"Once upon a time," opens the film's trailer, "there was a girl in the Philippines named Snow White. But one day, her mother and stepfather made her eat a poisoned apple."
"Lilet Never Happened," a riveting narrative on the Philippines' underground sex trade, won Best Youth Film at the 2013 Copenhagen International Film Festival held September 5 to 15.Although not quite the place you'd expect to see Little Snow White, this Dutch-Filipino film, aimed at raising awareness of child prostitution both in the Philippines and elsewhere around the world, really hits the mark in paralleling the true-to-life inspiration with the fairy tale.
The child, Lilet, is introduced to potential "clients" as Snow White, and this is how she becomes known everywhere, eventually becoming Manila's most famous child prostitute (! OMG - just awful). Although offered help multiple times by a Dutch social worker, Lilet chooses the hard road (and the apple) again and again...
Despite the film's earnest and complex themes, (the film's director) Groen said the movie is not meant to be depressing.
"This story (Edit FTNH: from interviews conducted in a hospital with a child prostitute) never left my mind," he said. "It's not a depressing type of film because the girl I met is a tough kind of girl."
Groen said a psychologist was on the set for consultation.
(He also) said the film is meant to reach out to the youth (Edit FTNH: The film is rated MA 15+)
“'Lilet Never Happened' is made for the younger audience, you need to reach the new generation who will say enough is enough, we cannot accept this anymore in a society that we call civilized.”
“With this movie, we really hope to raise awareness about the sad reality of child prostitutes not only in the Philippines, but all over the world." (Source)
The trailer is compelling and the fairy tale theme throughout remains clear. It's not a Snow White we want to see in real life (although she is, sadly, far too real), but hopefully telling the tale this way will help prevent this story from being repeated with such frequency on streets around the world.
If you are interested in joining the fight to end child trafficking, prostitution and pornography everywhere, you can get more information through EPCAT HERE or support those involved with the film who continue to fight child prostitution, Terre des Hommes (under the donate tab).