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Jonathan Flora Pro Life Interview

A Distant Thunder”

        A Jonathan Flora Film

November 1, 2005

            Film Summary/Interview 

 A Distant Thunder is a soon to be released controversial 35-minute featurette. It is an independent film that was written and directed by respected Hollywood Filmmaker, Jonathan Flora and produced by the talented Kip Perry.

Flora, in real life, is the father of two and very passionate about the issue in this story. He wanted to use his artistic skills, writing abilities and expertise to create this film for a higher purpose. He succeeded.

The story evolves around a supernatural setting. It uses a courtroom as the arena in which to focus on the many terrible human costs related to the partial birth abortion procedure.

The film, which is targeted for adults and teens, focuses on a murder case and how it totally obliterates Prosecutor Ann Brown’s life. Prosecutor Brown, well acted by Deborah Flora who is Jonathan Floras real life wife, accepts this case even though she is strangely uncomfortable with it. As the case unfolds the film becomes a powerful and menacing thriller that forces you to examine the chilling evidence for yourself. The acting by the entire cast is intensely believable and while Flora orchestrated the film to be disturbing, he also crafted it in a way that makes it not only suitable but also essential for the entire family to view.

Made with uncompromising integrity and a real passion for accuracy, this film is a haunting shocker that captivates you and holds you riveted to your seat. A Distant Thunder requires the viewer to perceive in his or her own head the actual mental image of partial birth abortion. It also acclimates the viewers to the utter dehumanizing destitution of this irreversible life ending as well as life altering procedure.

 It is a required “must see” for anyone contemplating the horrific partial birth abortion procedure.

For The American Worker, I have invited Mr. Flora to participate in an interview to garner his thoughts and his reasons for creating this film.

MW:   Jonathan, I would like to welcome you to The American Worker and thank you for your participation in this interview. I have several questions to ask you. You have created a very powerful film. What inspired you and why did you feel it necessary to do this film?


JF: Well, first of all, thank you very much.  Initially this came about during a period in our lives where my wife and I were being told by doctors that we couldn’t have our own children.  During this time, it really hit me.  Here we were praying so hard for children and America has aborted over 40 million babies since Roe v. Wade.  Based on what?  Whether the baby is wanted or not wanted?  Whether it is a convenient time or not to have a baby?  How did we come to devalue life so much that this is how we determine who should live or die?  And let me say up front, I regretfully made that same decision many years ago in college and I’ve had to come to terms with that.  While doing some research in this area, I stumbled upon partial-birth abortion.  I had never heard of it but just the terminology sounded so wrong.  I was horrified when I discovered what it is.  The more research I did and the more I talked to people who also had no idea what it was, the more I knew I had to at least try to bring this out.  By the way, the doctors were wrong.  We now have two beautiful children, a daughter and a son, conceived naturally.  Two wonderful miracles.  

MW:  What is the message that you would hope the film conveys to viewers?

JF: We as Americans, as humans, need to step back and take a moral evaluation of where we are.  We’re stuck in this mire of moral ambiguity where we seem to stand for nothing and at the same time compromise everything.  There are some things that are just undeniably wrong with no middle ground and partial-birth abortion is one of them.  How sad it is that this procedure is even a matter for debate?  That we have to argue about the legal right for a woman to allow a doctor to plunge a pair of scissors into the back of the tiny neck of her baby, whose entire body except its head has already been delivered, and then sucking out his or her brain?  Now with that said, our goal with this movie is not to vilify anyone.  We are trying to educate people with facts.  But we cannot invite conversation if we come out with bats swinging.  That’s why I wrapped this information in an entertaining story with some great effects. 

MW: Who came up with the name of the film and what is the significance in the film’s name to you?

