Updated: Apr 14, 2019
"About two weeks ago on April 2nd, 2019, we premiered Gridshock at the Des Moines Civic Center. The turnout and impact from that night was more than I could’ve dreamed"...
About two weeks ago on April 2nd, 2019, we premiered Gridshock at the Des Moines Civic Center. The turnout and impact from that night was more than I could’ve dreamed.
Taylor Bluemel and I started this journey with a 60 day Indegogo campaign with the goal of raising $35,000. We had an all or nothing campaign meaning if we didn’t raise all of our goal, everyone would be refunded, and the film wouldn’t happen. Films are so incredibly expensive to produce, and we didn’t want to take any short cuts with this project. We made our goal a day before the deadline! We didn’t just gain the funds for this film, we gained a community that was invested in Gridshock and the story it would tell.
We though fundraising was hard but Taylor and I had no idea how difficult it would be to carry out this documentary. Production was easily the hardest thing I have ever done professionally. The information, details, and stories that we sat with will forever be a part of us. They change you, and they change the way you look at the world.
We decided early on in production that we wanted to focus our attention on johns/buyers. The people who fuel the demand for exploitation. What we learned was shocking, terrifying, and deplorable. After production, we spent well over 6 months sitting with the interviews until we finally were ready to edit and piece together the film.
…… Now back to the premiere.
I don’t think I have ever been more nervous for an event than I was that day. All of our hard work, blood, sweat, and tears would be revealed. I spent most of the day pacing and taking deep breaths because I couldn’t figure out how to calm down.
The time for the premiere came so quickly and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people showed up for the VIP reception. The room was filled with Gridshock balloons, food, and our biggest supporters. I was mostly anxious and nervous to show the film, but I was also nervous for my speech.
How could I ever sum up the past year? Our work? All we’ve seen and experienced? I walked out on stage to be greeted by an enormous audience. Over 1,000 people who were just as excited to see the film as I was.
I gave one of the most powerful speeches I’ve given in my life (video to come) and I could see and feel the love in that room. I walked off stage feeling ready to show the world what I’ve been working on.
The film played, the credits rolled and when I walked back on stage after I was met with a standing ovation.
The outpour of support, comments, and feedback has been INCREDIBLE. Countless people have told me this film has changed their perspective and their life. People left that auditorium with a new fire, a new awareness to join this fight to be a part of eradicating sex trafficking. People left that auditorium with an awareness, understanding, and compassion they may not have had before.
As a filmmaker and activist, the response from the premiere and after has been more than I ever hoped for. The film and its the message is spreading like wildfire. I know this is only the beginning. As soon as I have information on it’s release, you’ll be the first to know.
In the meantime, I want to thank you for making this premiere the best documentary premiere of my life.