'Gosnell' movie will depict 'America's biggest serial killer'

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Movies,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Abortion,Movie Violence

The mainstream media ignored the horrific abortion case, and a giant fundraiser tried at the last minute to censor the movie about Kermit Gosnell, but a project to bring the story to screens around the country is moving ahead this weekend with a public campaign to raise $2.1 million.

“I think Americans will step up,” filmmaker Phelim McAleer told Secrets about "Gosnell."

The movie about the Philadelphia abortionist convicted last year of murder and illegal late-term abortion charges almost stumbled at the last minute when internet fundraiser Kickstarter imposed censorship restrictions on how the moviemakers planned to describe the killer in their campaign. As a result, they shifted to another crowdfunding site, Indiegogo.com, and took their project public.

McAleer said the Kickstarter censorship was just the latest effort by Hollywood and the media to squelch the story about the late-term abortionist. It wasn’t until after enormous public pressure that the TV networks began covering Gosnell’s trial.

“Hollywood and the mainstream media have been very reluctant to cover this serial killer but we think it's time Gosnell's story was told," said Ann McElhinney, McAleer’s wife and co-filmmaker. Their company Hat Tip Films is making the drama based on the courtroom story.

The Kickstarter move was a surprise, since they had used the same fundraiser to fund another controversial movie, “FrackNation,” one of the most successful documentaries ever to use crowdfunding.

As they readied their public campaign, they said Kickstarter wanted to limit what details about the case could be put in the fundraising campaign. The Hollywood Reporter said Kickstarter called it a standard disclaimer.

The filmmakers didn't buy it and shifted the fundraising effort for “Gosnell” to Indiegogo. Their fundraising pitch can be seen here.

They were also surprised because several movies about other mass murderers have been made. "There have been four movies about Ted Bundy, five about the Zodiac killer, three about John Wayne Gacy and the Lifetime network has already made and broadcast a film about Jodie Arias — who killed one person. Kermit Gosnell killed more than them all put together,” said McAleer.

“This is unacceptable to us and it should be unacceptable to any filmmaker particularly on a platform such as Kickstarter which claims to be all about artistic freedom. But Kickstarter’s actions are particularly odious and alarming because they are an attempt to censor factual descriptions of a serial killer’s actions. In justifying their censorship Kickstarter told us they ‘understand your convictions’ but that they ‘encourage and enforce a culture of respect and consideration’ and therefore they could not approve our project until we removed factual descriptions of Kermit Gosnell stabbing babies and ‘similar language,’” said McAleer.

But he probably saw it coming. Days before Kickstarter notified them of its concerns, McAleer said, “Let’s be honest. You’re more likely to find a Hollywood executive at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser than combing the internet looking for stories like the Kermit Gosnell case. We’re going to redress the balance and make a film that Hollywood and the media don’t want you to see.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.