A Lethalz look at trafficking

Observer senior writer

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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While completing research on human trafficking, Jamaican model/actress Keturah Hamilton thought it would be timely to make a statement on the troubling issue through film. Because women are among the illicit trade's biggest victims, she believed such a project should be gender-focused.

It is the format for Lethalz, a proposed movie in which she co-stars and serves as executive producer.

The short premiered in February 2018 at the famed TLC Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Hamilton said strong feedback encouraged producers to make Lethalz into a feature film.

“I came up with the storyline of human trafficking because it's a sore topic for discussion. Every day, whether in the US or worldwide, human trafficking is rampant,” Hamilton told the Jamaica Observer. “It seems to be shoved under the rug, because it is somewhat the norm to use women as sexual objects.”

Hamilton plays Samantha, a former high-priced escort who escapes being thrust into the lucrative sex trafficking market. Eventually, she becomes part of a special unit that fights a sinister syndicate that specialises in the trade.

Lethalz's cast and crew are dominated by women, including former Japanese beauty queen Ikumi Yoshimatsu, whose previous roles include HBO's Westworld and television series, The Man in The High Castle.

Ally Teixeira, who has hosted leisure programmes like Vegan on A Jet Plane, is another lead actress. Writer Kamala Lane, director Rumena Dinevska and producer Ana Reinhard are also part of the Lethalz team, which has pitched the project at events like the monthly Festigious International Film Festival in Los Angeles.

According to St Catherine-born Hamilton, “ Lethalz was shot as a 12-minute film. On February 2, 2018, we premiered at the historic Chinese Theater in Hollywood and were well-accepted by a sold-out audience. We are buzzing on the film festival circuit.”

She did not give details about its budget or when production starts, but disclosed that Lethalz is also the title of the theme song, performed by Jamaican artistes Wendy Nikola and Honorebel.

Hamilton conceived Lethalz in 2017 when she was appearing in The Motherf..ker With The Hat, an edgy production that has played to packed houses in the United States since opening in 2011. Last year, as Victoria, she was nominated by BroadwayWorld website for Best Feature Actress In A Play.

A student of actress Gloria Gifford's Conservatory in Los Angeles, Lethalz continues her sequence of challenging roles. She played herself in 2009's Still A Teen Movie, and was cast as Millicent Reid in the 2011 Jamaican film Redemption of Paradise.

Hamilton migrated to the US at age 13 and settled in Chicago. Prior to acting, she was a professional model assigned to Modeling Associates of America International, and worked on campaigns for companies such as Gucci and Moitie Cosmetics.

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