A Must-See That Really Must Be Seen … Or Else!
SEXTORTION: THE HIDDEN PANIC – Apex Sexual Predators Are Stalking Our Kids Right Under Our Noses – Part 1 of 3

Film Review and WORD 360 Kaledoscopic Q&A with  Filmmakers Marian Demeshkina Peek & Steven Peek

Most likely the fastest growing crime in the world that many, many people – especially parents – don’t know about – IMdb.com

SEXTORTION – THE HIDDEN PANDEMIC is a riveting 1 hour, 25 minute galactic true crime public service announcement of epic proportions about the massive online child extortion of children.

The storytelling prowess of the filmmaking team Marian Demeshkina Peek and Stephen Peek – veterans of well received and respected documentaries featured on  Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Hulu and others – is one of the main reasons audiences will discover that this true crime documentary is unlike any other in recent memory. True crime is a genre of nonfiction story telling about real crime or crimes – and the savvy among us know in these #COVID19TrumpianDystopianTimes that truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth can be stranger than fiction.

Thus, this reviewer – to tip off audiences – is not exaggerating that SEXTORTION is panoramic as well as transcendent in style, substance and scope, that all the important elements of filmmaking from A to Z  are top of the line. There are many well-made true crime documentaries putting a light on injustice and criminality, SEXTORTION wields a klieg light and deep dives into the fray.

Another main reason: The Peeks were allowed unprecedented, unrestricted access to government files, victim families, and investigators enabling the filmmakers to tell the world about the hidden world of online enticement and exploitation of children. Drawing on the findings of child exploitation experts, the film spotlights the common tactics of online predators, the signs that a child is being groomed online, and a documented rise in global sextortion cases. Other main reasons can be found in the Q&A.

Apex sexual predators have figured out ways to stalk kids in the privacy of their homes – right under the noses of their parents, guardians and love ones, according to the Exploited Children Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “An insider look into one of the largest sextortion cases investigated by Homeland Security and U.S. DOJ on American soil, as various experts, parents and victims sound the alarm on the fastest growing cyber crime against children. – IMDB.com


This reviewer imagined he was on top of or at least aware of serious crime issues, yet, he was nearly floored screening SEXTORTION – THE HIDDEN PANDEMIC, made by Director and Producer Maria Demeshkina Peek and Producer and Cinematographer Stephen Peek. Floored not only by the bravura filmmaking but that the kids of his relatives and friends, neighbors could already be targeted, stalked and victimized – even as he was working on his review and Q&A.

I screen news media regularly and don’t recall seeing anything about “sextortion.” I had come down with a bout of inflated journalism ego and hubris resulting from book and article projects I’ve done and am working on? In fact, I had never heard of the word, sextortion. Whew. So, I had to open the Q&A with  … “I don’t get the impression that it’s been something that the mainstream media has ever tried to do. So it sounds like you guys are on top of something that’s really, really big, that’s going on that’s important for people to know.

And I’m saying all this, but is that your impression? I mean, is that what’s happening? They missed this or they don’t want to deal with it?

Filmmaker Maria Demeshkina Peek

Well, the only people who are dealing with this are news outlets. And if you sign up for sextortion Google alerts, you’ll be horrified how many Google alerts are coming from across the world with a topic of sextortion. It’s either FBI’s warning or this crime being reported or this person been arrested. So if you pay attention to the crime news through crime news and news in general, it is being reported in news outlets.

And as you mentioned, the mainstream media is not really talking about it outside of the [regular] news cycles. So our film is the first film of its kind on the subject.

WORD Gregg Morris

So how did you decide that you wanted to do a documentary like this? I mean, what got you focused on this?

Filmmaker Stephen Peek

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s an amazing question because we didn’t really know anything about it either. So, 2019, the project was brought to us. We’ve been fortunate enough to have films on Netflix and Amazon and such. And so we get pitched a lot of projects.

But in 2019, we had no idea that extortion was even a thing. Right? And so as we started doing the research and meeting some of the folks on the front lines and the agencies that are working on keeping our kids safe online, we started realizing that this is most likely the fastest growing crime in the world that nobody knows about.

And before we made the film, we always take a look and see what’s been made. Is there something new we can bring to it? I found 50 plus docs on human trafficking, right? Because everybody knows about trafficking. But there was nothing made on sextortion, on online enticement. And it’s actually 1000 times more prevalent than trafficking. And so when we realized that this is really the tip of the spear of keeping our kids safe online and there had never been a film made about it, we knew we had to make it.

WORD Gregg Morris

So there was a theater release September 30, and I’m going to call it the digital release was October 4th. So what’s been happening between the fourth and now? I mean, is it showing up in other festivals? Have you guys been invited from … I’m going to use the mainstream media. I mean, what’s been going on in that period since it October 4th? I hope the question makes sense.

Filmmaker Maria Demeshkina Peek

Yeah, so we opened top 10 in the U.S. as far as documentaries all last week when we released the film on October 4th. We also did a limited theatrical educational screening tour prior to October 4th. So we screened the film in 20 different cities and over 5,000 people attended the screenings. They’ve been overwhelmingly positive. [www.SextortionFilm.com #stopsextortion @sextortionfilm]

A lot of victims coming forward, a lot of parents coming forward saying, “This is happening to my child. This is happening to my child’s best friend.”So we’ve been overwhelmed by the responses. We also received over 200 requests from all over the world to screen the film from EU Parliament to Pentagon to Dutch parliament to Australian parliament. People are starting to talk about this issue and the response hA been overwhelmingly positive.

End Part 1 of 3, Click here for Part 2

Edited for Style

Gregg w. Morris can be reached at gregghc@comcast.net, profgreggwmorris@gmail.com’