

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Comments | Topics: Documentary, ed murray, prop 8

April 30, 2013 at 6:30 AM

PBS documentary forces unflinching look at migrant deaths in the Arizona desert

Calls for comprehensive immigration reform center around the people who left other countries and made it here. But what of those who set out to come here but never made it?

Since 1998, more than 2,000 dead bodies have been found in Arizona’s Sonora Desert. They are the remains of migrants braving the desert’s hellish temperatures to cross into the U.S.  Last night, PBS aired   The Undocumented, a powerful documentary film that follows Marcos Hernandez as he searches for his father,Francisco, who vanished while walking through the Sonora.

The documentary’s power lies in gritty interviews, haunting music and spare narration. The dead lie unidentified in morgues but filmmaker Marco Williams makes sure they do not go unremarked upon.

In the U.S. the immigration debate takes on academic tones thick with numbers and legal statuses.

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Comments | Topics: congress, Documentary, immigration reform