BROOKSVILLE — Wanting to share a top-rated Christian film with the community before its official DVD release, Grace World Outreach Church will present October Baby at 7 p.m. Sunday as part of its Family Movie Night series.
Anticipating a large turnout, the church will show the 105-minute life-affirming movie in its 2,000-seat sanctuary, free of charge.
October Baby was released in theaters in March after being awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Fiction Feature and a Special Achievement Award for Acting for its female star, Rachel Hendrix, at the 2011 Red Rock Film Festival.
It was No. 8 at the box office and grossed $2.8 million in its opening week — more than three times its production budget. Even with the higher-budget film The Hunger Games opening the same weekend, October Baby earned the No. 3 spot for per-screen average sales. Its total for ticket sales topped $5.3 million.
Using a Scripture verse from the New Living Translation of the Book of Psalms, "You saw me before I was born," as its theme, October Baby employs drama, humor and romance to relate the story of a 19-year-old woman's search for truth.
Hannah Lawson, who has suffered outwardly with physical ailments and inwardly with emotional issues since childhood, makes a life-changing discovery during her theatrical debut in college.
After collapsing on stage on opening night and later undergoing medical testing to determine the cause, Hannah learns that the asthma, seizures and fractured hips she's experienced since she was a little girl have an underlying cause — her premature birth after a failed abortion.
The stress of being on stage triggered an emotional response that up until then she'd kept hidden from her family and friends, sharing her feelings only in her journal.
Following the advice of the specialist who has examined Hannah, and after accidentally discovering the thoughts of feeling unwanted and self-hatred recorded in Hannah's journal, the young woman's parents decide they must tell their daughter the truth about her past.
Learning that she was adopted and the circumstances surrounding her birth send a bewildered and angry Hannah on a quest to find her birth mother and some relief from the emotional turmoil she's felt, but never understood, for years.
Traveling with a group of friends on a spring break road trip to discover her past, Hannah, a homeschooled Baptist, not only learns about her roots; following the advice of a Catholic priest, she discovers the freedom that comes through forgiveness and even finds love along the way.
Hendrix portrays the emotionally haunted Hannah. Her longtime and steadfast friend, Jason Bradley, is played by Jason Burkey (For the Glory). John Schneider (Smallville, The Dukes of Hazzard) plays Hannah's protective father, Dr. Jacob Lawson. Jasmine Guy (A Different World) appears as Mary, a nurse who has the answers to Hannah's formidable questions. Shari Rigby (Not Today, The Bold and the Beautiful) plays Hannah's birth mother, and Chris Sligh (American Idol 2007) makes his film debut by providing viewers with some comic relief amidst the serious topics addressed in the movie.
The film was produced and directed by the Erwin Brothers and American Family Studios. Samuel Goldwyn Films and Provident Films, which have partnered on other faith-based films, such as Fireproof and Facing the Giants, are the distributors. It has a PG-13 rating.
Sponsors of the film include the American Family Association, Bethany Christian Services, Care Net, Concerned Women for America, FamilyLife, Focus on the Family, Priests for Life and Hope for Orphans.
In support of the film's theme, the Erwin brothers, who were inspired to write the original story, along with Cecil Stokes, after hearing a woman named Gianna Jessen speak about surviving a late-term abortion, have assigned 10 percent of the film's profits to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund, which will be distributed to organizations that help women facing crisis pregnancies, adoption agencies and those caring for orphans.
The DVD/Blu-ray version of October Baby will be released Tuesday, and the film's distributors believe it will continue to succeed in that format.
"October Baby is part of a growing trend of films that entertain and enlighten audiences while communicating a core message of faith," said Ben Howard, senior vice president of Provident Films.