HomeEntertainment'Sound of Freedom' director 'heartbroken' by film controversy, strongly denies QAnon ties

‘Sound of Freedom’ director ‘heartbroken’ by film controversy, strongly denies QAnon ties

Sound of freedom writer-director Alejandro Monteverde has largely stayed out of the public eye, as his child trafficking thriller has become the biggest sleeper hit of 2023, sparking some controversy along the way.

However, in a number of high-profile stories published Monday, Monteverde breaks his silence — strongly condemning the staunch political divisions and alleged QAnon ties that have followed the movie on its way to a whopping $172 million at the box office. (The Angel Studios release is currently the 10th highest-grossing film of 2023 domestically.)

“If there’s one issue that unites everyone, it’s ending child trafficking,” Monteverde and co-author Rod Barr said in an editorial in The Hollywood Reporter. “Child trafficking is not a conservative or liberal problem. It is a fundamental human rights problem, one that touches our very core as human beings.”

In an interview with Variety, 46-year-old Mexican-born Monteverde said he began writing the film, which follows ex-U.S. government agent Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel) on a mission to rescue children from a sex trafficking ring in South America. America. , in 2015. That was two years before the launch of QAnon, the controversial far-right political movement that alleges Satan-worshiping world elites run the world and are involved in a global child trafficking ring.

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But because of the film’s plot and various comments and appearances by conservative star Caviezel (The passion of Christ) and the real life cop turned activist he plays, Tim Ballard, Sound of freedom has been towed as a “QAnon-tinged” thriller (or worse) by outlets like Rolling Stone.

“The film has been falsely associated with certain extreme conspiracy theories. We wrote the film in 2015 and shot it in 2018, long before anyone involved had ever heard of such theories,” Monteverde and Ballard wrote in The Hollywood Reporter. “We took our inspiration from actual events, many of which were reported by the major media at the time.”

The film became an even more high-profile lightning rod when former President Donald Trump hosted a private screening of the film at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in July.

Liberal media like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood reporter have declined to review the film,” Trump said in a statement announcing the screening. ‘While publications such as Rolling stone, Washington PostCNN and the Guardian have thrown the film away and made fun of the millions of moviegoers who bought tickets for screenings.”

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Both Caviezel and Ballard attended Trump’s screening, but not Monteverde. “There are people who are too close to the movie who are in politics,” the director tells Variety. “So it’s like I love you, but I have to keep my distance.”

The film has also been widely described as a Christian or “faith-based film,” another label Monteverde rejects.

“I believe labels like ‘faith-based’ exclude people, and my intention as a filmmaker is never to exclude everyone, but to include everyone, all audiences,” he told Variety. “We made Sound of freedom for believers, people without faith and everyone in between.”

Manny Perez and Cristal Aparicio in Sound of freedom. (Angel Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection)

When asked about the negative press the film has received, Monteverde says it has made him sick.

“I was like, ‘This is all wrong. That’s not true,'” he said. “It was heartbreaking to see all this polemic and all this controversy. My instinct was to run. I want to hide. I don’t want to give interviews anymore… Look, when you hire people, what do they do on the free time is not under my control. I was a director. I wrote the screenplay. I hired the actor I thought was the best for this film. The subject matter was very personal to him. [Caviezel] adopted three children from China. When we met and discussed the project, he burst into tears. And I thought, ‘Wow, this guy will be willing to die on set.’ And that’s what you want, you know? You want someone who works for you. And he dove in.”

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The movie took another hit in the media when Newsweek reported on August 4 that one of the financiers, Fabian Marta, had been arrested for child abduction. (Monteverde did not address the arrest in his media rounds Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.)

However, Monteverde referenced another Newsweek article, which – contrary to the popular media narrative – says the film is registering with both Republican and Democratic viewers.

“We made Sound of freedom in a sincere effort to unite people around a fundamental human rights issue,” Monteverde and Barr wrote in The Hollywood Reporter. “No advocacy group owns the issue of human trafficking. We all own it, because it happens in the world we all share.”

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