Tag Archives: Pattie Mallette

From the gritty to the pretty

Jason Jones’ pro-life ministry takes him from the homeless to Hollywood’s stars . . .

The pain of abortion catapults many people into the pro-life movement and the Catholic Church. Legate Jason Jones is no exception. But when he entered the pro-life movement back in 1989, he was as far from Catholicism as anyone could be.

40-year plan

cover-oct14It all began when Jones was about to turn 17 and he learned that his high school girlfriend was pregnant. Jones joined the U.S. Army to support his young family, and the couple decided to keep the pregnancy a secret until he finished basic training. One day — right before the seventh month of pregnancy — Jones’ girlfriend called him where he was stationed in Fort Benning, Ga. She was crying hysterically. Then her father came on the line and said, “Jason, I know your secret, and your secret’s gone. She had an abortion.”

The news rocked Jones to the core.

“I didn’t even know abortion was legal until my captain told me that it was,” Jones said. “All I knew was that my girlfriend had been coerced into this by her Catholic father.”

Jones immediately became a rabidly anti-Catholic pro-lifer. Heartbroken, he began going door-to-door to talk to people about abortion. When Jones’ captain found out, he told the young solider that he needed a plan — and to work backwards from there.

“So I made a 40-year plan to end abortion,” he said. “I knew I had to go to college if I was going to get anywhere.”

Jones enrolled in the University of Hawaii after getting out of the army and volunteered for Hawaii Right to Life. There Jones began to learn about the pro-life movement and how legislation worked. Jones was a firm atheist in college, but reading Jean Paul Sartre and Friedrich Nietzsche during his final semester challenged him. Both philosophers argued against the existence of God and a transcendental moral order.

Actor Eduardo Verástegui and Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Mallette, pose with Jason Jones

Actor Eduardo Verástegui and Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Mallette, pose with Jason Jones

“I knew that human beings had incomparable worth, but only if referenced to God,” Jones explained. “This forced me to believe in God and accept Christian anthropology.”

By 1999, Jones began attending a pro-life Evangelical Church in Hawaii, but admits that his “behavior was still that of a pagan and I was only praying intermittently.”

After college, Hawaii Right to Life hired Jones, who eventually became chief of staff for Hawaii state representative Mark Moses. He worked on an effort in 1999 to ban third trimester abortions in the state. Despite a massive petition effort, Moses’ pro-life bill died in committee because the committee head was pro-abortion.

In desperation, Jones remembers praying, “God, if you exist, I don’t see you doing anything. I need three things to believe in you. I need rich, famous and powerful people on our side.”

Jones would live to see God answer his prayer in good time.

By 2001, Jones moved to Virginia to work with Human Life International where he met a number of committed Catholics. He was also reading the Church Fathers in earnest, noticing that all of them were Catholic.

“I was struck by their consistency,” he said. “They believed in apostolic succession and in the Eucharist. I realized that there was no escaping becoming Catholic.”

Jones registered for RCIA in 2002 and entered the Church a year later.

Saving our century

Jason Jones and a group of volunteers prepare meals for the homeless at the Movie To Movement headquarters in Hollywood

Jason Jones and a group of volunteers prepare meals for the homeless at the Movie To Movement headquarters in Hollywood

Since becoming Catholic, Jones has been involved in a dizzying array of activities — from producing films to launching numerous efforts to help the poor. His first book, co-authored with Catholic writer John Zmirak, was released last month.

Jones’ first venture into film came in 2006, when he helped produce the award-winning movie Bella , starring Mexican actor and singer Eduardo Verástegui. The pro-life film went on to earn $12 million at the box office and save hundreds of babies from abortion.

Jones was an associate producer for the 2008 film The Stoning of Soraya M , starring Jim Caviezel. His self-produced 2013 pro-life short Crescendo has raised almost $6 million for crisis pregnancy centers. It won 11 international film festival awards, and Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Mallette was an executive producer.

Now Jones is working on Broken Hearts Sing , a film about the devastation of abortion through the eyes of people working in Hollywood. It’s slated for release in 2016.

