Speaker McCarthy to Host Bipartisan ‘Sound of Freedom’ Screening at Capitol

Speaker McCarthy to Host Bipartisan ‘Sound of Freedom’ Screening at Capitol
Image from the "Sound of Freedom" movie, starring Jim Caviezel, to be released nationwide on July 4, 2023. (Courtesy Angel Studios)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will host a screening of “Sound of Freedom,” a film about a human trafficking rescue operation, on Capitol Hill for members of Congress.

Scheduled for July 25, the screening will also be attended by Jim Caviezel, the movie’s starring actor, and Operation Underground Railroad’s Tim Ballard, who inspired the film.

An invitation for the event circulating on Twitter revealed that the screening will be prefaced by a reception with the film’s cast and crew and a conversation between Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Caviezel, and Mr. Ballard.

The screening will be the second bipartisan movie night hosted by Mr. McCarthy since he assumed the House speakership in January, his office said. The first was a showing of “Lincoln” earlier in the week.

“As part of his promise to reopen the People’s House, Speaker McCarthy has invited members from both sides of the aisle to attend a screening of ‘Sound of Freedom,’ a movie focused on the bipartisan issue of ending child trafficking,” Chad Gilmartin, deputy spokesman for the speaker, told The Epoch Times.

“The Speaker hopes that events like these will allow members to engage with one another on a personal level and build greater relationships within Congress.”

Unlikely Success

Released by Angel Studios, the company behind the crowdfunded hit TV series “The Chosen,” “Sound of Freedom” has likewise seen great success since its July 4 release.

The movie follows Mr. Caviezel, who portrays Mr. Ballard, on a mission through the Colombian jungle to rescue a little girl kidnapped by child traffickers. Although the story is fictional, it is loosely based on Mr. Ballard’s real-life efforts to save children from the human trafficking industry, first as an agent for the Department of Homeland Security and now with Operation Underground Railroad.

In its opening weekend, “Sound of Freedom” shocked critics by raking in more than $14.2 million, beating out the fifth installment in the popular Indiana Jones franchise, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” at the domestic box office.

Currently ranked No. 2 in the country, the indie film has grossed more than $101 million despite its meager $14 million budget and numerous hurdles that delayed its release by five years.

When the film wrapped production in 2018, 21st Century Fox held the rights. But when Disney acquired the company in 2019, it shelved “Sound of Freedom” and refused to give back the rights to the film’s producer, Eduardo Verastegui, without payment.

In a recent interview with Breitbart, Mr. Verastegui recounted how, after completing the lengthy negotiations with Disney, he offered the film to Amazon, Netflix, and other studios, but none showed any interest.

Desperate for the movie to reach audiences, he said a prayer, asking God to “send some angels to rescue this video.”

Then Angel Studios entered the picture.

Through its unique crowdfunding model, Angel Studios helped to secure the film’s Independence Day release—a date chosen to “shake the conscience” of Americans to “bring freedom back to those children that are not free.”

“God’s children are not for sale,” Mr. Verastegui told the outlet. “If God is with us, who can be against us?”


While the film has received praise from many for exposing the dark realities of child trafficking, some in the media have sought to discredit it.

For instance, while acknowledging that “Sound of Freedom” is “not about conspiracy theories,” a recent CNN report characterized the film as “Q-Anon adjacent,” holding that Mr. Caviezel, a practicing Christian, has “often shared views similar to those of conspiracy theorists.”

Other media outlets have echoed CNN’s messaging, criticizing the film over Mr. Caviezel’s personal beliefs and opinions.

Responding to that criticism on an episode of “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast, the actor noted that he didn’t know about Q-Anon or any associated theories when he filmed the movie five years ago.

“It has nothing to do with our film,” he said. “But it’s really interesting that they pointed to this immediately and said, ‘That guy is one of them. He’s bad.’”

Despite the continued attacks, former President Donald Trump hosted his own screening of “Sound of Freedom” at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club on July 19. Among the attendees were some of the presidential candidate’s most ardent supporters, including his daughter and son-in-law Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, and former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

“I hope you enjoyed it,” Mr. Trump said after the movie. “It’s something I’m not sure if you’re supposed to enjoy or learn—it’s a combination. But that was a great movie. Now I understand why it’s doing so well.”

Calling the movie an “incredible inspiration,” he also praised Mr. Caviezel, telling him it was an honor to get to know him.

And the feeling appears to be mutual, as on July 21, the actor shared a message of thanks for the former president’s support via Truth Social.

“Mr. President @realDonaldTrump, @SoundofFreedomMovie really jumped in Box Office Numbers after we visited you at Bedminster the other night,” he wrote. “We are gonna have an incredible weekend because of you Sir!”

Carly Mayberry contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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