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Liberty Journal

October Baby: Every Life is Beautiful

Spring 2012 : By Rachel Pickle

In its tradition of supporting the Christian message in media, Liberty University hosted a special January screening at the School of Law for select students, faculty and university leaders of the new film October Baby from award-winning directors Jon and Andrew Erwin.

Scheduled to open in theatres on March 23, October Baby is a life-affirming movie of adventure, romance, truth and the choice – the power – to forgive.

Hannah, played by newcomer Rachel Hendrix, is a 19-year-old college freshman who suddenly collapses on stage during her theatre debut.  Rushed to the hospital for numerous tests, Hannah learns that her epilepsy, asthma and depression are all the result of one thing: her traumatic birth experience.  Although her protective parents try to shield her from the truth, Hannah discovers she was actually adopted after surviving a failed abortion attempt.  Confused and angry, she sets out on a Spring Break road trip with an unexpected collection of friends and enemies in a classic Volkswagen mini-bus to find her hidden past.

Hannah’s search leads her to the abortion clinic’s attending nurse poignantly played by Jasmine Guy (of A Different World).  Jason Burkey (of For the Glory) portrays Hannah’s best friend and Chris Sligh (of American Idol 2007) adds laughter at just the right moments.  Featured as Hannah’s father, John Schneider (of Smallville and Dukes of Hazzard) delivers an authentic response of love and pain to his daughter’s life-shaking discovery and his own personal loss from the past.

This fictional story is drawn from hundreds of actual attempted abortion survivors’ stories.

October Baby marks the feature film debut of the Erwin Brothers, multiple Dove Award winners for music videos featuring Christian artists such as Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith and Francesca Battistelli.  Jon Erwin and Theresa Preson co-wrote the film.  The movie is distributed by Provident Films (associated with Courageous and Fireproof), and Samuel Goldwyn Films (distributor of Fireproof, Amazing Grace and Facing the Giants) will market and distribute the film.

In an exclusive interview with Liberty University writers, actress Shari Rigby, who plays Hannah’s birth mother, shared her personal story of forgiveness and healing through the film’s production.  Having worked with the Erwins in an earlier Casting Crowns video, Shari was excited to join such talented directors again.  

Upon first reading the script through very real tears, she knew God was leading her to share her own story of abortion from 20 years ago. “I knew it was my moment, my ‘I forgive you.’ moment.  God met me right there,” she said of her brief though powerful time in front of the cameras.  For Rigby the tears of release and healing for her character Cindy were even more her own tears of freedom and forgiveness.  She recalled, “I was right in the lap of God.”  Her hope is that October Baby will be “life transforming” for audiences just as it was for her.

Rigby talked candidly about her perception of Christians in media and specifically in Hollywood.  Making a career move to Los Angeles in 2009, Shari stressed that Christian filmmakers, “must create really great products … the best possible redeeming value pictures.”

The honest characterization, depth of story, and fair portrayal of human weakness gives October Baby’s audience reason enough to experience the film.  But the recurring stream of forgiveness and hope will spark conversation and personal reflection long after leaving the theatre.

To view the trailer and early reviews, visit October Baby's website.