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Film about modern child slavery screens at main branch of library, Feb. 13

"The Rescue List" has been rescheduled at the main branch of the county library system in Port Huron for 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13.

The screening of ‘Rescue List’ has been rescheduled to Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., at the Main Branch of the St. Clair County Library System. Technical difficulties led to the cancellation of the screening on Feb. 11.

By Jim Bloch

“My name is Edem,” says a little Ghanese boy, looking directly into the camera with his dark, still eyes. “I don’t know where I come from. One day when I was seven years old, my mother gave me a bag and sent me away with a stranger. We drove far, far away. The next day, he took me out on a boat. The lake was very big and there were trees growing out of the water. From then on, all I did was work.”

The trees are not living. They are black stubbed-off husks rising eerily from Lake Volta, the largest manmade lake in the world, created in 1965 by the U.S. firm Volta Aluminum as a result of building the Akosomobo Hydroelectric Dam. The lake spans 3,000 square miles in central Ghana and is the site where 18,000 children are enslaved to fishermen who work the water.

“The Rescue List” is a documentary that explores modern slavery through the stories of three young men freed from its bonds and are in the process of recovery.

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The film was directed by Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink for the PBS independent documentary series P.O.V.

As part of P.O.V.’s community outreach program, the movie will be screened at the main branch of the St. Clair County Library System, Port Huron, in the Gilbert Wilcox Meeting Room, 7 p.m., Tuesday, February 11.

“The directors are our kids,” said Bernardo Licata, a resident of Harsens Island. “Zach is my wife Nancy’s son and Alyssa is his wife. They went back and forth to Ghana for three years making the film. She does the sound work and editing and he does the cinematography.”

“This opportunity came upon us pretty fast,” said Mike Mercatante, who does community relations work for the library. “Tracking their lives over the course of a year as the children prepare to return home, the film reveals the extraordinary bonds of friendship that they formed on the lake. It also draws into focus the complex circumstances under which children are trafficked and the challenges of recovery and reunification.”

The program is free, Mercatante said, but attendees must register at http://www.stclaircountylibrary.org/EventInfo.aspx?id=29526.

This an opportunity to see the film before it debuts on PBS’s P.O.V. on March 23 at 10 p.m.

Fink’s cinematography was on display on the PBS science show Nova on Feb. 5; the episode, called “Polar Extremes,” followed paleontologist Kirk Johnson’s work on the history and future of ice on the poles.

Licata screened “The Rescue List” at the Lions Hall on Harsens Island on Feb. 1 for about 60 people. The evening included a FaceTime discussion with Fink following the screening. Licata anticipates a similar discussion after the library showing.

Attendees will receive a handout with information about contributing to rescue organizations and how to find out more about modern slavery, which affects 45 million people worldwide and 100,000 in Ghana. One in four slaves are children. For further details, contact the library at 810 987-7323.

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