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Dreamcatcher

Synopsis

For twenty-five years Brenda Myers-Powell called herself 'Breezy' and she dominated her world - or so she thought. It was a world that had turned her into a teenage, drug-addicted prostitute. After a violent encounter with a 'john,' Brenda woke up in the hospital and decided to change her life. Today she is a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength for hundreds of women and girls as young as fourteen who want to change their own lives. DREAMCATCHER explores the cycle of neglect, violence and exploitation, which each year leaves thousands upon thousands of girls and women feeling that prostitution is their only option to survive. By following the very charming, charismatic and truly empathic Brenda, we enter the lives of young women and see in vérité footage their realities from their points of view. While the world may overlook these women and men, thankfully Brenda has not, providing an unflinching exposé which contrasts seeming hopelessness against the difference that one person can make in the lives of many.

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The Filmmakers

Kim Longinotto Director

Internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto is one of the pre-eminent documentary filmmakers working today, renowned for creating extraordinary human portraits and tackling controversial topics with sensitivity and compassion. Longinotto’s films have won international acclaim and dozens of premiere awards at festivals worldwide, including the World Cinema Jury Prize in Documentary at Sundance, a Peabody award, the Cannes Prix art et Essai Award, the Amnesty International DOEN Award, a BAFTA and Jury prizes at both the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Longinotto studied camera and directing at England’s National Film and Television School (NFTS), where she made her first film, PRIDE OF PLACE, a critical look at her boarding school. Throughout her career she has directed many documentaries for broadcasters including BBC, HBO, PBS and Channel 4. Notable titles include DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, about women and divorce in Iran, THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET, about young girls in Kenya challenging the tradition of female circumcision, SISTERS IN LAW, about female justices in Kumba, CAMEROON, HOLD ME TIGHT, LET ME GO, about troubled children at England's Mulberry Bush School, Rough Aunties, about a remarkable group of women unwavering in their stand to protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children in Durban, South Africa. PINK SARIS set in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India followed. Her latest film, SALMA, is set in Tamil Nadu, India, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2013.

Lisa Stevens Producer

Born in California, then transplanted to New York, Lisa moved to Europe in 1996. She was Creative Director at an advertising agency in Paris for two years, before moving to London and leaving advertising behind in 1998. She began working for the BBC in 2000, making Arts and History programs. Since 2004, Lisa has been producing documentary programs for UK based independent production companies. Her skill with difficult subject matters and the ability to gain access to hard to find people makes her a sought after producer. She has produced several landmark documentary series for National Geographic Channel; Outlaw Bikers, Uunderworld Cities and Drugs Incorporated. She produced Crack House USA for Channel 4 and MSNBC.

Teddy Leifer Producer

Teddy founded RISE Films in 2007 and has since produced or executive produced all of its films and television programs including the 2013 Oscar Nominee, THE INVISIBLE WAR. In 2013 he won an Emmy Award for his work on THE INTERRUPTERS, directed by Steve James. His other producer and executive producer credits include WE ARE TOGETHER, ROUGH AUNTIES, COWBOYS IN INDIA, MUSLIM SCHOOL, ROAD TO LAS VEGAS, KNUCKLE, and WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL? starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Teddy has made films for broadcasters including BBC, Channel 4, PBS and HBO which have gone on to win multiple awards at the Sundance Film Festival. He is currently producing a new film directed by Kim Longinotto, developing a romantic comedy with the BFI, executive producing a drama written by Irvine Welsh (TRAINSPOTTING) and producing a second series of PLEBS, ITV2's ancient Roman sitcom. The first series was the channel's highest rating comedy ever.

THE LATEST FROM @dreamcatcherdoc ON TWITTER

Dreamcatcher has been nominated for Outstanding Documentary at this years NAACP Image Awards! https://t.co/qQKCvpB1O0

January 7, 2016

RT @toksyk27: Watching this @DreamcatcherDoc just reminds me of the amazing power of resilience and what having someone believe in you can …

Retweeted from @Toksyk #BLM

December 7, 2015

Congratulations to Kim! https://t.co/S3WL9yFDAr

December 4, 2015

Follow @dreamcatcherdoc

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2015

Winner - Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary

Brenda is on a mission to disrupt the cycle of neglect, violence, and exploitation endured by girls and women in inner-city Chicago. On any given day, she’s performing interventions with at-risk teenagers, female prisoners, and prostitutes on street corners. She uses unconditional love, non-judgmental support, practical help—whatever it takes for them to change their own lives. But the most powerful weapon in Brenda’s healing arsenal is the raw honesty she can offer because she’s been where they are. For 25 years, she survived as a drug-addicted prostitute, even recruiting innocents into the “lifestyle” and abandoning her own children.

Using unobtrusive verité camera work that inhabits Brenda's miraculous perspective, master director Kim Longinotto follows intimate stories along Brenda’s path. Child molestation, physical abuse, poverty, and silence are among the common denominators of their dire situations. Like a shining star in the darkness, Brenda appears, doing a dance and upending the paradigm: "Hold the rest of the world accountable for what’s been done to you ... It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault." —C.L.

+ Festival Website

International Film Festival Rotterdam

2015

Official Selection

Hot Docs International Film Festival

2015

Official Selection

Reviews

An uplifting portrait of redemption and acceptance.”

-The Hollywood Reporter

A bravura piece of pure observational cinema that would make Albert Maysles proud…Astonishing in its intimacy and wrenching in its emotional rawness”

-Indiewire

Like its subject, this documentary is powerful, honest, and empowering.”

-The Guardian

Intensely moving…a real-world version of movie-star magnetism”

-Variety

Outreach

The Dreamcatcher Foundation is a survivor founded, survivor driven, and survivor focused agency fighting to end human trafficking in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. The not-for-profit organization works to prevent the sexual exploitation of at-risk youth and helps them find confidence and stability through education, empowerment, and active prevention.

Outreach Resources

Dreamcatcher Foundation

+ thedreamcatcherfoundation.org