Tony KayeOctober 16, 2007 ( – Managing Director Steve Jalsevac interviewed Tony Kaye by telephone in California a few weeks after the December 9, 2006 world premier of Lake of Fire at the Toronto International Film Festival. Following is the text of that interview which was held until Lake of Fire was finally launched in selected US theaters last week.

LifeSiteNews: Other than the recent Kansas law proposal that the movie started with, most of rest seemed rather dated. Would that be a fair comment.

Kaye: Well, the historic stuff I did some time ago, yeah, sure over 17 years. The stories about the people are not that old.

LifeSiteNews: There seems to have been quite a change in at least the activism and the media emphasis on abortion and it’s gone much more in the last several years into a political and legislative emphasis. That type of activism shown in your movie is not seen as much anymore. Is that your view of it as well?

Kaye: Yeah, they’ve taken a more, yeah, a more, yeah, they’ve sort of um, yeah, yeah, which isn’t, yeah.

LifeSiteNews: Why was there such a strong focus within your movie on the extremists? Was there a particular reason for that or was that the most fascinating part of the whole issue that you found?

Kaye: What do you mean by that?

LifeSiteNews: There were these various people who killed abortionists or abortion staff, there were people such as religious fundamentalists, very loud personalities. These people as far as I know are not really representative of the overall pro-life movement but they certainly get the most press and that’s fair to cover them, but I am just wondering why there was a predominant coverage of them only, as opposed to the more mainstream pro-life organizations.

Kaye: Well, I think they were, um, mainstream, you know, more, you know, part of everyday life kind of pro-life people. It’s just those other people they, they, they do stand out because by the pure nature, they are the ones that grab the headlines anyway. If you put half an hour, 40 minutes of them in a film, that 40 minutes is really going to stand out because what they do is so completely outrageous. It’s like it grabs a headline in a newspaper, it will grab someone’s attention if they are watching the film. I was very careful not to put the pro-life voices highly in there now.

LifeSiteNews: Would people seeing that film get a fair, in your opinion, overall view of both sides of the issue in that National Right to Life, American Life League, Focus on the Family, Michigan Right to Life and so many of these large organizations – none of them were represented at all within the movie?

Kaye: Is this a criticism you’re giving me or a question?

LifeSiteNews: It’s a question.

Kaye: Yea, well, you know, I set out to really present both sides as accurately as I could and um, you know, I, you know, its such a big issue and there are so many thousands of organizations on both sides I didn’t get a chance to go to. I had to settle for what I had. In the main, most of the pro-life people who have seen the movie think its a pro-life movie and most of the pro-choice people think its a pro-choice movie.

LifeSiteNews: Oh really. That’s interesting. I’m surprised. Many of the people in the pro-life movement who I know quite well, would view many of the pro-life people in your movie as anti-abortionists rather than pro-lifers. A pro-lifer is someone who would not condone violence, ever, whereas an anti-abortionist is someone who would see any tactic as acceptable in order to stop abortion. There is quite a different view there, so that is interesting.

Kaye: I think the public relations firms of both firms are daft. No one is not pro-life in essence of what the word pro-life means. There is not a person in the world that is not pro-life.

LifeSiteNews: After the abortion you filmed the doctor emptying the bag of the contents and he had to go through there and pick out the various body parts of the abortion. What kind of personal reaction did you have to seeing that?

Kaye: Myself?

LifeSiteNews: Yes.

Kaye: Well, I personally don’t believe anything justifies that.

LifeSiteNews: When you say that did you have some kind of reaction personally?
Kaye: As I said, yea, I was quite horrified. I’d never seen an abortion up to that.

LifeSiteNews: The Catholics you tended to portray and even the Evangelicals, they tended to be one type of Evangelical, one type of Catholic. More or less they were kind of extremist. Were you not able to find any that did not come across as that type?

Kaye: As I said before, I did the best I could. I’m sorry I left people out but I didn’t leave anyone out for that reason. I had five people researching the film for six or seven years.

LifeSiteNews: You called it a war on religion but many poeple…

Kaye: I didn’t call it a war on religion I called it a war of words.

LifeSiteNews: OK, but the term war of religion was used in the film.

Kaye: You mean one of the people said that. I have never said that. If someone said that in the film, I mean, I didn’t write the film.

LifeSiteNews: A lot of the pro-life people view it as a social justice issue. Does that make sense to you.

Kaye: Um, sure, I mean I really don’t understand the whole thing to be honest. I’m very confused by everything. I don’t have a point of view. I’m very confused by the whole thing. I’m completely against abortion and I’m completely for the choice.

LifeSiteNews: So, you are on both sides, in other words.

Kaye: It’s not that I’m on both sides, I’m completely confused. I have no point of view on this particular issue.

LifeSiteNews: You had Peter Singer in the film now and then. What was the purpose for having him within the film?

Kaye: Well, the purpose of having him, you know Chomsky, Dershowitz, Hentoff and other people like that, they’re not people having anything to do with abortion. They’re  just people that have great minds. That was the importance to just get a thinker, great thinkers of the world. You know, whether you agree with their thinking or not I don’t think anyone would deny they’re not great thinkers of the world. Just to see what they had to say and I didn’t prompt any of the answers. I didn’t have an agenda when I went to interview anyone. My only agenda was to just see what they had to say.

LifeSiteNews: You consider this a work in progress and maybe you’re not even finished yet. Would that be correct?

Kaye: Well, you know, I view everything I have done to be a work in progress. I mean I’m trying to sell the film right now. There’s talk of doing a television long form piece of it. I’ve been shooting for such a long time, I could have made a 19 hour film.

LifeSiteNews: As LifesiteNews, we cover this issue in a very large way and I noticed there were a number of people in the film on the abortion side making a number of charges but they weren’t at all well answered by people you had representing the other side. Which again, to people who cover this issue a lot and are very experienced with it, there were certainly some large, missing elements within there, especially, as I mentioned earlier, all the different mainstream organizations with spokesmen who are very balanced, they use very reasonable arguments, they have a lot of research behind them and they don’t come across as any of the people you had there representing the so-called pro-life side. It really stands out to someone watching the movie who has that experience. Now, you relied on your researchers to direct you where to go, you said.

Kaye: Well, they were relying on my instructions, but, yes.

Questions in Theatre After Movie Premiere in Toronto at 2006 Film Festival

Q: inaudible

Kaye: I haven’t really manipulated anything. It is what it is.

Q: Did you have a stand on abortion when you started? Did the film change your stand?

Kaye: I just believe that the issue of abortion hadn’t really had a film text that covered the entire issue. I’d noticed a lot of things from one of the sides. Films about an incident that took place but there never seemed to be an incident about everything. Unfortunately at the beginning of the film I was typical for a man not understanding what the issue of abortion was about. I was confused, completely confused at the beginning and I’m even more confused now.

Q: I noticed that you highlighted a lot of the extremists very well, the extremist anti-abortionists. Did you ever get a chance though to interview the mainstream spokesmen for like National Right to Life, Michigan Right to Life, the far larger organizations. Did you get any opportunity or did they refuse to speak to you?

Kaye: No, this is 1%. I tried to cover everything and I have a lot, lot more film that I’d like to make a television series about. This is just 1% and abortion is just 1% of all things in the world. So, I don’t know. I did my best.