The pro-life film Unplanned is returning to Vancouver, only this time it will be shown in the grand setting of the 2,600-seat Orpheum Theatre.
The film about a Planned Parenthood worker turned pro-life activist churned up plenty of debate and controversy in Canada and the U.S. this summer. After months of efforts by the pro-life community to bring Unplanned to Canada, the film made a brief appearance in July at about 50 theatres across Canada, drawing many sold-out shows.
It lasted only a week at most theatres, though there have been public showings in several cities and the film is available for livestreaming and on DVD.
The film, which has grossed $19 million (US), opened in Australia Sept. 11 and the producers are trying to raise money for more overseas distribution.
Pro-life advocate Erica King was determined to keep the conversation going about the film and its depiction of the life of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director whose life changed after witnessing an abortion.
King arranged for a single screening of Unplanned at the Orpheum, home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, on Oct. 23, and hopes to sell out the showing.
“I believe it was unfair that this movie was only publicly screened for a one-week period in a limited number of theatres,” King said.
“After reading about Abby Johnson’s story, I felt strongly that her courage in publicly sharing the road that led her to being a pro-life witness needed to be seen by as many people as possible,” said King.
“I admire her transparency and humility in admitting her mistakes and showing how it is never too late to make amends and stand up for the truth.”
King, a mother of six who has been passionate about life issues since participating in a Grade 11 debate, hopes a sell-out crowd at the Orpheum will send a message.
“I am asking all those who have already had the opportunity to see the movie to make the effort to come again and bring friends and family. In this way, we unite as a large-scale witness to the value and dignity of human life.”
She said a friend provided funding for the effort, conscious that anything less than a sold-out event will come out of her pocket.
When Unplanned made its Canadian debut this summer, several theatres faced threats or cancelled showings of the film. But King said she is not worried.
“I believe that people who are offended or angered by pro-life ideology are hurting and should always be met with love above all else — love combined with unwavering truth.”
The Oct. 23 screening will be followed by a presentation by guest speaker Ruth Shaw, executive director of the National Campus Life Network. Organizations that support women in crisis are invited to set up informational booths. Details and tickets are available at unplannedvancouver.ca.
Fr. Larry Lynn, pro-life chaplain for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, said pro-lifers should “consider this an invitation to an event, not just a movie.”
He urged those who have seen Unplanned to consider seeing it again. “This is about making a huge statement; we are united in standing against the killing of innocent human life.”