ABOUT THE FILM
Called “a gripping legal thriller” (Esquire); “a powerful call to action” (The Los Angeles Times); “viscerally emotional” (The Washington Post), I AM JANE DOE chronicles the epic battle that several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters, victims of sex trafficking on Backpage.com, the classified advertising website that for years was part of the iconic Village Voice. Reminiscent of Erin Brockovich and Karen Silkwood, these mothers have stood up on behalf of thousands of other mothers, fighting back and refusing to take no for an answer.
Narrated by Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain, directed by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio, and produced by Mazzio along with Academy Award-nominee Alec Sokolow, the documentary reveals how, after rescuing their daughters, these mothers filed lawsuits against Backpage. Although many of the lawsuits have not gone well, their efforts have sparked a Senate investigation and now, a political movement.
The Jane Doe plaintiffs featured in the film include middle school girls from Boston, a 15-year-old violinist from Seattle, and a precocious 13-year-old girl from St. Louis. The documentary follows the journey of these young girls and their mothers in real time as they run headlong into a collision course not only with Backpage but with judges, special interest groups, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, an internet freedom law that provides a safe haven for website publishers to advertise underage girls for sex.
The film includes interviews with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), as well as former editors and writers from the Village Voice, ex-CIA analysts, FBI agents, lawyers, and others involved with these cases.
I AM JANE DOE is a gut-wrenching human story and fresh look at a social and legal issue that affects every community in America. The voices of these mothers and their children, amplified by I AM JANE DOE, has helped to catalyze legislation which passed overwhelming in the House and Senate (97-2) and was signed by the President on April 11, 2018. The OECD, which invited Mary to speak about the issue of online harm, moved to amend its charter documentation, so that human rights violations and harm to children happening online are addressed as the organization moves forward to establish global policy for online platforms.
50% of all profits from this project will be donated to non-profit organizations which serve Jane Doe children.
Runtime: 99 minutes. Unrated, but we recommend PG-13.