“I believe it will be a watershed for the pro-life movement,” Jones said.

Besides making movies and engaging in politics, Jones founded the non-profit group HERO (Human- rights Education and Relief Organization) in 2002 to promote human dignity in all stages of life through international education and relief programs.

Under the HERO umbrella of organizations is Movie to Movement and I Am Whole Life, founded in 2007 to uphold the principles Jones believes are foundational for a just social order: people are made in God’s image, the transcendent moral order, subsidiarity, solidarity, and a humane economy.

Sam Gregg

Sam Gregg

I Am Whole Life ministers to the homeless to build an appreciation of the dignity of local homeless communities. It also raises money to provide clean water to the Nuba people in Sudan.

Jones encapsulates his many humanitarian and pro-life efforts in his new book, The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life.

“It’s the result of 18 years of thinking and writing on this subject,” Jones explained. “Its basic premise is that humanity must commit to fundamental moral truths about the human person. I started to write this book while I was still an atheist.”

Sam Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, is one of the book’s biggest fans.

“What’s impressive about the book is that it explains how the failure to understand the truth of the human person produced such devastation in the 20th century,” he said “If we don’t recover the truth of the human person, we’re bound to make similar mistakes in the 21st century.”

The idea of man being made in God’s image — Imago Dei — is a major premise in the book.

“The nature of Imago Dei is that we reflect God’s reason and free will,” Gregg explained. “We are made for communion. If you take this view that human beings are made in the image of God, this radically shifts your view of the unborn and elderly people.”

With Jones now in the 25th year of his 40-year plan to end abortion, his friends and collaborators say we can certainly expect more original projects.

“Jason Jones has what I believe is an essential ingredient — a total, passionate dedication to ending abortion. It is not just one of many passions,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

“In terms of the movies he has produced, this has made a major contribution to the pro-life movement. We used to talk about this in the past: ‘What if we made a pro-life movie?’ Now we have a whole catalog of them.”

One of the best things about Jones, Fr. Pavone said, is his perseverance — a marvelous quality that anti-slavery movement leaders had.

“Jason Jones is one of those people who has a vision for a project, and he does not let the vision drop until the project is completed — no matter how long it takes.”

SABRINA ARENA FERRISI is Legatus magazine’s senior staff writer.

Learn More:

SaveOurCentury.com

IAmWholeLife.com

MovieToMovement.com

Legate’s blockbuster success

Legate Jacrescendoson Jones’ new film helps raise millions for pregnancy centers . . .

When Jason Jones and his Movie to Movement team came up with the idea for their inspirational short film, Crescendo, they also crafted a plan to raise $10 million for pregnancy centers worldwide.

When the film debuted on nearly 100 screens in late February, the team began that journey with amazing success, raising several hundred thousand dollars for pregnancy centers worldwide.

“We are so excited to see the response people are having to this film,” says Jones, producer of Crescendo and president/founder of Movie to Movement. “We are on track to raise $1 million by the end of the month and aim to host 900 more screenings and raise $10 million by the end of 2013. I am confident that will happen. We are so thankful for the support people have shown and encourage everyone to get involved!”

Crescendo is still in theaters and raising funds for women in crisis pregnancy situations, Jones said, so the film is not available online just yet. Legatus magazine featured Crescendo on its February cover.

Praise for Crescendo

Pregnancy centers are sharing their enthusiasm about the project and continuing to support the movement by hosting additional screenings of the film that celebrates the beauty of life.

“It was a huge success,” said Frances Jimenez of Aid for Women. “We had a packed house with many from the community who had never been to an Aid for Women event.”

The Crescendo team (left-right): Eduardo Verastegui, Pattie Mallette, Jason Jones

The Crescendo team (left-right): Eduardo Verastegui, Pattie Mallette, Jason Jones

Jones and Crescendo’s executive producer Pattie Mallette (pop star Justin Beiber’s mother), who has a strikingly similar story to the woman portrayed in the movie and poignantly shares at the end of the film, have appeared on various media platforms sharing message behind the film including TODAY Show, CNN, Huckabee, SIRIUS XM, Entertainment Tonight, Wall Street Journal and more.

