Pay It Forward Campaign’s Impact Exceeds Expectations

Audiences flock to Sound of Freedom film, based on a true story exposing child-trafficking

Cape Town, 7 September 2023: When ticket sales for the independent film Sound of Freedom opened in South African cinemas last month, the film’s distributors launched a pay-it-forward campaign simultaneously, to ensure that the cost of a cinema ticket was no barrier to access. Based loosely on a true story, Sound of Freedom recounts a former government agent Tim Ballard’s evolution into a vigilant champion, who goes on to save hundreds of children from child trafficking, an issue that continues to fester in the world today. Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ, plays Ballard in the movie.

The local Pay It Forward campaign was an extension of the one that was run in America, with the goal to raise awareness of the gravity, severity and prevalence of child trafficking. A portion of the donations made in the US were channelled our country, to kick-start the campaign, and the results have been truly astounding. Over 21,000 South Africans have already claimed free tickets via the initiative that enables one to see the film at either a Ster-Kinekor, NuMetro or Cine Centre. Many have come forward to donate tickets to those less fortunate, so that as many people can see the film as possible.

South Africa is the second country in the world to release the film, outside the US, which outperformed its blockbuster competitors, beating hits like Mission Impossible, Dead Reckoning and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in certain cinemas. Here the film has performed similarly well, ranking in position two on its first two weekends, beating the number of people in attendance per cinema than that of Barbie, which is playing on more screens.

The film’s South African distributor, Gravel Road Distribution Group, set a target to raise 10,000 tickets from everyday South Africans and corporates, for those who cannot afford to see the film in cinemas, through this campaign. As the population dynamics and circumstances are somewhat different to the USA, some of the funds raised will also go towards covering the cost of transport to get certain communities to and from the cinemas. Gravel Road will co-ordinate the allocation of these tickets with organisations working in under- served areas.

South African audiences wishing to pledge or participate in the #PayItForwardAngels campaign can go to to claim a ticket, or make a donation towards the campaign.

Benjamin Cowley, CEO, Gravel Road Distribution Group shared his excitement at the response to the film’s release: “I am thrilled that local audiences have responded so positively to Sound of Freedom as the film carries an important message that needs to be brought to the mainstream. The pay it forward campaign is delivering excellent results and I hope that through this initiative, the cinema doors will be opened for many more South Africans.”

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