The Gosnell Movie is being financed through a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign raising $2.24m from 26,500 people on the website Indiegogo. The Gosnell Movie was by far the biggest crowdfunding campaign for a movie on the crowdsourcing site, and is the third-highest crowd funding movie project ever.
Kermit Gosnell was described by ABC news correspondent Terry Moran as America's most successful serial killer. It is thought that Gosnell, who ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia, killed hundreds, perhaps even thousands of babies in a forty year killing spree. The jury found he murdered babies born alive by sticking scissors into their necks and cutting their spinal cords, a practice he called "snipping". Babies' bodies were put in bags, milk jugs, and other containers, and investigators found the severed feet of several babies in a jar. The clinic itself was unsanitary, and several women also died. He is serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. Gosnell's trial and conviction was particularly controversial because it went largely unreported by the media - prompting allegations of a "cover-up by liberal journalists" not wanting to cast a harsh spotlight on the abortion industry.
Klavan, whose books have been made into movies directed and starring Clint Eastwood and Michael Douglas, said he had wanted to write the Gosnell screenplay "from the moment I heard it was underway".
Klavan said the Gosnell project was "a great story" but also an important tale to tell.
"This is so much more than a job of work for me. As I've begun to get into the research materials, it's started to come home to me that we've all taken on a huge responsibility. The women who were brutalized by this Gosnell monster — they can tell their stories. But all his victims, all those babies — we've got to figure out a way to speak for them somehow."
Klavan has written a number of internationally bestselling crime novels such as True Crime, later adapted for a film directed and starring Clint Eastwood and Don’t Say A Word which starred Michael Douglas. As a screenwriter, Klavan wrote A Shock to the System, which starred Michael Caine, and One Missed Call, starring Ed Burns and Shannyn Sossamon. He was also the screenwriter for 2013’s bestselling and Appy Award- winning iOS movie app Haunting Melisssa, and its sequel Haunting Melissa 2: Dark Hearts, due out later this year.
Klavan said Gosnell's story was a great material for a compelling true crime drama. "I've been a crime writer all my life and I know a great crime story when I hear one. What really grabbed me about this is that, here you have the worst serial killer in American history — the banality of evil made flesh — and yet there's this powerful bureaucratic inertia that provides him cover... Even when he's been discovered, there's this real reluctance to bring the truth to the public. The Gosnell murders were an inconvenient truth that no one wanted to tell it. So while on the one hand, you have that evil... you also have the quiet, dogged courage of the investigators and journalists who were not afraid to get the story, who wouldn't let it go. That's the stuff great stories are made of."
Gosnell is being produced by husband and wife producing team Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer along with Magdalena Segieda.
McElhinney said they are delighted that Klavan had agreed to write the screenplay.
"I am so happy to know that the Gosnell screenplay will be written by Andrew, he is unafraid of the darkest parts of this story and sees, despite all the horror perpetrated by Gosnell, hope and light in the many real heroic characters that finally ensured justice was done."
Phelim McAleer said Klavan understood how and why the story needs to be told in an entertaining accessible way.
"Kermit Gosnell is America's least known serial killer. We want to change that and almost 27,000 people have donated to make this happen. Andrew won't let them down."
In a lengthy writing career Klavan has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award five times and has won twice. He has recently published a bestselling series of thriller novels for young adults, The Homelanders, and his YA novel If We Survive was nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award. His latest novel for adults, Werewolf Cop, is due out next spring.
His essays and op-eds on politics, religion, movies and literature have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, and elsewhere. His 2008 WSJ op-ed “What Bush and Batman Have in Common,” topped the Technorati list as the most-read online piece of the day. He has also produced several popular political satire video series, including “Klavan on the Culture,” for PJTV.com, “A Very Serious Commentary,” for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com and his current series “The Revolting Truth,” for TruthRevolt.org.
About the filmmakers:
Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are a married film making team. They work with Magdalena Segieda in their independent production company Hat Tip Films and are based in Los Angeles, CA.
Phelim McAleer is a filmmaker and investigative journalist. He most recently produced and directed FrackNation - a documentary to uncover the truth about Fracking. He has produced documentaries for CBC (Canada) and RTE (Ireland) and two independent feature length documentaries. Before becoming a filmmaker, Phelim was a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times in Eastern Europe. He also covered Romania and Bulgaria for The Economist. Before that he covered Ireland for the UK Sunday Times. He has worked as a filmmaker and journalist in many countries including Romania, Uganda, Madagascar, Bulgaria, Chile, Indonesia, Canada and China. McAleer has appeared on or is a regular contributor to an array of international media organizations including Fox News, CNN and the BBC. He has been interviewed on over 100 US and international radio shows.
Ann McElhinney is a filmmaker and investigative journalist most recently producing and directing FrackNation. She has produced documentaries for the BBC, CBC (Canada) and RTE (Ireland). She has written for a series of newspapers including The UK Sunday Times and the Irish Times. Ann has worked as a filmmaker and journalist in many countries including Indonesia, Romania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Uganda, Madagascar and Uzbekistan. She has appeared on or is a regular contributor to an array of international media organizations including ABC, BBC, CBC (Canada), ABC (Australia), RTE (Ireland) and Fox News. She is a regular on a number of US talk radio shows including Hugh Hewitt and the Dennis Miller. A well known public speaker she has spoken most recently at conferences in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Toronto, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis, Santa Barbara and Salt Lake City.
Magdalena Segieda was born in 1982 in Szczecin, Poland. She studied political science and international relations. In 2007, she worked on a documentary for Polish state television (TVP), shot in Dublin. Right after, she met two Irish filmmakers, Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. McElhinney and McAleer had just returned to Ireland to start pre-production for a feature documentary, Not Evil Just Wrong. Ms Segieda was involved in all aspects of the production of the film. Ms Segieda moved with the filmmakers to Washington, DC and worked on the independent distribution of the film. After the team relocated to Los Angeles, she worked on “Hypocrites,” a series of short films, released online, taking a critical look at celebrities who run anti-development environmental campaigns. Most recently, she co-directed the feature length documentary FrackNation - A journalist's search for the fracking truth.