Malta’s chairman for the National Book Council has come out swinging against tonight’s showing of an anti-abortion movie, ‘Unplanned’ at Spazju Kreattiv, in Valletta.
“This is not about providing a balanced selection of events. This is about a public entity providing a voice and space to a particular organisation which has a political end.
“This is very messy given that not all political organisations will have the same opportunity to use that space since not all organisations have ample funds,” Mark Camilleri said on social media.
The initial post questioned why the premiere, launched by the Life Network as part of a fund-raising initiative, suddenly became a private event, after the group initially set a €25 price tag.
With Malta’s President George Vella in full support of the film and expected to attend, Camilleri argued that the anti-abortion’s massive support from the Church and other conservative donors meant it hugely overpowered pro-choice campaigners.
“Renting out cinemas to politically-motivated organisations is a bit messy because there is no level-playing and you are therefore unwittingly abetting the anti-abortion camp.”
Replying on the comment thread, Spazju Kreattiv’s Creative Director Toni Sant, clarified that the film did not form part of their program, explaining that all facilities at t James Cavalier are available for hire by third parties.
Sant noted that when their actual programme is “certainly editorialised”, referring to last year’s production of ‘De-Terminated: The Abortion Stories’.
“You’re very entitled to your point of view, of course, and you’re very welcome to raise it with the pertinent higher authorities as you see fit. I don’t mind that we disagree on how public property should be handled. I don’t decide such matters on a personal basis,” Sant said.
‘Unplanned’ is based on the memoir of Abby Johnson, following her life as a clinic director for Planned Parenthood and her subsequent move to anti-abortion activism.
Given the subject matter, the film has courted significant controversy in the USA. However, it still proved to be a moderate box office success, grossing $19 million on a $6 million budget.
Jennifer Villavicencio, an obstetrician who performs abortions and is the exact opposite of Abby Johnson (having grown up pro-life), has said that the film is factually inaccurate and heavily politicised.
Doctors For Choice have also disputed the claims in the film.