Get involved

To coincide with Crescendo‘s release, Movie to Movement launched The Love & Beauty Fund. The Love & Beauty Fund offers organizations the opportunity to screen Crescendo in their communities for a flat fee of $1,000. Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated and the remaining will go towards Movie to Movement, enabling them to make more influential films.

Based on a true story, Crescendo is set in the 18th century Holy Roman Empire where a series of events turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary experience for a woman whose life will never be the same. Written and directed by Alonso Alvarez, the film stars Ali Landry, Montserrat Espalde, Patrick Nuo, Jennifer Cadena.  With Eduardo Verastigui (Bella) serving as executive producer alongside New York Times bestselling author Pattie Mallette, the film was shot entirely on the Universal Studios back lot and has already seen success in the film festival circuit having received the Crystal Heart award at the 2011 Heartland Film festival and won top short film honors at the Hollywood Film Festival.

For more information Crescendo and screenings, click here.

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Crescendo

Legate Jason Jones hopes to change the world with his award-winning pro-life film . . . .

cover-feb13

Three years ago, a group of deeply convicted pro-lifers living in the heart of Hollywood took a major gamble. They decided to make a short film they hope will impact the culture worldwide with its pro-life message.

Their movie has already won 15 international film festival awards. Crescendo‘s tagline is: “Can you imagine doing something that changes the world?” And that’s exactly what Legate Jason Jones and his team hope to accomplish.

Shot in German with English subtitles, the 18th century tale revolves around a woman contemplating abortion. Her abusive, alcoholic husband is having an affair with a younger woman. The film builds to an astonishing climax, which leaves the viewer breathless by its conclusion. Crescendo is all the more powerful because it is the story of Ludwig van Beethoven’s mother.

True story

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CRESCENDO stars Colombian-born actress Montserrat Espadalé

Jones, who produced Crescendo, has put a lot of thought and effort into changing people’s minds and hearts about abortion. In 2006, he helped produce the surprise hit Bella, a pro-life movie which garnered a host of awards and made $10 million at the box office. The film is credited with saving the lives of at least 600 babies.

Since that time, Jones had been pondering the idea of making another pro-life film.

“We wanted to produce a film that could communicate to most people,” he explained. “It had to be cross-cultural so it could be shown all over the world, it had to be timeless, and it had to have the best production value. I recognized that if we didn’t have the best quality set, wardrobe or costumes, we would fail.”

Jones and his staff at I Am Whole Life, the pro-life organization he founded, brainstormed about what kind of film to make.

“Around that time, a young man named Alonso Alvarez, who had just dropped out of film school, came to us. He said, ‘I have an idea for a short film,’ and he pitched the story of Beethoven,” Jones explained. Recognizing that Beethoven was universally admired, Jones and his team set to work.

Short film genre

crescendomug2Crescendo is based on a true story,” said Josef Lipp, national director of Movie to Movement, Jones’ production company which made Crescendo. “It’s based on the diaries of Beethoven’s mother. In one part she contemplates suicide and abortion. And then she has a change of heart.”

Through hard work, determination and prayer, Jones and his team got two of Hollywood’s best set designers and constructors to work on the film at cost.

Jones opted to make a short film rather than a full-length feature because of Eduardo Verástegui’s experience with the 2009 film The Butterfly Circus. Verástegui, who starred in Bella, also helped produce Crescendo. The Butterfly Circus, a 20-minute film, won seven film festival awards and was seen by over 20 million people around the world on the Internet.

“As well as Bella did, more people around the world were able to see The Butterfly Circus because it was short and could be placed on YouTube,” Jones explained.

A short film also means that a pro-life message can be cemented with the audience in a shorter amount of time.

Crescendo won the Hollywood Film Festival in October, and the response from the secular audience was over the top,” said Jones. “You should have heard the applause!”

