By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, Alabama born and raised movie director, Jon Erwin spoke to the South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. Jon Erwin co-directed the movie, ‘October Baby,’ along with his brother Andrew, who also wrote the screenplay.
Erwin told the audience of over 110, “I love Shelby County.”
Jon credited his father, former Alabama State Senator Hank Erwin, for instilling the love of storytelling in him and his brother.
Jon Erwin said that his movie making career “started with sports.” The two brothers began their career as camera operators for ESPN and ABC sports. “We did the bulk of our career working for other people.” The two brothers eventually started their own business. “One of our first clients was American Village.” The two developed a successful career doing sports documentaries and music videos.
Irwin said that changed, “In 2009 my brother (Andrew) locked himself away and began tinkering with a movie script.” The story is based on the real life story of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen.” Jon said, “I read it and it scared me to death.”
Irwin said, “I had always taken on other people’s stories,” and felt that the two brothers would be taking too much of a risk by making this project. The two brothers put the script on the shelf and split up for a time and worked separately on other projects. Jon did a couple of music videos and worked on the Christian movie, ‘Courageous.’ After doing ‘Courageous’ Jon decided to make ‘October Baby’ with his brother. Their career advisors told them to choose a safer story, but the brothers pressed ahead anyway.
The story is about a college freshmen named Hannah (played by Rachel Hendrix) who learns that she was adopted and is actually the survivor of a botched late term abortion. The girl’s journey of self- discovery leads her to the birth mother who had wanted her killed and the nurse who witnessed her birth.
The film was filmed entirely in the state of Alabama. Jon Erwin said, “Our state is beautiful we are proud of it and we wanted to show it off.” Erwin said that Kathy Faulk at the state film office was very supportive of their efforts. When the movie was finished, the studios told the two brothers that they loved the story; but would not touch this subject.
Without a studio to release the film Jon said that the two brothers released the movie in 14 theatres in Alabama and Mississippi. The film averaged 8000 tickets per screen that weekend. Following that successful limited release the studios relented and the movie was released nationally on 390 screens. The low budget Alabama film was one of the top ten movies that week according to the ‘New York Times.’ According to Wikipedia the $1,000,000 movie made $5,336,167 at the Box Office.
The National Catholic Register’s film critic Steven D. Greydanus wrote about ‘October Baby’: “It’s certainly a good-looking film — probably the best-crafted Christian-produced film I’ve seen since Bella, easily a cut above Courageous. The directors, brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin — veterans of a slew of Christian music videos and an award-winning documentary — go overboard on the contemporary Christian music-laden soundtrack, but make expressive use of lighting and camera angles and movements, as well as judiciously deployed handheld cameras.
Jon Irwin reminded everyone that the film is now out on DVD and Blue-Ray.