COMING TO PBS THIS MONDAY, MARCH 23 – The award winning documentary The Rescue List will have its national television debut on PBS series POV.
Rescued from Slavery, Two Children Help Save Others in The Rescue List premiering This Monday, March 23, 2020
Former child slaves in Ghana help their rescuer find others trapped in modern slavery; From directors Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink, and executive producer Steve James.
Winner – Winner Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award – Heartland International Film Festival
Winner – James Blue Award – Ashland International Film Festival
Winner – Best Documentary Feature – BendFilm Festival
In a hidden safehouse in the Ghanaian forest, social workers help two children recover from a childhood enslaved to fishermen on Lake Volta, the largest manmade lake on Earth. But their story takes an unexpected turn when their rescuer embarks on another rescue mission and asks the children for help.
Directed by Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink, The Rescue List has its national broadcast debut on the PBS documentary series POV and pov.org on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). The film is a co-production of Collective Hunch and American Documentary | POV. POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series now in its 32nd season.
Haunted by the memory of his friend who disappeared on the lake, twelve year old Edem is reluctant to talk about his experience. Despite being rescued from slavery months earlier, Edem is overcome with grief. Social workers believe that Edem’s shyness and lack of focus in school are signs that he is wrestling deeply with the disappearance of his friend. As they coax him to reveal the truth of his friend’s fate, they also search for a way for Edem to come to terms with this trauma in order to heal and move forward – which he must do in order to be reunited with his mother.
Meanwhile, Peter, 17, is burdened by a sense of responsibility to help find his best friend, who is still enslaved to their master on the lake. “I want the rescuers to go back and bring him here,” Peter says.
When Kwame, their rescuer, announces that his team is setting off on another rescue mission and needs the children’s help, Peter seizes the opportunity, setting in motion a journey that will change the boys’ lives forever.
Kwame is part of a local team dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating children who have been trafficked and enslaved to fishermen on Lake Volta. As the story progresses from rescue operation to rehabilitation shelter, he reveals his deeply personal connection to this work.
Intimately following Kwame, Peter, and Edem as they work to recover from their trauma, The Rescue List provides these protagonists with a forum to tell their own stories through their words and actions, allowing universally resonant themes to emerge. Filmmakers Fedele and Fink, guided by their backgrounds in anthropology and commitment to collaboration with their subjects, spent many months in the field building relationships with the rescue team, social workers, and the children. “We chose to viscerally portray the under-represented personal experience of slavery through our protagonists’ day-to-day lives, rather than through the reductive lens of an issue-based advocacy film, which tends to focus solely on victimhood,” said Fedele and Fink.
“The Rescue List is an intimate perspective on trauma and the lived experiences of slavery and what it means to recover,” said Chris White, executive producer for POV. “In the stories of Kwame, Peter, and Edem we find not only a journey of healing, but profound resilience and friendship that transcends victimhood.”
Director: Alyssa Fedele, Zachary Fink
Producers: Alyssa Fedele, Zachary Fink, Davis Coombe
Editors: Alyssa Fedele, Davis Coombe
Original Music: William Ryan Fritch
Executive Producers for POV: Justine Nagan, Chris White