The Deep Place

Thousands of children between the ages of 6 and 18 live in slavery on Lake Volta, working up to 18 hours a day in the fishing industry. For these young children, the only way out of slavery is to drown or be rescued.

The Challenge

There are more than 40 million slaves in the world today. International Justice Mission believes they can end slavery in our lifetime. In Ghana, the human rights organization International Justice Mission is working to end child slavery on Lake Volta by apprehending perpetrators and restoring justice to those who are survivors. This story needed to be told with the ultimate care to protect the identity of those who have been rescued, while still retaining the authenticity and accuracy of their life experience.

Children in the fishing industry on a boat on Lake Volta, Ghana

The Innovation

NOVO decided on a hybrid format, basing The Deep Place off of the true story of a young boy who was trafficked into slavery by his uncle.

The Process

NOVO interviewed Foli in-depth and created a script that was accurate to the events of Foli’s life. Novo then cast first-time actors for the film and the film was captured in a narrative, fiction filmmaking style. However, at every point during the filming process, IJM staff was on site to determine accuracy and representation.

Child in the fishing industry on Lake Volta, Ghana

The Outcome

The Deep Place was launched on Facebook in time for the 2017 holiday giving season. In just under two months the film helped raise over $1.25M (funding nearly 200 rescue operations) and reached a combined 275k views across online platforms. NOVO also released an 11 minute director’s cut here.

275kpeople worldwide
200rescue operations funded

Festivals & Awards

Official Selection, Mountainfilm Festival 2018
Clio Silver Award Winner, Cinematography 2018
ADC Silver Cube Award Winner, Best Online Film 2018
Webby Award Winner, People’s Voice, Public Service and Activism 2018
Addy Award, Best of Public Service, 2018
Telly Award, Best Cinematography, 2018

Awareness and Fundraising, DocuFiction