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‘Rights of a Father’ highlights conversation of pro life/choice

Courtroom scenes at Historic Courthouse in Green Cove Springs

Posted 6/20/24

JACKSONVILLE — “Rights of a Father,” a film featuring a fictional court case set in Clay County and  filmed at the historic 1890 Clay County Courthouse , was premiered at the Ritz Theatre …

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‘Rights of a Father’ highlights conversation of pro life/choice

Courtroom scenes at Historic Courthouse in Green Cove Springs


Posted

JACKSONVILLE — “Rights of a Father,” a film featuring a fictional court case set in Clay County and filmed at the historic 1890 Clay County Courthouse, was premiered at the Ritz Theatre and Museum the evening of June 15, the night before Father’s Day.

The film's premise: Raymond is overjoyed when he finds out his fiancé, Rose, is pregnant, but, learning that she is reconsidering the pregnancy, he sues her to carry the unborn baby to term to save his child's life.  Raymond is played by Greg Blue and Rose is played by Darcy Stinnette. 

"I am very excited. This is my very first premier for really my first role. This is a very surreal feeling," Blue said, during the red-carpet event before the film. 

"It's going to be a really great night. I think people are going to leave satisfied, and it's going to prompt a lot of conversations. We're going to take you on a rollercoaster," Stinnette said. 

An enthusiastic audience arrived for the film’s premiere. Ticket holders were asked to wear a blue wristband to support Raymond or a pink wristband to support Rose. Actors, actresses and VIP ticketholders strutted down the red carpet to share their thoughts about the film, and which side they’d choose. One woman arrived wearing a bikini, her body glistening in gold body paint with the words “CHOICE” written above her navel — she wore a pink wristband on each hand.

Director Junior Ashwood stepped out onto the stage when the lights dimmed. He thanked everyone for coming and welcomed the audience to watch with an open mind, regardless of which wristband was being worn.  

“Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy this film,” he said.

“Rights of a Father” was able to portray the conflict impartially, which made each argument feel genuine, not preachy.  Ashwood courageously took a stab at one of the nation's most polarizing issues —especially regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 — by first putting it in personal terms, then putting it on "trial." The narrative builds up slowly to the courtroom battle to first establish the relationship between Raymond and Rose.

Ashwood was able to capture the small romantic gestures of domestic life, such as when Raymond tells an Uber driver, “She’s not allowed to open doors,” as he holds the car door open for her. The theme of the “door” is interwoven throughout the film such as when Raymond slams the door as he shuts himself in the bathroom, and when Rose, unable to communicate with Raymond, confronts him at work. She is only granted entry after a man pushes the button that opens the door, symbolizing how women’s voices are commonly shut out.

The cinematography was exceptional for a fully self-funded film, with many shots being a proud visual representation of the Jacksonville metropolitan area. While the sound quality is ambivalent for some courtroom scenes due to the aged acoustics of the 1890 courthouse, Drake Wells, played by George Smith, and Jordan Moss, played by Julie Jones, were able to give commendable performances as they argued each side of the "case." The characters felt real and also their points. 

The film's bombshell, unexpected ending left viewers stunned. The credits rolled and applause rumbled through the auditorium. 

"He sold it," said one viewer regarding Raymond. 

"He had it," another added. 

"They loved each other... but (Raymond) wanted to fight, so that put (Rose) in the position to do what she did."

The movie is slated for streaming services soon. For more information and for the full cast list, visit IMDb