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A Distant Thunder” is a compelling new movie that combines supernatural chills with courtroom drama to expose the reality of partial-birth abortion. The film is very good, and it is also very important to the pro-life movement.

The plot of “A Distant Thunder” centers on a nurse who has accused an abortionist of killing a baby he accidentally delivered alive while attempting a partial-birth abortion.

Given the topic, you’ll be surprised to learn “A Distant Thunder” originated in Hollywood. Its writer and director, Jonathan Flora, is an award-winning producer at Disney (although the film is not associated with his employer).

You’ll be further surprised to learn “A Distant Thunder” has been featured at two film festivals, where at one it won finalist for best short film. (It is only 35 minutes long.)

I wish I could tell you the shocking plot twist at the end of “A Distant Thunder,” but doing so would be as mean as giving away the end to “The Sixth Sense” to those who haven’t seen it.

But I can tell you other aspects of the movie.

Flora’s impetus for writing “A Distant Thunder” was his personal tribulation of being involved in an abortion decision when in college and then encountering infertility problems years later after he married.

“During this time I began to struggle and started looking at abortion statistics,” said Flora. They were staggering. One-fourth of all children since 1973 are not here because of abortion.”

Converted, Flora said he stumbled across information about partial-birth abortion on the Internet and couldn’t believe what he was reading. “I spoke with friends who were in the know, and they were also unclear about PBA,” said Flora.

Flora decided to write “a discussion piece to initiate dialogue.” He thought a courtroom setting offered the best scenario to lay out PBA step-by-step, while presenting both sides of the argument through attorneys.

“I thought if we could get people talking about PBA, which is the cruelest of the procedures,” said Flora, “Then maybe we could get them to turn around on their opinions of other less heinous forms of abortion.”

The movie also contrasts the dichotomous maze of laws and judicial decisions about abortion, including an excellent courtroom discussion of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act vs. PBA.

The verbiage of the film is also accurate, sans pro-abortion obfuscations. On the stand, for instance, the nurse witness describes PBA like this:

The procedure calls for the doctor – once all but the baby’s head has been pulled from the mother – to take a pair of scissors and insert them into the base of the baby’s skull and spread them to make a hole. Then a catheter is inserted into the hole, and it sucks the baby’s brain out, causing the skull to collapse. The baby is then removed.

The short length of “A Distant Thunder” will make it easy to show it at pro-life events, youth groups, schools, church and small group meetings.

There are two versions of the film available on DVD – one for general audiences and a director’s cut. Both are unrated, but should be screened before showing to children under 18. The directors cut includes a short, bloody (nonpromiscuous) shower scene, which I think adds to understanding the plot.

“A Distant Thunder” features actors who have been seen elsewhere: Deborah Flora (“Passions,” “Port Charles”), Ted Vaughn (“Commander in Chief,” “24,” “Hunt for Red October”), Peter Renaday (“James Bond: From Russia with Love,” “Touched by an Angel,” “General Hospital”), Laura Richardson (“Judging Amy”), and even a cameo by Charlene Tilton of “Dallas” fame.

True life epilogue: Shortly after Jonathan and Deborah were told they couldn’t conceive, they did – a girl they named Olivia. Six months after Olivia was born, they got pregnant with Benjamin.

The film was a nepotistic event: Jonathan wrote and directed, Deborah played the lead, Olivia played Deborah’s character, Ann, at eight months, and Benjamin is featured via ultrasound.

“He the only guy on record with a film credit before birth,” said Jonathan.

As the final credits roll, Bob Dylan sings “Every Grain of Sand“:

I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame

And every time I pass that way I always hear my name.

Then onward in my journey I come to understand

That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

You can read other reviews of “A Distant Thunder” in World Magazine and LA Daily News.

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