SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2015
By Don Simpson | January 29, 2015
Director: Kim Longinotto
Under the alias “Breezy,” Brenda Myers-Powell worked as a prostitute for 25 years. An extremely violent encounter with a “John” landed Myers-Powell in a hospital in desperate need of facial reconstruction. That fateful moment was enough to convince Myers-Powell that she needed to change her life as well as the lives of others.
Kim Longinotto’s Dreamcatcher observes Myers-Powell as she attempts to fulfill her mission of ending human trafficking in Chicago. Her organization, the Dreamcatcher Foundation, helps abused, drug-addicted women regain control of their lives. Armed with an overwhelmingly positive and caring personality, Myers-Powell gives hope to these women who would otherwise be lost. Myers-Powell’s unwavering strength and self-confidence serves as an anchor for the women, convincing them that they can survive outside of the sex industry. Thanks to the Dreamcatcher Foundation, they learn that their lives are not completely hopeless; they have a chance to follow Myers-Powell’s example and turn things around.
Knowing that she needs to stop the problem at its source, Myers-Powell works to prevent the sexual exploitation of at-risk youths. Via this harm reduction approach, if the Dreamcatcher Foundation can provide young at-risk teens with the strength, confidence and security they need, the hope is that the inherent cycle of neglect and violence will be broken, and there will be a much better chance that they will not succumb to being enslaved by the sex industry. It often seems that their only options to make money are prostitution and drug dealing, but the Dreamcatcher Foundation seeks to provide them with other choices.
Longinotto’s insightful documentary serves an inspirational tool to convince others that the sex trafficking problem in at-risk communities might not be a lost cause. There is hope as long as this world has more positive motivators like Myers-Powell to lead the way; the problem is, Myers-Powell seems like such a uniquely paragon personality for this role. Myers-Powell encapsulates her role with such perfection that it seems impossible to imagine that anyone else could replicate her successful methods. One might even go as far as saying that Myers-Powell is a modern day saint.