JF: The title came to me because the decisions we make today have a direct effect on tomorrow and the decisions we are making now are worse than the ones we’ve been making for the past thirty years. We live in a complex society, in complex times.  However, moral absolutes have been replaced by relativism and that has placed us on a very slippery slope.  We face many problems and issues and naively ask, “how did this happen?”  It’s because it’s what we have allowed to happen, and encouraged it no less.  Right now there is a terrible storm on the horizon and I’m afraid it will soon be upon us if we don’t wise up.

MW:  I would expect that there would be millions of people that view this film. Just who is your target audience?

JF: I appreciate your confidence that millions will see it and that’s certainly our hope.   We are looking for people from both sides of the issue to watch this.  Those whose hearts are hardened and those whose hearts are open; those who have been wounded by abortion and those who have never thought about it or who have turned a blind eye to it.  Fortunately, we have found that teens are very much into this movie.  I think a lot of that is due to its genre and the style in which the story is told, shot and edited.  But also, teens are facing hard issues everyday.  More than we ever did growing up and they are searching.

MW: This film has a lot of surprises and much drama. Would you explain your reasoning for not having a continuance of the film and having the jury come back with a verdict?

JF: I have a pretty eclectic taste for movie genres.  And, I love to be surprised in a movie so that’s my intent here as well.  I want to take the viewer on a ride where they have to try and figure things out as it goes.  If “A Distant Thunder” were to be a feature length film there are several things I’d love to do with it that I just couldn’t do with a short film.  However, the more we discussed it and researched the possibilities for presenting it, the more it made sense for it to be the length it is, 35 minutes.  To present this movie to anyone, be they Congressmen, Senators or others, we knew we had a far greater chance to get them to sit down for half an hour than an hour and a half or longer.  And something we didn’t completely anticipate is the strong interest to use this in church classes, for high school students, catholic schools, and other classroom settings.  It wouldn’t lend itself as generously to that type of setting if it was a feature length.  And as far as having the jury comeback with a verdict, I want the viewer to be the real jury.  They should decide if this is right or wrong because after all, that’s what we’re asking them to do.  

MW: Hollywood is a movie city with a reputation for it’s liberal slant. Did you find it difficult to find actors sympathetic with the content and message of this film?

JF: We knew going in that we would only be able to get actors that bought into the story and the message behind it.  Besides, I didn’t necessarily want anyone that would do this just for the money.  This story has a deep, emotional center and I needed actors that could relate and connect to it.  This not to say we didn’t have any pro-choice actors.  But during the process of reading the script, rehearsals, and the shoot, we opened a lot of eyes and hearts.  Once again, many of the actors and the crew as well, had never heard of partial-birth abortion until they worked on this film.

MW:  In the discussion group relative to the film you mention that you would stay out of the politics of the issue. Would you explain your views as to why you wish to stay out of the politics of the issue that is targeted in this film?

JF: Actually what we say in the featurette you are referring to is the film itself is not trying to be political.  If it were, the very people we are trying to reach would be closed down before ever giving it a chance.  However, I do consider myself to be quite active politically as far as voicing my opinions but more so, by doing something about it.  Watching this movie it’s very clear where we stand on the issue of partial-birth abortion.  But if I just come out with a propaganda partisan piece, then how does my approach differ from those on the other side?  We are first trying to enlighten others as to what this procedure is.  We are then asking them to take a closer look at it and make up their own mind.  If we can get them to do that for partial-birth abortion, perhaps they will then reexamine some of their other views.  

MW: Does it concern you that those on the liberal side of Hollywood may view this movie as political and pandering to Christian Conservatives?

JF: I can’t be concerned with that although common sense will tell you I should be.  If I were to make a film solely as a resume piece, this is certainly not the subject matter I would choose.  But I had to make this movie, period.  Without question, Hollywood is a liberal place and at the moment, it’s the liberal side that is the most vocal.  But I respectfully disagree with much of what is being said and I simply hope they in return respect my right to express a different viewpoint. 

MW:  Most Americans share the belief that Hollywood is very liberal. Do you share this view and what sort of responses are you getting from your Hollywood peers?

