Friday 19th April 2019

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The Wanderer Takes Action . . . The Movie All America Must See

April 12, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


A few weeks ago, you read my review of Unplanned, the film that has taken America by storm. On its opening weekend, the film was a hit, despite the fact most media refused to sell advertising space to the film’s studio.

This success did not happen as a fluke. Pro-life activists across the land rallied their troops to help make this true story of a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-lifer a smash hit.

Of all the markets where the film opened across the country, two very dedicated individuals put their thinking caps on and got the support of family, friends, donors, anyone who they could bring onboard in the St. Louis, Mo., metro area.

The movie they called a “game changer” — Unplanned — came to the attention of Christopher “Zip” Rzeppa, a former popular sports broadcaster, and now president of Mater Media, and Dr. Hel­en Gelhot, president of CREDO of the Catholic Laity, which is dedicated to the defense of Church doctrine and the promotion of Catholic values through seminars, presentations, retreats, and other activities.

Long before the movie’s March 29 release, Helen was helping Zip with another project. Having heard of the soon-to-be-released film, Zip made connections with the producers to help bring them to St. Louis for a pre-screening of the film, and to share some of what went on behind making this important story into a motion picture.

Mike Manhardt, one of the movie’s producers and actors, and Tom Hall — another “movie guy” — did indeed fly into St. Louis to help create a strong buzz around the film’s release.

The idea was to bring folks together at a head-turning event showing the Unplanned movie — within one week. These would be people who were committed “pro-lifers” and who could be inclined to write a nice check to support the movie. A tall order. The movie was paid for and completed, but now the job was to generate revenue for ticket purchase to encourage folks to actually see the film.

CREDO and Mater Media boards, and families and friends wholeheartedly came on board supporting the Unplanned joint project. With the stunning setting of the Skip Viragh Performing Arts Center at Chaminade College Preparatory School, wine and hors d’oeuvres preceded the screening on an impressive 30-foot screen. Friends and even their children helped with every detail of the prescreening, including the exceptional food and beverage spread.

Some of the attendees were kind and brave enough to share their own abortion story. There was a counselor, Kathleen Guerra, LPC, on hand for those in need. Project Joseph’s Chuck Raymond Sr. and Silent No More’s Linda Raymond were there with help for those suffering after abortion.

One kindly physician, once on the frontlines of the abortion battle on the sidewalk surrounding Planned Parenthood, praying the rosary regularly with his devoted wife, now uses a walker. He had committed to giving a large amount of money prior to seeing Unplanned.

Upon exiting the theater, he proclaimed to Helen, “I’ve changed my mind!” He then followed that up with, “I’m doubling my gift to you for Unplanned tickets” as he hurried along.

Mater Media and CREDO of the Catholic Laity also orchestrated a second pre-screening in Zip’s home only six days later. The event was no less elegant, and it was also graced with wonderfully generous donors. As it ended up, some donors were not even present at either event, but again the “movie guys” flew in for a repeat performance.

Guests, excited to meet the Hollywood team and listen to the story of the making of Unplanned, were thankfully just as motivated to donate, collectively over $60,000 to CREDO of the Catholic Laity and Mater Media in order to purchase tickets to Unplanned.

Audience reception was ecstatic, everyone was uplifted and more determined than ever in their pro-life efforts. Indeed, the words “game changer” echoed amongst the moviegoers that night. There was nothing but praise coming from the spellbound audience. A couple of the guests were so thrilled they even flew to LA for the opening of Unplanned there two days after the Chaminade event!

Armed with $60,000 Mater Media and CREDO, with the help of crack financial analyst, John Dolan, negotiated with AMC (a Catholic, family-owned national theater company) and others to purchase dozens of “screens” in local theaters and fill them with folks who happily received their free tickets to see Unplanned.

Additionally, Brian Westbrook of Coalition for Life was instrumental in the process. He played an important role as well and had volunteers at the theaters to collect any donations and information, so as to keep in contact for future such endeavors. Brian had an online FREE ticket purchase site to complement Helen’s and Zip’s personal networking efforts.

Networking included local and regional individual leaders, parishes, schools, megachurches, Christian ministries, clubs and other organizations, friends and neighbors; they all rose to the occasion to fill the Unplanned seats. This was something they professed they would have done anyway. Now they had a sense of urgency and an extra incentive.

CREDO and Mater Media ultimately purchased and filled approximately 6,000 seats for Unplanned. The St. Louis market was number one for Unplanned ticket sales in the nation on opening weekend; this is especially impressive when you understand St. Louis market is only number 21 in U.S. media market size!

