Pro-life movie rebounds after getting kicked off popular crowdfunding site

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 4/22/14, 02:45 pm

A proposal for a pro-life movie is breaking records for crowdfunding, despite one popular website’s refusal to continue hosting its fundraising campaign.

The campaign for Gosnell, a documentary about the Philadelphia abortionist convicted last year of murder, has raised more than $1.1 million to date, becoming the largest non-celebrity film on any crowdfunding site, according to The Heritage Foundation. The campaign, hosted on Indigogo, has reached 55 percent of its $2.1 million threshold since it launched on March 28, putting it in a good place to meet its May 12 deadline. 

Some celebrities have also picked up the cause, including actor Kevin Sorbo from God’s Not Dead, and actor Nick Searcy, from the hit television series Justified

“This is a story that needs to be told,” Searcy told the Washington Examiner. “No one wants to talk about it because the details are too damaging to certain political agendas.”

Gosnell’s producers moved their project to Indigogo after well-known crowdfunding site Kickstarter refused to continue hosting their campaign unless they changed their graphic description of Gosnell’s methods. In issuing the ultimatum, Kickstarter cited its Community Guidelines, which “encourage and enforce a culture of respect and consideration,” according to Crowdfund Insider.

Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler denies censoring the proposed movie, according to Crowdfund. But the producers refused to continue working with the site, which stood to make 5 percent of the money raised for the film—$105,000.

“We just couldn’t start telling this story by buying into an act of censorship,” journalist and filmmaker Phelim McAleer told NBC10. “We walked away. (The subject matter) is going to offend. We are not going to be part of community that’s offended by the truth.”

According to the producers, the movie aims to expose Kermit Gosnell’s crimes, which the media and Hollywood largely ignored. Their campaign page specifically cites the case of Jodi Arias, who was being tried for murdering her boyfriend at the same time as Gosnell’s trial. While Arias made daily headlines and has since had a TV movie made about her, Gosnell has been essentially ignored, they say.

Another group of filmmakers has already produced a documentary about Gosnell. 3801 Lancaster uses clips from a Senate hearing, interviews with neighbors and former patients, and photos from the investigation into what went on at Gosnell’s facility.

Gosnell’s directors are no beginners when it comes to crowdfunded documentaries. Irish journalists and filmmakers McAleer and Ann McElhinney and Polish documentary-maker Magdalena Segieda worked together on Kickstarter-funded FrackNation.

Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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