Mira Sorvino Says She Wishes Controversial “Sound of Freedom” Film Wasn't 'Politicized'

The Goodwill Ambassador said "the ultimate goal" of the movie was its "ripple effect across the globe to make people care" about the horrors of child sex trafficking

<p>Amazon Prime Video / Courtesy of Everett</p> Mira Sorvino in <em>Sound of Freedom</em> (2023)

Amazon Prime Video / Courtesy of Everett

Mira Sorvino in Sound of Freedom (2023)

Mira Sorvino is speaking out about her controversial movie Sound of Freedom.

The actress addressed the 2023 surprise hit film on Sunday during a panel at 90s Con, moderated by Wendy Naugle, PEOPLE's Editor-in-Chief, saying she wishes the thriller hadn't been "politicized."

"I think the movie had a ripple effect across the globe to make people care," said Sorvino, 56, an Oscar-winning actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. "And I think that was the ultimate goal. It wasn't a debate, and I wish it hadn't been politicized and left, right, who's got the most extreme views when they're promoting it."

Sound of Freedom is loosely based on a true story about a man helping rescue children from a Colombia human-trafficking operation. Its star, Jim Caviezel, has caused controversy for promoting QAnon conspiracy theories while promoting the film on far-right platforms.

The movie's writer/director, Alejandro Monteverde, has spoken out about the "heartbreaking" backlash, saying his views differ from Caviezel's.

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<p>Presley Ann/Shutterstock</p> Mira Sorvino at 90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut, in March 2024

Presley Ann/Shutterstock

Mira Sorvino at 90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut, in March 2024

Related: Mira Sorvino Tears Up at 90s Con While Recalling How Harvey Weinstein 'Stifled' Her Career

In her interview at 90s Con, Sorvino said, "If the movie moved people's hearts about the experience of a child who is stolen from their real life and sold to people, raped 30 times a night, that's what I wanted out of it. And that is what happened."

The actress noted that "there's still controversy surrounding the film," continuing, "And yes, in America, that's not what human trafficking generally looks like — it's usually white men that take your child away. It's usually someone you know — 53% of American child-sex trafficking victims are family-led trafficking, and they're mostly American citizens."

"It's not mostly foreign citizens, in labor trafficking. Mostly, it's foreign victims. But the end experience of a child who is raped for sex is exactly what the movie depicts in a very tasteful way — the suffering, the pathos of those innocent children who are there because men buy sex and they
want to buy children as sexual objects," Sorvino continued.

She also encouraged those who want to help to check out the anti-trafficking organizations she has shared in a thread pinned on her X (formerly Twitter) account.

"So if people want to get involved — because it's going to take everyone getting involved, to say, 'No, I will not accept slavery on our watch any further,' " Sorvino added. "Maybe your heart will be called to get involved with one of them."

<p>Amazon Prime Video / Courtesy of Everett</p> Jim Caviezel (second from right) in <em>Sound of Freedom</em> (2023)

Amazon Prime Video / Courtesy of Everett

Jim Caviezel (second from right) in Sound of Freedom (2023)

Monteverde, 46, previously addressed the backlash to the film in an interview with Variety, saying he got "really sick" seeing it.

"It was heartbreaking when I saw all this polemic and all this controversy going on. ... Look, when you hire people, what they do on the free time, I can’t control," Monteverde said. "I was a director. I wrote the screenplay. I hired the actor I thought was the best for this film. The subject matter was very personal to him."

Conservative moviegoers rallied behind Sound of Freedom, claiming its delayed release to the public (after Disney bought Fox, it eventually sold the film to Angel Studios, which distributes Christian faith-based projects) was Hollywood trying to suppress it.

The film has also been under scrutiny as Tim Ballard, the real-life subject of the indie box-office hit, was accused of sexual misconduct in an investigation involving seven women.

<p>Alan Espinosa/Getty</p> Tim Ballard during a red-carpet event for <em>Sound of Freedom</em> in Mexico City on Aug. 29, 2023

Alan Espinosa/Getty

Tim Ballard during a red-carpet event for Sound of Freedom in Mexico City on Aug. 29, 2023

Related: 'Sound of Freedom' Has Now Made More Money in U.S. Than Latest 'Indiana Jones' and 'Mission: Impossible'

Ballard, 52, denied the accusations in September 2023, in a statement he issued through the Spear Fund, for which he serves as senior advisor.

“As with all of the assaults on my character and integrity over many years, the latest tabloid-driven sexual allegations are false. They are baseless inventions designed to destroy me and the movement we have built to end the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable children," he said in the statement, which was sent to PEOPLE.

VICE reported at the time that sources “familiar with the situation” — who have chosen to remain anonymous “because they fear retaliation” — reportedly alleged to the outlet that Ballard “invited women to act as his ‘wife’ on undercover overseas missions” for the anti-child sex trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.).

Ballard released a second statement, also via the Spear Fund, reaffirming his commitment to his work to end human trafficking despite the claims made against him.

"We will keep fighting for the vulnerable all over the globe, and we know that the truth will always prevail,” the statement said, in part.

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