NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—When David Scotton’s birth mother contacted him 18 years after placing him for adoption, the first thing he wanted to do was thank her for giving him life.
She reached the operating table of an Indiana abortion clinic in 1993 before deciding to carry it out.
The story is told in Kendrick Brothers’ latest film “Lifemark,” based on Scotton’s true story that he first portrayed in the short documentary “I Lived on Parker Avenue.”
“But Lifemark doesn’t focus on the dark side of abortion; it focuses on the beautiful positive side of adoption,” Stephen Kendrick told The Baptist Press. “And you see how adoption can actually be a beautiful picture of God’s love when we show the Lord’s love and provision to those who are most vulnerable among us.”
Released in theaters months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned rulings that effectively legalized abortion nationwide, Lifemark was not made in anticipation of the June ruling, Alex Kendrick said.
“We didn’t know the year we finished it and were planning to release it this Roe vs. Wade was overthrown. We had no idea,” Alex said. “We hope it paints a picture of adoption and choosing life as honorable and beautiful choices. We can’t wait to see what the Lord does with this film.
The Kendrick Brothers have long focused on themes of life, repentance and second chances in their cinema, based on gospel grace and hope.
“This film though, we have an opportunity to shine the message that children are made in the image of God, and God knows them in the womb,” Stephen said. “And we should not only show compassion for a teenage girl and an unwanted pregnancy who is afraid to have a baby, but also for this baby who has his own fingerprints, blood type, DNA, brain and his beating heart; he has his own identity given to him by God. But he has no voice.
Alex describes the film as 90-95% accurate and “surprisingly close” to I Lived On Park Avenue.
“When you see the interaction between the birth mother meeting David and interacting with him, it’s almost word for word exactly what really happened. And that was important to us because we wanted to tell the story as well. as close as possible to what really happened, because it’s hard to argue with a true story,” Alex told The Baptist Press. “We let the truth speak for itself.
“We hope when people see this it will inspire them, it will give them hope for their own journey. Especially those who find themselves in situations like this, maybe an unplanned pregnancy or should I consider adoption and pray for it. We hope this film will inspire them.
Stephen and his wife Jill are parents of six children themselves, including a daughter they adopted from China. Stephen appreciates the literal adoption and adoptive grace of God in their daughter’s life.
“When my wife and I adopted a baby girl from China, we watched her grow from an unwanted burden in a communist country to a beloved blessing in a Christian home in America,” Stephen said. “We saw his identity change. We have seen that she now has the education she needs, the medical support she needs. She has now come to Christ and even shared the Gospel with others. And so it’s just beautiful when believers really trust the Lord by faith. And so I think James 1:27 communicates to the whole church that we need to support widows and orphans in our communities.
Made in association with Kirk Cameron Entertainment, Lifemark is the first Kendrick Brothers film the brothers didn’t direct, instead mentoring director and co-writer Kevin Peeples. With Kirk Cameron, the two brothers are executive producers with their brother Shannon Kendrick. Cameron portrays Scotton’s adoptive father, Jimmy, with Alex portraying Shawn, the husband of Scotton’s birth mother.
The filmmakers partner with Lifeline Children’s Services, Focus on the Family, Care Net, National Day of Prayer, Answers in Genesis and others in production. A Bible study and accompanying video are available through Lifeway Christian Resources, with educational resources and a novel based on the film available from popular retailers.
Sexual purity is not an explicit theme of the film, the Kendricks said, but its importance is implied with the power of God’s redeeming grace.
“The pain of a young couple having to go through an unplanned pregnancy when they’re not ready for it, if they used the wisdom to not get involved sexually then that pain would never have happened for them,” Stephen said. “We believe in orienting people to Bible principles because when we follow the Lord’s Bible principles, there is a more fulfilling life.”
The Kendricks promote the film as a family product which, although rated PG-13, has no profanity or sexual content.
“We tell people if you’re ok with your child seeing a scene where they’re discussing not having an abortion,” Stephen said, “then you can take them to see the movie.”
Lifemark opens September 9 for a week-long run in approximately 1,500 theaters across 48 states. Tickets and more information are available here.