October Baby: Shaping Culture One Healed Life at a Time

Co-Producer Speaks of Pro-Life Film Opening Friday

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By Kathleen Naab

NEW YORK, MARCH 22, 2012 (Zenit.org).- October Baby presents one of the most classically compelling themes in the history of writing, the power of forgiveness -- interweaving it in a story line that co-producer Andy Erwin describes as captivating.

The “engaging and charming coming-of-age story” opens in theaters Friday, and Erwin (with his brother Jon, the writer), hopes the movie can spark conversation about a theme that is often avoided.

The film tells the story of Hannah (Rachel Hendrix), who discovers she is adopted and sets out to find her birthmother, only to realize her life almost came to an end before it barely had a chance to start.

ZENIT spoke with Andy Erwin about the film and his hopes for what it will achieve.

ZENIT: What does it take, in terms of attitudes and resources, to launch a pro-life movie in today's entertainment industry?

Andy Erwin: As a filmmaker you tell a story, first, to captivate yourself.  It’s got to be a story you can't not tell, and that’s what keeps you going. In this case, Jon, as the writer, first and foremost, was captivated by the true story of Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor. That inspired him to research the issue, and out of it came this story of forgiveness -- a human story, not a political one. When Jon put the script on my desk, I couldn't put it down, and I knew I had to make this film with him. But what keeps you going is the story’s heart. We’ve seen a beautiful tapestry weave together as a team brings it to the screen. And we’ve seen and heard true stories of people we've met on the journey -- and seen this movie connect with audiences on a profound level.

ZENIT: Did making the film change you or your brother in any way?

Andy Erwin: Well, to face opposition and struggles along the way refines what you believe. And as I’ve interacted with people affected by abortion, I've felt even more empathy and compassion for people hurt on all sides of the issue, from the abortion survivor to the-post abortive woman or man. My heart breaks at the pain, and it’s been a privilege to see healing begin by engaging with this story.

ZENIT: What do you see as the most important themes you were able to weave into the storyline?

Andy Erwin: The heart of the story is the healing power of forgiveness. The context might be an abortion survivor, but forgiveness drives it. In the way that something like abortion can hurt so many people, it's amazing to see how forgiveness can set so many free. In October Baby, this young girl, Hannah, begins a journey of self-discovery that leads her to the power to forgive.

ZENIT: There is a pivotal scene in the movie that proved to be very real for a cast member. Tell us about that.

Andy Ewrin: When we cast the role of the birth mother in the story, we reached out to our friend Shari Rigby, a talented actress.  But when she read the script, she told us that she herself was a post-abortive woman, something few people knew. She bravely chose to speak out and share her story. And her acting, in one of the most important scenes in the film, was not acting. It was one of the most powerful moments I have been a part of as a director. Not only that, she’s chosen to share her real life story on film and it was so strong during the test screening that we put it into the credits.

ZENIT: What do you hope the film achieves?

Andy Erwin: The goal of any film is to spur conversation and discussion, to engage people's hearts. Not to tell audiences what to think but to challenge them to think. October Baby is an engaging and charming coming-of-age story, and we hope it gets people to talk about an issue that most times is covered up. We believe the story can help shape culture one healed life at a time. I hope October Baby starts many journeys of self-discovery and forgiveness -- and it all starts tomorrow.

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On the Net:

October Baby: www.octoberbaby.net