About the event
Past Lives Productions and Oma Shanti Inc. have combined forces with From The Heart Productions to create this project - feature film, documentary, and advocacy program- to partner with nonprofit organizations to create awareness, provide education, and make quality film products that will enlighten a broad audience about the devastating effects of human trafficking. As a coalition, we are offering a beacon of hope to how everyone can make a difference, even in the life of one person at a time.
WHAT DID SHE SAY - MASQUERADE GALA
The What Did She Say Masquerade Gala is a Celebrity Event on October 28 at the Field Museum. Celebrities from Hollywood, local Chicago, and from our sister cities are coming together to meet the nonprofit organizations and investors, corporations, and foundations that are passionate about ending human trafficking. The Gala will feature Keynote Speaker Ashley Judd and have performances by Rob Thomas and local Chicago bands. The international flair of the gala set in Stanley Hall at the Field Museum gives each guest a feel for the global community. VIP guests have access to the entire museum, including special exhibits set aside for the evening. Come and enjoy the best the Windy City has to offer and meet some of your favorite stars, sports teams, and film industry professionals.
WHO WE ARE
We are a group of award-winning producers, directors, educators, advocates, and advisors that “walk the walk”– spearheaded by Producers Odette Blanch and Katheryn Swann, What Did She Say offers a mainstream view of what it is like to experience slavery and find a way to freedom because someone cares enough to reach out and make a difference.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Ashley Judd
Actress, global ambassador for United Nations
Population Fund, TED Talk Speaker, social justice
advocate, and PhD student at UC-Berkeley.
Ashley is also a Polaris Project Ambassador.
GUEST SPEAKER: Kaethe Morris Hoffer, CAASE
Executive Director, legal director, social advocate,
educator, co-author of the Gender Violence Act, Policy
Assistant to the Mayor’s Office, and 2012 Impact Award
winner. Kaetha has been an advocate against women’s
violence since 1993 both nationally and in Illinois.
GUEST MUSICAL PERFORMER: Rob Thomas
Three-time, Grammy® award winning recording artist
and songwriter as the lead singer of Matchbox 20, and
Co-Founder of the Sidewalk Angels Foundation.
Why should you sponsor?
The proceeds from the Fundraising Event, a portion of the film project, and the upcoming Coalition to End Trafficking and Slavery will all go to the 8 nonprofit organizations we are supporting:
- Polaris Project
- Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)
- Dreamcatcher Foundation
- Selah Freedom
- Central MO Stop Human Trafficking Coalition
- We Are Free
- FREE International
- Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
Our national coalition helps take the next steps in bringing education, workforce training, and allows former victims of trafficking become free from their past lives. The feature film, What Did She Say, is about how every person can help others become free--even if it is one person at a time.
Katheryn Swann – Producer and CEO, Oma Shanti Inc.
Having grown up in the competitive Chicago suburbs, Katheryn Swann is no stranger to the fast-paced life of a media executive. Ms. Swann is a SAG actor and a professional theater performer as well. Once she found the excitement of life behind the scenes as an Executive Producer's Assistant, her talents were quickly expanded. Ms. Swann was part of the original concept development team for several Executive Producers from 2009-2012 and moved to Chicago in 2015 as VP of Investor Relations for a full-scale, independent film and television production company. Ms. Swann is a professional investment networker, having owned two Marketing/Public Relations companies and two Production companies prior to her return. Ms. Swann's company Oma Shanti Inc. connects investors with producers and develops high-minded feature film projects. In her spare time, Swann is working on a Master’s in Public Health in Nutrition, learning to SCUBA dive for a feature documentary, and travels extensively to meet other investors and like-minded partners. Passing Reunion is Ms. Swann's first full-length feature film as Co-Writer and Co-Producer with Odette Blanch.
Odette Blanch - Director
Odette Blanch Director/Writer/Producer – Odette’s unique ability to write seems to run in the family. She is the grandniece of the acclaimed writer, interpreter and historian, Itic Swartz Cara. She is currently working as Director/Co-Writer for “What Did She Say”, “Dark Curtains”, Co-writer for TV pilot currently titled “Dark Sided Jewel” and Director/Writer for “Cover to Cover”. Odette is an associate member of the Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC) and a Ryerson University Graduate. Her experience in the film industry encompasses both film as well as stage. Her diverse skills are readily apparent on both sides of the camera. Odette has directed and written a feature film called Vengeance Circle and film shorts which include: Silence in Chaos, The Search, Loneliness, Loser Date Parade, and Don’t Slip the Dark. Also, to her credit is a corporate training video for WTD (Watkins Tool and Dye), which included editing.
Carole Dean - Associate Producer
Carole Dean is the founder and force behind From the Heart Productions. She created the short-end film business in 1970 which helped spawn the independent film revolution by giving filmmakers affordable film. In the 1980s, she produced 120 Health Styles Shows that were sold to Oasis Cable and 30 Filmmaker shows, now in the National Archives.
After seeing how difficult it was for filmmakers to raise money for important works, she created the Roy W. Dean film grants in 1992 in honor of her father. The grant has given over two million dollars in donations to date. She is Executive Producer on Women behind the Camera; BAM 6.6; American Chain Gang; Step Away From the Stone; and now in production, a new documentary entitled, Achievers. She is the author of The Art of Funding: Alternative Financing Concepts, and The Art of Manifesting: Creating Your Future, which describe financial resources and tools for filmmakers. She also teaches these financing methods in her Intentional Filmmaking Class.
Carole Joyce - Associate Producer
Carole Joyce, The creator of the Win a Casino™ concept, Carole Joyce is a graduate of the Brooks Institute of Photography and an award-winning documentary film producer. Carole began her entertainment career working in development for Saban/Scherick Entertainment discovering talents such as Dennis Leary and Mario Joiner while developing pilot television series for Joy Behar and Rita Rudner. Carole also developed projects for young filmmakers David Fincher and Jessie Dylan while with the Garamella/Fitzgerald Advertising Agency. As a television producer, Carole oversaw the production of over 150 shows for cable television including “Healthstyles”, which were used as a concept on “Oprah Winfrey.” Guests included Deepak Chopra and Dr. Andrew Weil. She also produced “Filmmakers” which is now in the national archives.
Contact the Organizer
Contact the Organizer