(LifeSiteNews) — A new pro-life film featuring a nearly aborted baby who is adopted and later reconnected with his birth mother will premiere Friday.
“LIFEMARK” is based on the true story of David Scotton’s family. At 18 years old, David’s mother Melissa finds herself terrified in an unplanned pregnancy. After refusing an abortion at the last moment before the procedure that would kill her baby, Melissa chooses life and puts her child up for adoption.
Nearly 20 years later, she contacts her son, who agrees to meet her. The film documents not only the agony of Melissa’s young life but also the joy of David’s adoptive parents and the hopeful realization that devastating situations can still lead to miracles.
“LIFEMARK” is the first movie based on a true story to be produced by the Kendrick Brothers. Kirk Cameron is also an executive producer as well as one of the film’s actors.
“This movie is so exciting for our family,” David Scotton, whose character is portrayed by Raphael Ruggero in the film, told LifeSiteNews in a phone interview. “I’ve been speaking and sharing this story since 2011 … To be sharing a story for so long, and for it to mean so much to us, to know that there’s interest in making it a full-length feature film, meaning that it’s going to reach even more people … is just truly humbling and exciting and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Stephen Kendrick, one of the film’s executive producers, described the decision to make the movie as a realization “that this could be something that the body of Christ and the world should see right now, and it could provide a wonderful example as to how one courageous decision can bless so many other people’s lives.”
“One of the things I love about LIFEMARK is it doesn’t just present the perspective of a frightened teenage mom, but it also shows the teenage dad, the life of the child that grows up, and the perspective of the adoptive parents,” Kendrick told LifeSiteNews. “You see the journey of each person involved.”
He explained that while writing the script the production team would call the film’s real-life counterparts to “make sure that all the facts were accurate.” David and his family were even invited onto the set to witness the work in progress and provide feedback.
He shared that Melissa Coles, David’s real-life birth mother, stood outside the room as they filmed the scene in the abortion clinic. According to Kendrick, Melissa was able to “comfort the girl that was playing her” after she had filmed the emotional scene.
“There’s a lot of movies that say, ‘inspired by a true story’ or ‘based on a true story’ and they’re really not,” Scotton said. “This one really is inspired by a true story. I was consulted almost every day on different aspects of the movie process. They wanted to make it as true as possible to our story, and they did a fantastic job.”
Scotton also shared that he, birth mother Melissa, and adoptive mother Susan have a cameo in the film. Scotton, an attorney, plays the adoption lawyer who facilitates his character’s adoption in the movie.
In 2018, David and Melissa shared their story through a short documentary titled “I Lived on Parker Avenue.” This film details the suffering of both David’s adoptive and biological parents and shows the family reunion, all of which inspired Cameron and the Kendrick Brothers to bring the story to life in “LIFEMARK”.
“We had no idea when we were going into producing the movie starting in 2019 that Roe v Wade would be overturned this year,” Kendrick said about the film’s release after the historic Roe reversal. “But we now see God’s providential timing in the precision of LIFEMARK coming out right now.”
“This movie shows compassion, and it shows perspective. It shows the perspective of the teenage couple and what they’re wrestling through in the unwanted pregnancy, but it also shows compassion for them.”
After the movie, Kendrick explained that there is a segment featuring the production team speaking to the audience about having compassion on those who have suffered abortions, including a testimony from one of the crew members sharing her experience with abortion and finding healing.
Scotton emphasizes the importance of sharing his story with the world, calling himself the “polar opposite” of the boy who used to try and hide his adoption from everyone.
“I’m here because my birth mother left an abortion clinic and chose life,” he said. “I’m here because of adoption. And that’s what I’ve been trying to speak on for years is the adoption option because it is such a viable and important solution to an unplanned pregnancy that needs to be talked about way more than it is now.”
Scotton largely credits “I Lived on Parker Avenue” and “LIFEMARK” for the increase in adoption as a part of the unplanned pregnancy conversation.
Kendrick expressed that the production team hopes abortion will continue to be more commonly discussed, particularly among American legislators. He said that churches also need to hear the message of LIFEMARK.
“If we’re against Roe v. Wade, which we are, then we also need to be for adoption ministries,” he said.
“We do want to reach the next generation with the importance of valuing life when everything may be pressuring them to abort a child,” Kendrick told LifeSiteNews. “But we also want to present the beauty of adoption as a much better alternative to abortion.”
“LIFEMARK” will be released by Fathom Events and run in theaters across the country for a week beginning September 9. The movie will show on 1,500 screens across 48 states and is the first film to be released on a Friday night by Fathom. The theater premiere may continue if the movie’s success leads the company to further extend its public showings.
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