JF: This movie is just now getting out there but the response so far has been very favorable from both sides.  We’ve found that no matter which position on the abortion issue people take, no one has told us they are in favor of this procedure.  I think it has also been well received because of the overall quality of the film.  

  MW: Since the theme of this film focuses on late term abortion are you getting any responses from pro-choice groups?

JF: Again, this movie is just getting out there.  But I’m certainly hoping those groups will see it and it spurs a lot of dialogue. I would imagine the more exposure this movie gets, the better the chance we’ll hear from them. 

MW: The message of your film is the very message that Christian Conservatives and pro-life organizations want to hear coming from Hollywood. These groups rightfully garnered their support for Mel Gibson so are they lending their support to you and your efforts?

JF: We’ve been very blessed with the enthusiastic support of several groups and organizations.  Congressmen have gotten behind it and it’s had various screenings in Washington D.C.  The word of this movie is spreading rapidly through every avenue of communication, primarily through word of mouth and the internet.  We receive phone calls and emails daily that are providing more and more opportunities.  My wife and I have also been speaking at churches across the nation where we show the movie and then have discussion groups afterward.  This has been very successful and very healing for post-abortive women as well as men.  

MW: Would you consider full length film projects going forward that might deal with other moral, social or even biblical themes, possibly a film in a similar genre to Mel Gibson’s very successful and critically acclaimed movie “Passion of the Christ”?
JF: Absolutely.  Not every movie I’m going to make has to have such a heavy subject.  After all, I like to laugh too!  But I will never shy away from weighty issues.   My goal is to make different types of films that both entertain and provoke thought.  They will however have a common thread.  They will be character-driven stories that convey truth, reflect hope instead of nihilism, and always shows consequences for actions. 

MW:  Hollywood has such a huge presence and influence in our nation. Why aren’t more people in the film industry speaking out on values and moral issues or are there some Hollywood voices that are getting louder?

JF: That’s a question that gets asked all the time and I don’t have the answer.  I can’t speak for others but I wish more would speak out.  However, with the success of “The Passion Of The Christ” the door is open wider than it’s ever been for conservative voices to be heard.  But we have to be willing to walk through it.  And when we do, it must be done with excellence.  I don’t care what you have to say or what story you feel you must tell, if it’s not done in a creative, entertaining manner, you’ve lost everyone.  And unfortunately, we don’t have to look far to see scrap yards filled with movies made by folks with good intentions but poorly executed.  And if people truly want to see more movies with higher values, they should either make them themselves or support or invest in those who do.  As we know, the funds may not come from Hollywood.

MW:  In conclusion, you have stepped into the public eye with a hauntingly powerful drama on one of America’s most controversial issues. It took an amazing amount of backbone and moral conviction to do so. Can you tell a little about yourself and your upbringing? What is your vision going forward for our nation, our children and our culture?

JF: My father retired from the Navy when I was thirteen and then we moved to Ohio.  While I was raised with good morals, we were pretty much Sunday Christians.  When I joined the 82d Airborne Division in the Army and attended college after, I had a very liberal outlook on life.  But as I got older and I returned to church, my faith grew and I saw the waste and damage that comes from a lifestyle of “anything goes.”  All one has to do is stop and watch, to witness the cause and effect of irresponsibility.  We are at a crossroads in our nation’s history.  In the past election the silent majority decided to raise their voice.  But we can’t stop there.  We have to continue to not only speak up, but to act.  You compliment me by saying it took an amazing backbone and moral conviction to make this movie.  I’m no different from anyone else.  But all I can say is, there will come a time for each and everyone one of us to account for not only what we did do in our lifetime, but also for what we did not do.  For me, I don’t want to be guilty of simply standing on the sideline.  

MW: Jonathan, thank you so much for participating in this interview. Your answers will speak volumes to those who want to know about you, the genesis of this important film and why it came about.

Michael Westfall