Launch

Jones says Crescendo’s public launch is one of the project’s most exciting aspects. He plans to have the film debut in 1,000 theaters across the country on Feb. 28. Movie to Movement is orchestrating the launch event with Heartbeat International, the world’s largest network of pregnancy help ministries. Each viewing event will be an opportunity for local crisis pregnancy centers to raise money for its work.

“If each event raises $10,000 dollars, we can raise $10 million for crisis pregnancy centers in one night,” said Jones.

Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International and a member of Legatus’ Board of Governors, said she’s delighted to be working with Jones on the launch. Heartbeat has over 2,000 affiliated pregnancy care centers across the U.S.

“The model of renting movie theaters and fundraising has been done before,” Hartshorn said. “We did this with Bella and October Baby. But this is the first time that it’s been done across the country on the same day.”

At the end of the viewing, audiences see a short video presentation featuring Jones, Verástegui, and Pattie Mallette, mother of 18-year-old pop superstar Justin Bieber. Mallette, who became pregnant at 17, was pressured to have an abortion but refused. She will share her personal testimony and encourage viewers to donate to their local crisis pregnancy center.

One day after its national debut, Crescendo will premiere online. “We want millions of people to see this on YouTube within the first few weeks,” said Lipp. “We want it to go viral and take off.”

Results

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L-R: Eduardo Verastegui, Patti Mallette, Jason Jones

Jones admits that he’s nervous about the project.

“When Bella came out, the mass media strained to make us look like odd balls,” he said. “But I felt like after Bella, the pro-life movement began to walk with a swagger. My hope for Crescendo is to impact those with the pro-abortion ethic, and I hope it inspires pro-lifers to do the hard work they do with more confidence.”

When Jones reflects on his Catholic heroes, he draws on Blessed Pope John Paul II and St. Maximilian Kolbe.

“Pope John Paul II said that there is a limit placed on evil by Divine Mercy,” he explained. “It would have been hard for St. Maximilian Kolbe, stripped naked and starving to death at Auschwitz, to see that the Third Reich would disappear in a few short years. Similarly, it seems impossible for us now to see the culture of death crumble. My hope for this film is to help bring down the culture of death.”

During his early years of pro-life activism, Jones said he was frustrated for lack of progress.

“One day, I dropped down on my knees and began to pray. I said, ‘God, if we are going to end abortion, we need rich people, powerful people and famous people. We need Hollywood to step up.’”

Now, when Jones looks at everything that is happening in the pro-life movement, he said he feels like God is looking down at him and saying, “So, what do you want now, smart guy?”

Simple. Jones and his team want to change the world.

SABRINA ARENA FERRISI is Legatus magazine’s senior staff writer.

Learn more

Crescendo: Official Site

Movie to Movement

I Am Whole Life

From atheist to pro-life warrior

Jason Jones began his life as a militant anti-Catholic atheist.

“Shortly before my 17th birthday, I discovered that my high school girlfriend was pregnant,” he told Legatus magazine. “We decided that we would keep the pregnancy a secret until the sixth month.”

Jones opted to join the Army as part of his plan to take care of his baby. He said he will never forget the call he received from his girlfriend six months after conception. The girl’s father had discovered the pregnancy and forced her to have an abortion. The baby — whom they had already named Jessica — was no more.

Jones said he was revolted by the injustice.

“I didn’t know that abortion was legal,” said Jones. “And it was incomprehensible to me that someone could kill another human being.”

Jones promised his girlfriend that he would end abortion for Jessica. His anger and fury drove him for the next 15 years. From the age of 17, Jones worked as an atheist pro-life activist. Contact with Christian churches, studying political philosophy, the Bible, the Church Fathers and friendships with faithful Catholics chipped away at him until he finally realized he had to make a decision.

On Aug. 6, 2003, the Feast of the Transfiguration, Jones entered the Catholic Church.

“It was miraculous,” he said. “I had that burden lifted on the day of my baptism. All the anger went away.” The movie Crescendo is dedicated in loving memory of Jessica Jones.

-Sabrina Arena Ferrisi