The “Sound of Freedom” co-writers are sounding the alarm on child trafficking, and refuting that the film is a right-leaning “faith-based” feature.
“Sound of Freedom” director/writer Alejandro Monteverde and co-writer Rob Barr penned an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter addressing the QAnon conspiracy theories surrounding the Jim Caviezel-starring film, which is based on real-life child trafficking rings.
“It has been difficult to watch controversy and partisanship distract, even a little, from the deep intention of our work: to use the power of film to bring awareness to the reality of child trafficking,” their piece read. “Way back in 2015, when we began researching and writing this project, we told each other many times, ‘If there’s one issue that can unite everyone, it’s ending child trafficking.’ We still believe that.”
They continued, “Child trafficking is not a conservative or a liberal issue. It is a fundamental human rights issue, one that strikes at our very core as human beings. It is also a very difficult subject, and it is profoundly heartening that millions of people have gone to theaters to watch a movie about it. It is equally heartening that this audience spans the political spectrum.”
Jim Caviezel, who has publicly supported QAnon-tied views, portrays Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard, a former Homeland Security officer who traveled to Colombia to rescue trafficked children. Ballard also shared in Caviezel’s public comments about “adrenochrome harvesting” as an agent of child trafficking.
“There’s people that are too close to the film that are in politics,” Monteverde told Variety separately. “So it’s like, I love you, but I have to keep my distance.”
The filmmakers added in the Hollywood Reporter op-ed that it is “not surprising” the film has been a success at the box office, saying that “Sound of Freedom” was “not made for Republicans or Democrats. It was made for human beings, because child trafficking is an issue whose moral imperative is obvious to the human heart.”
Monteverde and Barr added, “Everyone who has seen ‘Sound of Freedom’ knows that the movie itself is not in the least political. It is based on the story of a real person, Tim Ballard, who quit his job at Homeland Security to rescue trafficked children. In the development, research and writing of the story, we don’t recall a single conversation with Tim about politics. Why? Because personal politics should be irrelevant when you are rescuing children from human trafficking.”
The film was written and researched in 2015 and shot in 2018, “well before anyone involved had ever heard of such theories,” the piece noted in reference to QAnon.
As for alleged inaccuracies or sensationalized storytelling, the filmmakers said, “Did we compress the time frame of Tim’s actual story and adjust certain events for creative reasons? Of course. This was never intended to be a documentary.”
“We made ‘Sound of Freedom’ in a sincere effort to unite people around a fundamental human rights issue. No single interest group owns the issue of trafficking. We all own it, because it is happening in the world we all share,” the piece concluded. “These problems are enormous, and their solutions will require political engagement — with all the complexity and discord that this entails today. But we cannot let our divided politics prevent us from doing the work necessary in the ongoing fight to end child trafficking.”
The production-distribution company Angel Studios launched a Pay It Forward ticketing paradigm that allows consumers to purchase tickets for others who cannot afford to see the film in theaters, which has in part led to the viral campaign for the feature. “Sound of Freedom” has grossed $173 million thus far in North America on a $14.5 million budget. (For context, that’s more than “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” has grossed in the U.S. so far.) The film is Angel Studios’ second theatrical release after “His Only Son” over the 2023 Easter weekend.