A pro-life movie, largely produced by over 40 homeschooled students, is being praised for presenting solid legal arguments against the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision while captivating audiences with an engaging storyline that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.
"Audience survey card responses were tremendous," reported Valley Family Forum Director Dean Welty after one of several sold-out preview screenings for the full-length feature "Come What May" in Harrisonburg, Va., and Grants Pass, Ore.
"Moviegoers were excited or agitated on both sides because the movie shows in dramatic fashion just how flimsy the legal footing stands for Roe," he added, according to Patrick Henry College's Office of Communications.
Produced with local cast and crewmembers, as well as approximately 40 homeschooled students from across the country, "Come What May" is the maiden project of Advent Film Group (AFG), a faith-based film production and distribution corporation founded by filmmaker George Escobar.
The micro-budget movie was produced by AFG in association with Patrick Henry College (PHC), a true-to-life powerhouse in collegiate debate and moot court competition that serves as the movie's backdrop. Founded eight years ago, with a current student enrollment of 320 students, PHC has twice won the Moot Court National Championship, has beaten Oxford twice, and yearly produces championship-caliber legal debate teams.
"I've noticed that the audiences have been particularly impressed that a college like Patrick Henry exists, and is undertaking this grand initiative with homeschoolers," noted Escobar, a former AOL and Discovery executive, according to PHC Communications. "They've never seen anything like this (movie) before, and they view the College's participation as a very courageous and faithful act."
"Come What May" follows the story of Caleb, a recent transfer to Patrick Henry College who teams up with fellow student Rachel to lead the college to the National Moot Court Championship. Along the way, Caleb is caught in a moral tug-of-war between his parents – a newly Christian father and a feminist Supreme Court attorney mother. As the PHC moot court team and the U.S. Supreme Court simultaneously grapple with legal cases involving abortion, Caleb clashes with his mother – who is arguing for Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court – and his own conscience. Caleb must decide whether to vigorously defend an abortion parental rights case from a distinctly Christian perspective or do what might win a national championship.
"What's remarkable is that Come What May, a 2008 Redemptive Storyteller Award winner, was largely produced by over 40 homeschooled students mentored by only a handful of professionals," according to Mac Nichols, a tax attorney who plays one of the movie's U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
Furthermore, the movie's legal argument is solid, claims Escobar. PHC founder and chancellor Dr. Michael Farris, who wrote the film's legal framework, is a constitutional attorney who has successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
After nearly sold-out preview screenings for the movie, Valley Family Forum director and "Come What May" promoter Welty said he believes that the powerful new pro-life movie could impact the November elections.
"This movie tells how Roe v. Wade can be reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court," he stated in a news release. "New Justice appointees who believe in Constitutional original intent will likely overturn Roe."
With the upcoming presidential election pitting two candidates with starkly different views of the current Supreme Court bench, voters are wary of the fact that the next president will undoubtedly decide the court's ideological direction for a generation.
Law experts say the outcome of the election probably will play a big role in retirements, with Justice John Paul Stevens, 88, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, considered the most likely to step down soonest.
According to Escobar, eager sponsors are offering to underwrite a major movie event for "Come What May" before Nov. 4. Five distributors have already made bids for the movie and negotiations are underway with major players in Christian cinema, including the company currently distributing the box-office hit "Fireproof," which has drawn over $16.9 million on a $500,000 production budget.
"We know that Christians love Come What May," stated Escobar. "What surprised us were the secular pro-choice audiences. Some have told us that the movie is causing them to reconsider their position."
"That's why this independent film made in Purcellville, Virginia – far from Hollywood – could be used to positively affect the elections for pro-life candidates." added Welty. "There is nothing from the pro-choice side that is remotely as persuasive."
Over the next couple of years, AFG plans to produce five films touching on themes with a biblical worldview important to family audiences.
The goal, says Escobar, is not just to produce high quality family films but also to prepare a new generation of Christian filmmakers capable of producing and directing films like the highly successful "Amazing Grace" and "Chronicles of Narnia" series.
"Our mission is to change culture for Christ through media," says Escobar.
According to a 2002 Barna Group survey, movies are one of the leading influencers in American society while churches have lost much of their influence.