Belfast Telegraph

White House to host screening of Tyrone man's pro-life movie

Film: Journalist Phelim McAleer with his wife Ann McElhinney
Film: Journalist Phelim McAleer with his wife Ann McElhinney
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Northern Ireland film-maker's controversial movie about a late-term abortion doctor is being screened by US President Donald Trump at the White House today.

Gosnell: The Trial Of America's Biggest Serial Killer is the first feature by Phelim McAleer from Beragh, Co Tyrone, and his Donegal-born wife Ann McElhinney.

The couple have said that the contentious subject matter and the film's pro-life stance meant mainly liberal mainstream Press and the US movie establishment have ignored it.

The film is based on grand jury testimony surrounding former Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, now serving a life sentence for three counts of first-degree murder of infants.

The movie, starring Dean Cain, opened last October and took in $3.7m (£2.8m) at the domestic box office.

The White House screening is being viewed as President Trump's latest gesture of solidarity with the pro-life movement. Confirming the news, the film producer's tweeted: "We are so thankful & thrilled this is happening! The @WhiteHouse is screening the #GosnellMovie this Friday."

Speaking last November, Mr McAleer recalled how he faced pressure when promoting the anti-abortion film.

"Distributors told us: 'It's a great movie but it's too controversial'. Facebook blocked our ads," he said.

"The New York Times had agreed to carry a quarter-page advertisement for the movie, but advertising executives demanded the ad be changed to misrepresent the facts after facing pressure from colleagues in the film section.

"We had to use crowdfunding to fund the film.

"People are very one-sided when it comes to abortion.

"They have had a rom-com where the couple bonded over having (an abortion) and that was fine, but this kind of approach is not as welcome.

"We've been trying to get the film out for three years and that makes the refusal of much of the media to review the film all the more ludicrous.

"Here you have the hottest political topic in America and it's the subject of a successful movie like this, and still they won't touch it. It's pathetic, really."

Mr McAleer previously worked as a journalist for publications such as the Irish News and The Sunday Times. His films include Not Evil Just Wrong, Mine Your Own Business and FrackNation, which challenge ideas promoted by the green movement.

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