In December, The Blaze first reported about "October Baby," a feature film that focuses upon the intensely controversial issue of abortion.
On Friday, the movie opened in 350 select theaters across America, offering the rare opportunity to explore a subject matter that often makes people on all sides of the debate squirm. Last week, we interviewed Jason Burkey, 29, who plays the male lead (also named "Jason") in the film.
Before getting into Burkey's take on the project, let's briefly delve into the movie's plot and synopsis. "October Baby" recaps the story of a beautiful 19-year-old college freshman named Hannah (played by Rachel Hendrix). Despite her youth and good looks, she has always had a sense that something was missing in her life — a sense that she doesn't really have a right to exist.
Her world is turned upside down when she finds out that she was adopted. While shocking enough on its own, this is the only beginning of her personal tale. In addition to grappling with this new-found knowledge, she also learns that she was the survivor of a failed abortion — a startling fact for the young girl to process. So, she decides to embark on a road trip with her friends in an epic journey to find her birth mother. Burkey's character, Jason, helps her along the way.
Considering these factors, the film tackles two intriguing themes. The first one -- abortion in a more general sense -- is quite often an unpleasant and uncomfortable theme to contend with (which may explain why Hollywood avoids it all together). But the second factor, abortion survival, is generally uncharted territory when it comes to the big screen. In a true testament to just how unknown and uncommon exploration of the subject is, Burkey told The Blaze that, prior to filming, he had no idea the phenomenon existed.
"I kind of went into [filming] blind in a way. I didn't know there was such a thing as an abortion survivor," he explained. "I was oblivious to the stats behind abortion. It was always something I disagreed with, but I never really studied or looked into it that much until we started doing the film. It's a lot bigger than I expected."
Considering the political nature of an issue like abortion, many on the pro-choice side of the argument would potentially hear this and assume that the movie would be offensive to their worldview. But Burkey claims that reality is quite the opposite.
"I knew that it was a tough subject to tackle, especially in a film and one of the reasons I was drawn to it -- the script was so well-written," Burkey says. "It wasn't pushing an agenda and it wasn't hitting anyone [in] the face with anything like a lot of faith-based films tend to do."
Rather than "preaching," Burkey claims that "October Baby" relies on "simple story-telling." In the end, he contends that it is a story about "hope and ultimate forgiveness." These elements, it seems, were at the heart of what Andrew Erwin, 33, and his brother Jon Erwin, 29, hoped to accomplish in directing and producing "October Baby."
As we reported back in December, in creating the film, the Erwin brothers weren’t looking to be combative regarding their take on abortion. Instead, they sought to tell a story about forgiveness, redemption and the value of life. In our discussion about the movie, Andrew boiled its main premise down to three words: "It’s about forgiveness."
While women have abortions for a multitude of reasons, Andrew says he believes in “forgiveness and healing” and that he and his brother wanted to pass this sentiment onto their audience. “It's not about throwing stones. [Women who have had abortions] don’t have to live in shame,” he says. The brothers were intent on telling the story through “positivity and love, not hate.”
Burkey echos these sentiments.
"I think the Erwins' goal here was...they're filmmakers, they're story-tellers. They just wanted to tell a good story of redemption," he explains. "They were challenged [by God] to make this. I think their hope for it was to spark conversation...to bring healing."
And it is healing, Burkey alleges, that the film is bringing about. He says that people have approached the cast and crew at screenings to share personal stories about how abortion has impacted their lives.
You can find out more about "October Baby" here.