The Long Night

An urgent, heart-breaking investigation into the young lives changed forever by under-age prostitution and exploitation

The Long Night A frantic father pounds the streets, searching for his daughter. Schoolgirls, abused by pimps and enslaved by heroin, disappear into cars and shadowy motel rooms. A band of policemen desperately try to fix a system that punishes rather than protects. This visceral film follows those caught in a web of underage sex trafficking spun deep in the cracks of American society, in a gut-wrenching exploration of the lives destroyed by it.

"One second we were smoking weed and drinking and having fun...and the next second I'm in a guy's basement selling my body for sex." Natalie's horrific experiences demonstrate the terrifying speed at which the underworld bristling beneath America's streets swallows up vulnerable girls.

Combining powerful protagonists, the underage girls, the police trying to save them, cinematic photography and the distraught parents waiting at home at home, this film tells the most powerful of stories. We are given a glimpse into a world few can imagine - unless you are a 14 year old pretty girl from the wrong side of the tracks and not interested in staying at home forever.

Natalie's parents were in hell. Her father describes an "endless cycle of abuse that you can't stop". Natalie came home the first time. But she soon ran away again. This time things got much worse as she was snared by a manipulative and abusive pimp. Beating the same streets is Lisa. We meet her in a public bathroom preparing her latest shot of heroin. Her body is a map of self-harm and drug abuse; glistening with pink scars, abscesses, and track marks. Lisa was forced into prostitution by a pimp at 13. Now she is homeless, addicted to heroin, and unlike Natalie, nobody is looking for her.

Natalie's father started searching for his daughter in web forums and was disgusted by what he found: "I saw them advertise girls as weekend specials." He started hitting the street in his truck. The deeper he got into his hunt, the madder he got: "If I'd found her, it would have been carnage."

Lisa is eventually found by people who do want to help: police officers Andy, Joel, and Brian. After endlessly arresting and re-arresting the same girls, Andy decided that standard procedure was failing. Shocked at the absence of any social program, he established the Genesis project: an NGO with the mission to give a home to vulnerable girls imprisoned in a spiral of sex trafficking and prostitution.

The Producers

Brian Storm - Executive Producer

Brian Storm is founder and executive producer of the award-winning production studio MediaStorm. Prior to launching MediaStorm in 2005, Storm spent two years as vice president of News, Multimedia & Assignment Services for Corbis. From 1995 to 2002, Storm was the first director of multimedia at, a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News, where he was responsible for the audio, photography and video elements of the site. In October of 1998, he created MSNBC's The Week in Pictures to showcase visual journalism in new media. Storm serves on the Advisory Board for the Council on Foreign Relations, the W. Eugene Smith Fund, the Eddie Adams Workshop, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, the Stan Kalish Picture Editing Workshop and Pictures of the Year International.

Tim McLaughlin - Producer and Editor

Tim McLaughlin is an Emmy nominated editor and producer of documentaries at MediaStorm. He has worked on over 25 films since 2010, including MediaStorm’s first feature film, The Long Night, as well as their first prime-time television broadcast, The War Comes Home: Soledad O’Brian Reports, for CNN. His work has received recognition from the NAACP (nominated for outstanding documentary), Pictures of the Year International (best documentary project), World Press (best feature), the National Press Photographers Association (best documentary multimedia story), the Webby Awards (honorable mention) and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

Tim Matsui - Director and Cinematographer

Tim Matsui is an Emmy-nominated visual journalist and filmmaker focusing on human trafficking, alternative energy, and the environment. Tim's clients have included Newsweek, Stern, Der Spiegel, GEO, Wired and many other domestic and international publications. Today, Tim partners with non profits and corporations, and self publishes, to tell meaningful stories grounded in tenets of journalism. A non profit founder, Pictures of the Year and World Press Photo winner, and recipient of grants from the Alexia Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Fledgling Fund and Fund for Investigative Journalism, Tim seeks to inform and engage viewers through his projects, using media for social change.

Making The Film

This film began as a photojournalism project. Access was the hardest part. It took months of bureaucratic wrangling to work with the cops. Finding Natalie only happened because of my relationships with NGO’s dealing in trauma, victimization, and youth services. These were forged over years of telling stories of trafficking, sexual violence, and youth homelessness. Meeting Lisa was a stroke of luck. I walked into her world wanting to tell a pimp’s story. What I found was an amazing young woman who’s seen a lot and continues to struggle with ‘the life.’ These two young women, and the cops who changed how they police, continue to inspire. Their stories are now part of an impact campaign that’s changed regional policy and continues to grow on a national scale. - Tim Matsui

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