Unplanned earned an opening weekend of $6.1 million, double the amount projected by box office trackers. All this despite the severe muzzling Unplanned received from channels like Hallmark and HGTV, who refused to air paid ads for the movie. The movie also had its website, Twitter and Facebook accounts shut down, as well as other significant online “mishaps.” Of note was the biased information on the group-think website called Rotten Tomatoes.

This is where The Wanderer comes in. After conversations with Zip and Dr. Helen, Wanderer publisher Joe Matt consulted with me and we were truly in awe of what Zip, Dr. Helen, and their network in St. Louis and with the film’s producers accomplished in St. Louis.

We want to replicate this same plan in markets across the country in order to get as many people, especially those who are either still “pro-choice,” or are sitting on the fence regarding abortion, to see Unplanned.

As we all agree, Abby Johnson’s story told so poignantly in this film is a very powerful tool to change hearts and minds. Let’s make this happen over and over all across America.

See the details on how you can help below this article.

It is important to note that the movie is a documented “game changer,” as Students for Life’s survey shows now that just over 50 percent of students who consider themselves “prochoice,” change to pro-life after seeing Unplanned! Also, multiple witnessed incidents of mothers deciding not to abort their babies have followed the viewing of Unplanned.

Together we can bring as many people into these seats to make Unplanned a sustained success in movie theaters across the land, encouraging movie theaters to extend the showing of Unplanned for weeks to come.

We also ask that anyone interested in bringing the film into markets where Unplanned hasn’t been shown to convince movie houses, based on the success of St. Louis and other markets we hope to strongly influence, to bring Unplanned into their cities and towns.

We also ask that you please share our campaign far and wide on all of your social media platforms, your email lists, and with all of your family, friends, parishes, schools, homeschooling groups, and anyone else you can think of.

Unplanned has already made movie history. Let’s make Unplanned an even greater part of movie history. Thank you.

A Note From The Publisher

A Note From The Publisher . . .
Click for AUDIO MESSAGE  From Joseph Matt, Publisher

This  past week I had been given a tip from a friend to check out a story about a group of people in the St. Louis area who had amazing success in raising funds and distributing complimentary tickets for the movie Unplanned. Rey Flores was perfect for the follow-up assignment, given his broad range of work within the pro-life community and will play a large role in this initiative. Truly an inspirational and touching story how a little group with a big idea can make a big impact (see Rey’s story). The combination of seeing the movie that week and speaking with Dr. Helen and Zip who were instrumental in the success of the ticket give-away in St. Louis inspired and prompted a plan of action for the four of us to attempt to duplicate what these good folks did locally on a national basis – thus The Wanderer initiative Tickets for Life.

The talk of this movie being a game-changer could be an understatement.The potential of this movie to change hearts and minds is providing new life into the pro-life movement. Conversion stories are becoming increasingly common among those indifferent or unconvinced what abortion is — until viewing the movie.

Anybody who seriously views this film will have a difficult time convincing themselves that abortion is anything other than the taking of an innocent life. The more this movie is promoted and seen by people, the more the lies and deception of abortion and its proponents will be exposed. The timing of this movie is providential, offering a glimmer of hope at a time when abortion advocates are expanding into new and even more extreme measures of abortion. 
Join with us today in promoting this noble cause. Help us change hearts and minds and save LIVES!

         The Plan Is Very Simple.

     1. First, raise money for this URGENT, once in a lifetime chance of seeing Unplanned on the bigscreen.

    2. Then give the tickets away ONLY to those who WILL COMMIT TO GO to see
Unplanned and who will not “waste” the tickets – primarily high school and college kids – they are the most vulnerable and easily brainwashed by the culture of death!

    We are somewhat late to the game, so it is imperative that we raise funds rather quickly. The success of the fundraising somewhat will determine how long this movie stays in theaters. The more tickets sold, the longer the movie remains in theaters.

 Use the Paypal option below or if you prefer our Gofund me page. A $10 gift buys a ticket that may save a life. 

 — Joseph Matt, Publisher, The Wanderer Newspaper

Tell Your Friends, Spread The Word! Join With Us TODAY In Promoting This Noble Cause. Help Us Change Hearts And Minds And Save LIVES!

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Fr. James Schall passed away today. A Jesuit priest & Georgetown professor, he served as mentor & model to a numberless many (including me). With penetrating insight & wit, he pointed us to Christ & those great Catholic minds we mustn't forget.

Fr. Schall, requiescat in pace.

Please pray for Raymond DeSousa today, who is a weekly Wanderer columnist who is undergoing serious surgery today.

We ban God from the public square. We murder His most innocent. We deny Him on the Sabbath. We disregard his commandments. Is it any wonder?

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  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

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