Friday, July 8, 2011

Dan Marino Gets in on the Game!!!

Former Dolphin quarterback Dan Marino produces film on human trafficking

With the backing of Dan Marino as executive producer, filmmakers hope to highlight the problem of human trafficking in the United States during the American Black Film Festival.

WHAT: The Shanghai Hotel film

WHERE: Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Ave, at 5pm.

INFO: For details visit

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Dan Marino can now add executive producer to his growing list of professions.

In his latest project, the Hall of Famer and former Miami Dolphin quarterback teamed up with director Jerry Allen Davis to co-produce The Shanghai Hotel—a film about human trafficking in the United States that premieres Friday on Miami Beach as part of the American Black Film Festival, which runs through Saturday. The festival showcases black filmmakers.

Davis, a longtime friend of Marino, wrote the script for the film in the 1990s when, he says, human trafficking garnered little attention in the U.S.

But with the issue of domestic sex slavery having entered the public conscious in recent years, he believes now is the perfect time to show his film.

“I figured that if I had one opportunity to say a message in a film I wanted to say something important,” Davis said. “I figured this is something very important.”

The Shanghai Hotel tells the story of a young Chinese woman who illegally buys her way into the United States for a better life. She travels to the country thinking she will work in the technology industry, but when she arrives, a Chinese gang forces her into prostitution in order to pay off her debt.

Although Marino has no close ties to the issue of human trafficking, he said he decided to make his producing debut with The Shanghai Hotel to support Davis and his passion for the film.

But Marino said something else connected him to the film— two daughters he adopted from China.

“They are beautiful little girls, and I am not sure it relates at all to the movie, but at the same time there is a special feeling there.”

Human trafficking hit headlines in recent weeks because of a feud between Ashton Kutcher and The Village Voice, which has published an ongoing series on human trafficking. Kutcher tweeted that there are between 100,000 and 300,000 children in the U.S. sex trade today, and The Village Voice blasted this claim with a front page story that criticized the numbers as an exaggeration. The publication also took issue with activists who cite the figure as fact.

Adriane Reesey, chair of the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition, says human trafficking is prevalent across the country, although she acknowledged statistics are unreliable because the crime so often goes unreported.

According to Reesey, the number of victims of human trafficking is likely larger in South Florida than in other parts of the nation. Because of the region’s reputation as a tourist mecca, it is a prime destination for runaways and other vulnerable women.

“It’s happening all over the place here,’’ Reesey said. “We have a lot of educating to do and people just need to open their eyes about what is going on. It’s an issue that deals with our being human. And at the core of our very being, we need to understand that people are not for sale, that people are not commodities."

Davis, the filmmaker, said he wanted to premiere the film in Miami because the problem of human trafficking needs to be brought to light.

“Miami is a hub for a lot of trafficking issues, so this kind of hits home,’’ he said. “Why not in a place where the incidents of trafficking are happening and you have strong organizations who are working to prevent it?”

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