GRAND FORKS HERALD
It was a chance encounter in a convenience store in rural North Dakota that eventually led an East Coast filmmaker to make a movie about sexual abuse and sex trafficking in this state.
Ejaz Khan, a filmmaker, conservationist, and photographer based in New York City, plans to begin filming that movie Wednesday, March 1, in Linton, he said.
“Trapped” is based on the story of a young woman, who, as a teenager, ran away from home to escape abuse, only to fall under the control of sex traffickers in Bismarck.
Khan met the woman a few years ago while making his first feature film in North Dakota, “Before They Vanish.” They were customers in a convenience store. “She was barefoot,” recalled Khan, who was filming at a ranch near Linton. “It was sometime in April or May — not cold weather, maybe 50s or 60s.”
He offered to buy her coffee. “We started talking,” he said. She asked what he was doing there; later she showed up on his set, and was a “very respectful” observer, he said. They continued to talk. He asked what she wanted to do with her life. “She was probably in her mid-20s,” Khan said. “She gave me the story of her life.”
As she was growing up, she told him, her alcoholic, drug-using mother would bring boyfriends home; one of them raped her. “She thought this was normal until she grew up,” Khan said. “When she realized it was wrong, she ran away from home, and fell into the hands of sex traffickers (who) took her around for six years, and they sold her. “She got into a big, big, big mess,” Khan said. “But she (got) herself out of it; she ran away … and now she’s trying to put her life together.”
The woman wishes to remain anonymous, he said. Khan found her story “fascinating,” he said, and it became the inspiration for “Trapped,” a fictional narrative film about sex abuse and sex trafficking in a small town in North Dakota.
Most of the actors in his two North Dakota films live in the Linton area; the locals are not experienced actors, he said. The few professional actors in the films are from New York. “I have met amazing people (in North Dakota) – people who are very warm, very different from New York,” Khan said. “New York is a very driven place.”
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“Trapped” is an upcoming feature film that tells the story of a fragile relationship between a mother and daughter set in a small town of Linton, North Dakota.
A film by Ejaz Khan, director of “Before They Vanish”
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