(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- Maya, a film by award-winning writer and director Julia Verdin in conjunction with the non-profit Artists For Change, is an engaging, eye-opening social impact thriller about a young girl lured into a human trafficking scheme. The film rolled out the end of January 2024 and is now available on most major platforms to buy/rent. The film is also having a limited theatrical release around the country. Viewers will be taken on a roller coaster ride to find out if Maya (Isabella Feliciana) will be forever lost to the dark world she has fallen prey to.
Maya showcases the dangers of online grooming and sexual exploitation as well as the role of addiction and abuse in a family. In the film, Maya, whilst doing well both socially and at school, is struggling with her mother’s worsening addictions and the uneasy presence of her mother’s boyfriend, Diego. Stuck in an environment that feels inescapably futile and loveless, Maya falls victim to the edgy charms of Ray, whom she meets online. When Maya and Ray meet in real life, he is immediately established as her ‘protector’ and the two enjoy a brief honeymoon period – which gradually darkens as Maya is coerced by Ray into the world of organized sex trafficking.
This film highlights the cycle of abuse and is a mother-daughter story at its core. To find the strength needed to get her daughter back and conquer her addictions, Camila (Patricia Velasquez) will have to find the determination to stand up to her abuser and get into recovery.
The film's credits include two producers from New Jersey, Suzanne Ordas Curry (Angie-Lost Girls, Equity) and Sally Becker Coda (Angie-Lost Girls). Suzanne states, "This is the second film I have worked on with Julia Verdin. As a board member for Artists for Change, we believe in making movies that can make a difference, and this film has an important message. It's a good movie for daughters to watch with their moms." Suzanne adds, "We are also doing educational screenings in the NJ area of it, please contact us if you want one for your organization."
Maya's cast includes known actors and some up-and-comers. Supporting lead actress Isabella Feliciana (Killer Grades) is Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy Returns, Arrested Development), Rumer Willis (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Billy Budinich (Frank and Penelope), Rena Owen (The Orville, Siren), Anthony Montgomery (General Hospital, Star Trek: Enterprise), Atiana De La Hoya (The Kardashians, Meet the Barkers), Cherie Jiminez (Angie: Lost Girls, Nova Vita), Basilio Cerdan Jr., (Tiktok influencer), Gian Franco Rodriquez (Halston) and more.
Writer/Director Julia Verdin states : "I am very passionate about the power of film to raise awareness on key social issues. My hope is that this film will encourage teenagers to be careful with what they engage with on online platforms and help the public to recognize signs of domestic abuse happening. I was very honored to get a social impact award for the film at Raindance and thrilled by the audience response to the film.”
The DVD will be available March 12, 2024. Maya is being released by Freestyle Digital Media. Maya will roll out on the following platforms: AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV, Dish Network, Sling TV. iN DEMAND (including Spectrum, Comcast), Vubiquity, Verizon Fios, Amazon. Apple TV, Vudu, Xbox, Google Play and YouTube Movies.The DVD will be available March 12, 2024. Maya was produced by non-profit Artists for Change in association with Fibonacci Films and Rough Diamond Productions. For updated information, click here.
Artists for Change is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded to raise awareness on key social issues such as domestic violence in the home, alcoholism, child abuse, child trafficking and homelessness. Its last film, Angie: Lost Girls was shown on Lifetime. Maya is currently available for educational screenings at organizations helping to stop the spread of this scourge on our society.
British filmmaker Julia Verdin is an award-winning multi-hyphenate writer, director, and producer. She has produced dozens of films, including The Merchant of Venice, with Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons, and 2 Jacks, with Sienna Miller, Danny Huston, Jack Huston, and Jacqueline Bisset. Previous films she has directed include Lost Girls (Best Social Impact Film at the Culver City Film Festival) and the award-winning crime drama Angie: Lost Girls. Verdin is currently in post-production on another social impact film she wrote and directed, No Address, which is about homelessness in America, and will be directing an upcoming feature about the opioid crisis from another script she wrote.
Producers: Writer/Director/Producer: Julia Verdin, p.g.a.; Producers: Jason Piette, p.g.a., Sean Acosta, Robert Craig, Morris S. Levy; Executive Producers: John Jacobs, Victoria Hill, Greg Clark, Kim Robson, John Lewis, Jet Lewis, Luanne Morrow, Tom Wallerstein, Lucy Lewis, Tara Smith, Julian Lennon, John Manly; Co-Producers: Antonio Michael, Corinne Jayaweera; Associate Producers: Laura Nickowitz, Angela Lujan, Patricia Velasquez, Suzanne Ordas-Curry, Sally Becker, Jonathan Lourie.