Friday, March 27, 2015

CIFF: 'Dreamcatcher' Provides Hope for Those Affected by the Sex Industry

Photo courtesy of Dreamcatcher
Brenda Myers-Powell spends late nights cruising Chicago streets in her Dreamcatcher Foundation van, looking for prostitutes in need of condoms. Her goal is to have a conversation with the girls and let them know there is another way — and she can help if they are ready. Why does she do this? Myers-Powell spent 25 years a prostitute. Now, she pours every once of herself not reserved for her family into her Dreamcatcher girls, who she also helps through an after-school program for those at-risk.

The film is a raw depiction of the prostitution, human trafficking and sex abuse that is sad, ongoing reality. Girl after girl comes forward with horrifying stories of getting shot, stabbed and raped. Some girls were even molested as young as 4 years old. Some followed their mothers into prostitution. For others, prostitution was the only constant in their life. Myers-Powell helps with necessities such as drug recovery but really becomes the voice of reason for these girls — the first phone call when a crisis arises.

Perhaps one of the film's most tender moments occurs when the usually boisterous Myers-Powell admits in an all-too-rare aside that she is terrified of what is to become of her girls while she has knee surgery and is still tormented by the weight of her time on the street. These gracefully handled intense moments helped earn director Kim Longinotto a World Cinema Directing Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Dreamcatcher breaks the painful cycle of abuse and finally shows the girls — and us — that hope can change your life.

See Dreamcatcher at 4:30 p.m. today, March 27, at Tower City Cinemas. The Cleveland International Film Festival runs through March 29. For a full list of films, visit

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