CAST LA’s Survivor Advocate Program – Sensitive Content, Viewer Discretion Advised
In December, Jeff Schwartz of Primalux released a project for the Survivor Advocate Program (SAP). The program is an LA-based collaboration between The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Human Trafficking (CAST) with Los Angeles Department of Public Health and Dignity Health aimed at ending modern slavery. CAST has been empowering survivors for over 20 years by putting them at the forefront of the conversation.
Alongside the social workers and lawyers, they advocate for anti-trafficking policy in government and work with other survivors on their journey to freedom. Like CAST, the SAP is survivor led and provides comprehensive, life changing services to survivors of human trafficking. In 2019, the program received Mutual of America’s Community Partnership Award and Schwartz was tasked with telling their story.
“It’s a jigsaw puzzle. Many stories from many faces locking into place with the mission to empower.”
Jeff Schwartz, Director, Primalux Video
Jeff called on Flavorlab Score to start on music and Flavorlab Sound for sound design and mix. Following pre-interviews with the organization in LA, he started with our music team. “I went to a Stones concert after I got back from LA and Darryl Jones was playing his bass solo and it resonated through the whole stadium, remembered Schwartz. It was this nasty, disco groove and I thought ‘This is it.” The team’s first goal was to solidify the dark and dirty LA setting. They wanted to ground the rhythm section with a pounding kick so they utilized a large, eighteen inch floor tom.
The pre-interviews gave Jeff a lyrical base. He lifted phrases from his conversations with employees of CAST and survivors to create the anthem and knowing he wanted to play off the groove with sweeter sounds, Schwartz looked to acclaimed vocalist, Marlon Saunders. “We could hear all the joy and love from the moment he started singing. Marlon got the vocal in one take,” reflects partner, Glenn Schloss. The theme song provided a base for the entire score. The majority of the video’s music takes on a more supporting role. Utilizing the same groove and style, it elevates the story behind the stories of the survivors who are starting their new lives.
“We wanted a warm, anthemic sound built on this foundation to highlight the resilience of the survivors.”
Erik Blicker, Composer, Flavorlab
Back in Los Angeles, Jeff filmed with CAST. Despite their initial talks, he wasn’t sure how willing the survivors would be to discuss their experiences, especially now, in front of a camera.”We went in knowing this would still be sensitive,” remarked Schwartz. “They were very open with us. Men and women, people from all over the world, many from the United States, and they could each write a book.”
Accounts ranged from people trafficked to work in restaurants, farms, factories, and private homes to those groomed from childhood for sex, often by those closest to them. “What frightens me is traffickers walk free and not an insignificant amount are successful, well to do people,” continued Jeff. “I don’t look at anywhere I go the same anymore. This isn’t an issue in some far off land, it’s happening right here at home.”