As a teenager, Justin Dillon attended a U2 concert and was forever changed. Seriously.
He immediately decided that he was going to be a musician and, as he puts it, "to be a better person because of the art I had just experienced." And he started to ask himself, "How do we use music and art to make the world a better place?"
Dillon has been trying to answer that question ever since. And when he first learned, several years ago, about the devastating problem of human trafficking around the world, he quickly learned all he could about the topic and fully immersed himself into finding ways to make a difference.
That journey ultimately led Dillon—a professional musician but not a filmmaker—to make a movie, Call + Response, which releases in limited cities this week. The "rockumentary" is both a concert featuring well-known artists (including Moby, Natasha Bedingfield, and Switchfoot, and many others, all performing gratis) as well as interviews with celebrities (Julia Ormond, Ashley Judd), politicians (Madeline Albright), sociologists, journalists, and activists.
Call + Response is educational too; viewers who are unaware of the scope of the modern-day slave trade (an estimated 27 million in bondage, including many children in forced prostitution) will get a primer on the problem. But Dillon's desire is to do more than inform; he wants viewers to act—thus the second half of the film's title—and has set up the official website so people can leave comments, make donations, and more. All of the film's proceeds will go to organizations and ministries that are fighting slavery.
We caught up with director Dillon to discuss his passion and his movie.1