Stop The Candy Shop

On Monday night, Honey and I drove into town to attend the premiere of The Candy Shop at the Fox Theatre. I first wrote about my work on the film back in August and have been counting down the days until the movie was ready, eager to see the final product.

We held hands in the darkened theater and watched this beautiful, terrible film come to life.

Still from The Candy Shop by Whitestone Motion Pictures. Costume sewn by me.

It’s odd to describe something as both beautiful and terrible, but it’s true. The Candy Shop is a Depression-era fairytale addressing the very real, very timely issue of child sexual exploitation. Atlanta, my home of the past 10 years, bears the awful distinction of being the country’s No. 1 city for child sex trafficking. Utterly horrifying and unbelievable — but true and supported by news stories and arrests, even in the past two days.

I was slightly giddy at seeing the costumes I’d sewn on screen, and grabbed my friend Amor’s arm a few times to silently celebrate our work. But much of the two hours was spent in stunned silence, fighting back tears at the thought of such horrors. When Amor told me about the movie this summer and offered to pass along my information to Dana, the costume designer, I jumped at the chance, as much for the cause as the costuming. Seeing the movie, I was overwhelmed by my good fortune at being involved — however minor my role — in something so powerful.

Brandon McCormick, the founder of Whitestone and director/producer of its films, told the audience of 4,500 people that The Candy Shop isn’t a PSA; it’s not meant to merely create awareness. Instead, the film is the start of a movement. Seeing the movie, hearing the statistics, feeling the vibe at the Fox — I have no doubt that Whitestone has kicked off a community-changing movement.

All proceeds from the film will benefit Street GRACE, a partnership of churches, community partners and volunteers dedicated to eliminating commercial child sexual exploitation. Whitestone plans to make the film available for viewing online some time next month but also is working on events in other cities (check out Whitestone’s Facebook page to keep up with the latest news).  In the meantime, you can visit Stop The Candy Shop for more information about the cause, what’s being done and how to get involved.

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