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Caden Wells (Cody Longo) lives the dream life of a spoiled rich twenty something. He lives in a giant house in California, drives a Ferrari, and has mountains of spendable cash to do whatever he wants--all financed by his wealthy father. It is not surprising then, that a night of partying with three close friends turns into a game of “throw the dart at the map and travel to wherever it lands. . .no matter what.” So, when the dart sticks in the circle marking Hyderabad, India the foursome are off to the other side of the globe to party. When Caden refuses to help a starving man named Kiran (Walid Amini) and his young daughter Annika (Persis Karen), however, his crazy trip is about to hit rock bottom. Plagued by his conscience, Caden tracks down Kiran in order to help the duo only to discover that Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter. Horrified by what he has just learned Caden sets off on a journey with Kiran to rescue his daughter. Supported by the prayers of his mother and girlfriend back home, Caden comes to realize the depths of despair slavery causes, and finds a new purpose and direction for his life. Not Today is the story of that journey of rescue and redemption across the globe.
The Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California has a heart for the Dalit people of India. They also have a passion for fighting human trafficking and slavery around the world.The church recognized that great change can come from simply sharing the information regarding human trafficking in today’s world, and they also recognized the power of film and media to tell a story and stir people’s hearts. Recognizing the influence and audience films can reach, the church decided to produce a film dealing with the struggles of the Dalit people, and the reality of slavery today. The results? The film Not Today. What started as a simple desire to give a voice to the voiceless, grew into a full scale motion picture that has won several awards and been show in hundreds of cities across the United States. Recognizing the impact the film Not Today made, the church started the Not Today Collation.
From the desire to give a voice to the voiceless came the powerful film Not Today, and from the impact of that film sprang an organization that fights for the Dalit people of India. In the country of India, a “Dalit” is a member of the lowest caste (commonly known as “Untouchables”). A Dalit-- which means “oppressed”-- is considered impure and is physically and socially excluded and shunned from society. Dalits are discriminated or excluded from schools, are often refused medical care, cannot enter ration distribution points or temples, cannot use main village wells and paths, are not allowed to vote, and among other discriminations often live below the poverty line. Because Dalits cannot interact with or marry higher cast members they are forever trapped in a world of hopelessness, starvation, and extreme poverty. In India alone there are more than 170 million Dalits-- one out of six individuals in the population. The Not Today Collation is a Christian organization that works to build schools and provide education and rehabilitation for Dalit communities. Why education? Because education has been proven to reduce human trafficking, bonded labor, and slavery. Schools not only provide children with education, but also sports, arts, and, most importantly, a Christian worldview that flows into the community transforming lives and bringing hope. The Not Today Collation works with individuals like Kiran and Annika in the film Not Today to provide a way out of starvation, poverty, and human slavery.
While films that spread awareness about slavery and human trafficking are growing in abundance, Not Today is unique. Instead of providing numbers, statistics, and details this film focuses on faces. It uses faces and a fictional story--based on events that happen every day in India--to stir hearts and remind you that those suffering in slavery are not numbers, they are people with hearts, hopes, and a desire for rescue and healing. This film encourages viewers to remember that, like Caden learned, “tomorrow” is often to late. As the film says, there is a time for fears, a time for doubts, a time for despair, but today is not that day. Not Today encourages viewers to step out in faith and stand for what is right, good, and admirable. It inspires viewers to take action to fight suffering in this world. It challenges viewers to look out of their windows, out of their self-absorption- and see not numbers, but faces, and not faces, but hearts.
From a spoiled Californian boy to a man on a journey to rescue a child, Caden’s trip was more than just around the globe. His was a journey that opened his eyes, his mind, and his heart to suffering and the need for salvation. It taught him to see, to hear, to trust, to be trustworthy, to be filled with compassion, to stand in faith, and to fear God alone. Just as his heart was transformed by his trip, so viewer’s hearts and minds will be opened and transformed by the story and need of salvation--physical and spiritual--for millions around the world. Take an exciting, action packed adventure to India and finish with a heart transformed like Caden’s.
Not Today was rated PG-13 for mature thematic material by the Motion Picture Association of America, and includes violence, topics, and issues that may not be suitable for younger viewers. This film did receive the “Faith Friendly” award for ages twelve and up from the Dove Foundation, and a four and a half out of five from Focus on the Family’s Plugged In. As always, it is recommend that parents preview all content to determine what is suitable for their children.
Starring Cody Longo, Walid Amini, Shari Rigby, and John Schneider, NOT TODAY challenges moviegoers with a purpose that goes beyond its gripping story. The movie was produced by Friends Church Yorba Linda, a congregation committed to educating the Dalits and ending human trafficking in India.