Entertainment

Unplanned tackles abortion

By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Friday, November 22, 2019

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SIX months after the American film Unplanned was privately viewed at Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston, it had its official opening Tuesday at Carib 5 cinema.

Scores turned out to see the R-rated drama which shows why an abortion insider reversed her pro-rights stance on this controversial topic. Unplanned stars Ashley Bratcher who was at the premiere, Emma Ella Roberts, Robia Scott and Brooks Ryan.

“The last premiere that was held, was held specifically for influencers, Members of Parliament, pastors of churches…Tonight, we are celebrating the fact that Jamaica will have a theatrical release, so we will be bringing the movie to the island through Palace Amusement in Kingston and Montego Bay,” Michael Mandhart, co-producer of the movie, told the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

Mandhart was not disheartened by the length of time it took for Unplanned to finally be shown in local theatres.

“It took a few months for us to be able to get the movie approved and rated and to allow it to come to Jamaica, but it was just a process; nothing out of the ordinary, so that wasn't an issue,” said the 54-year-old.

Produced by independent company Soli Deo Gloria, Unplanned was released in the United States on March 29. Besides Jamaica, the film has premiered in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and The Philippines, grossing over $US20 million.

Mandhart pointed out that the only bone of contention is with Canada, where the film has been banned. Unplanned's stakeholders launched an official petition on the Citizen Go website in April, to acquire 500,000 signatures for the ban to be lifted. When the Jamaica Observer checked the latest progress yesterday, they had only amassed 230,413 signatures.

However, Mandhart is optimistic his team will raise awareness about abortion.

“Our hope is that the truth of abortion, the ugliness of abortion could be revealed, the truth of Planned Parenthood could be revealed, but mostly that hearts and minds can be affected and positively impacted so people could see the love that exists through God for life and that young babies could be saved,” he stated.

Several attendees spoke of being moved by the eye-opening film.

It brought up a lot of emotions for me as a mother. It took me back to see my own baby, hear my own baby…I just imagined them being sucked out and I could hardly deal with it…” said Keisha Solomon.

Chris Taylor lauded the production, saying it raised well-needed awareness about abortion.

“I thought it was sending a strong message, not only to the viewers but to the nation at large…I hope the message reaches the necessary authorities and persons who are probably involved in these kinds of activities,” he said.

Michael Mandhart is not done depicting global issues through his work. Next spring, Sound of Freedom, a film inspired by another controversial topic will premiere.

“This will be based on the human trafficking of children. We're currently talking about bringing that one to Jamaica as well. It features James Caviezel, who played Jesus in The Passion of Christ and Eduardo Verastegui; who is kind of like the Brad Pitt of Mexico,” he revealed.


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