"After Hours Trading" Narrative Feature

4:15pm Friday May 4

“After Hours Trading” is the story of Doyle, a twenty-something college dropout left behind by the Great Recession. Hounded by debt collectors for his unpaid student loan and embittered by his prospects, he prefers to scrounge and scrape together an existence rather than slave away at a minimum wage job. After a chance meeting with Nik, a shady eastern European con man, Doyle, hoping to make some quick cash, reluctantly accepts his offer to become his partner in crime.

Nik introduces Doyle to a series of increasingly risky scams: fraud with counterfeit canines, extortion via parking boot, and straight out breaking and entering. After a rocky start, Doyle’s illicit abilities and confidence improve under Nik’s tutelage. As they grow closer, he learns that Nik intends to use the proceeds from their efforts to buy the freedom of Mila, a young woman who has been human trafficked, from a local crime boss. At first he is mystified that Nik would sacrifice so much for a woman he barely knows, but he slowly becomes more invested in the goal.

When Mila, who is unsure if she can trust Nik, refuses to leave after her bond is paid, Doyle convinces Nik that they should make one last attempt to free her -- by force. While they manage to free Mila, they are captured and given an ultimatum: one of them will walk, one will die -- they have to choose. As Doyle and Nik argue about which one will die for the other, they discover that Mila has been recaptured. Frustrated with their stalling tactics, the crime boss attempts to kill them both. Doyle takes a bullet for Nik, allowing him to overpower the crime boss. Doyle survives, and together he and Nik free Mila and several other trafficked women.

Director Biography - Fredrick Johnson
Fredrick Johnson is an award-winning filmmaker who has made short films, documentaries, commercials and music videos. "After Hours Trading" is his first feature film as a writer/director. His films have won many awards, including the CINE Eagle and the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award, and his work has screened at festivals around the world, including the South-by-Southwest Film Festival; the Deauville Festival of American Film; the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival; the Atlanta Film Festival; CineAsia Hong Kong; ShoWest Las Vegas; the One World Human Rights Film Festival (Prague, Czech Republic); and the Pan-African Film Festival (Los Angeles). Fred was born in Pittsburgh and earned an MFA from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Director Statement
"What's so funny about human trafficking?" That was the first question I was asked after pitching "After Hours Trading" to a potential funder early in the development process. The question caught me off guard -- naturally, there is nothing funny about human trafficking. But, just because it is a serious social issue, does that mean it should be off limits for a film with comedic elements?

Most comedies today, regardless of how funny they are, are relatively superficial. I have always been more interested in films that mix light and dark, that balance the humor with some grim reality of our human experience: “Trainspotting” and the despair of addiction, “Life is Beautiful” and the horrors of the Holocaust, “M.A.S.H.” and the insanity of war, and “Fargo” and the terror of random crime and brutality. This blend and juxtaposition can create situations and moments that are absurd, thought provoking, or genuinely poignant, and hopefully result in a work that resonates more deeply with audiences.

I was also inspired by two documentaries about human trafficking that I saw around the time I first began to conceive of the idea. The films took what had been an intellectual concept to me, “human trafficking,” and made it human by connecting me to the victims and their tragic ordeals. It also made me aware of immensity of the scale of the issue and the millions of people affected. My hope is that this film will entertain those who see it, but also, in some small way, also help to create an awareness of this global concern.




05.04.18 - 4:15 pm
1 hour 43 minutes