Anglia Ruskin launch for sex trafficking exhibition

Published: 3 May 2016 at 11:22

Image of a girl surrounded by glass shards from The Crossing

New art installation, supported by Emma Thompson, is on display in Cambridge

A powerful multi-screen film about sex trafficking, supported by the actress Emma Thompson, has been launched at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

Titled The Crossing, the unique film exhibition is on show until Saturday, 21 May.  It has been carefully edited across 13 interconnected screens in the Ruskin Gallery to provide a powerful, immersive and thought-provoking experience.

The Crossing is directed by Dr Shreepali Patel, Course Leader for Film and Television Production at Anglia Ruskin, and produced by Special Treats Productions CEO Colin Burrows. Burrows said: 

“Essentially this is a follow up to the exhibition Journey from 2007.  Emma [Thompson] was heavily involved in that, but because it was housed in seven large shipping containers, it was an expensive piece of work to move around. 

“This new piece, The Crossing, is a very simple series of messages about sex trafficking, but is absolutely beautiful to look at.  Shreepali and her team at Anglia Ruskin have produced a very impressive piece of work for us.  And unlike Journey, because it’s a film, it’s easy to show in different locations.”

At the heart of The Crossing is the tale of a young trafficked girl, and the story unfolds using live action, visual effects and immersive sound design across interconnected screens.  The result is an intense exploration of the black market economy and the destructive consequences of human trafficking.

Dr Patel, a BAFTA award-winning filmmaker and the co-director of Emmy Award-winning production company Eyeline Films, said: 

“According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, a third of the 21 million people trafficked each year are children, a number which is growing rapidly. 

“As such this installation takes as its starting point the concept of ‘hope’ and examines its gradual unfurling reality into an exploitation of trust, which helps to perpetuate a violent and well-organised industry.”

The Crossing will go on display in digital galleries across the country including London, where the installation is set.  The filmmakers also gave special thanks to Thompson for her help securing permission to film at a well-known London landmark.

Burrows added: 

“We wanted a spectacular shot of the Thames and had the idea of filming using drones flying from the roof of the Tate Modern.  It was fraught with difficulty but thankfully Emma managed to call in a favour or two and permission was granted.  

“As well as her support throughout the project, we were incredibly lucky to have had probably the most famous location manager ever!”

Entry to the Ruskin Gallery on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus is free of charge and the gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-4.30pm.  The Crossing is on show until Saturday, 21 May.  Because of the themes discussed in the film, The Crossing isn’t recommended for children under 14.