Tim Ballard, of Sound of Freedom fame, found himself facing a smear on his character last week. When that happened, the legacy media couldn’t get enough of the charges against him. The press lavished almost as much attention on contributor Fabian Marta when someone charged him with kidnapping a child. But two days ago a grand jury, hearing his case, returned no bill of indictment. And the press said nothing – not even to correct their earlier error in inflating his role in the production.
How is Sound of Freedom performing?
The two major box-office trackers, TheNumbers.com and Box Office Mojo, have said nothing about Sound of Freedom since September 12. Even then the numbers were impressive: $183 million domestic and $27.5 million international. This on a film that cost a mere $14.5 million to make and $5.5 million to bring to market!
Angel Studios is still tracking ticket sales. At last report Sound of Freedom has sold just under 22.3 million tickets worldwide. It is a heavy favorite in Brazil and Mexico – and is doing so well in that country that Producer Eduardo Verástegui has registered to gather ballot-access signatures to run for President of Mexico.
None of this attracts any notice outside the Christian community and the alternative media. Nor have the high averages of audience and even critical reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. The legacy media would just as soon forget Sound of Freedom – perhaps because its subject matter strikes close to home.
CNAV, of course, reviewed it here. Bradlee Dean noted the tremendous obstacles that plagued both its production and its distribution. Bloomberg assigned a known “pedophile normalizer” to review it; naturally, he panned it. (The Walt Disney Company, after buying its first contracted distributor, shelved it, until Angel Studios bought the distribution rights.) Yet it has done so well that it could have a sequel.
How does Angel Studios finance production or distribution?
To understand the frankly silly drama surrounding Fabian Marta and his true role, one must first understand the Angel Guild. Angel Studios established this Guild as a referendum on new projects, and those who develop them. Angel Studios will not work with just any Hollywood producer or director. The Angel Guild first evaluates a prospective director, producer, or writer as to whether he meets its professional and moral standards. Guild-approved filmmakers then produce concept videos, and Guild members vote on those.
After that, the project goes to another operation, Angel Funding. This is where individuals can invest in various projects at various stages. One of the perquisites due an investor is a credits listing, slightly more prestigious than a “Special Thanks” listing. An investor can even look forward to payback if the project succeeds. Angel Studios explained this in a press release during the drama that follows.
Sound of Freedom went to Angel Funding to fund its marketing campaign. Angel Funding successfully repaid all its investors – at a 20 percent rate of return.
Fabian Marta, at the center of this drama, was an Angel Funding investor in Sound of Freedom.
The saga of Fabian Marta
The Liberty Minds brought out their latest summary of Fabian Marta’s case yesterday. On August 4, BroBible first reported Marta’s arrest on two charges of child kidnapping. Reporter Eric Italiano made much of the terminology Marta used, including the phrase angel investor. By every indication, Mr. Italiano simply did not know what he was talking about. Angel investor is the term the Angel Funding operation uses to describe those who back Angel Studios projects. From this report one can discern that Angel Funding provided the funds to buy the distribution rights for Sound of Freedom from Disney, and then to finance its initial July 4 release.
The Missouri Courts site refers to State v. Fabian Marta, case number 2322-CR01608. St. Louis police arrested him on July 21 (two and a half weeks after the film’s release). They filed their charges two days later.
But this thread from the notorious leftist “Jim Stewartson, Anti-disinfo Activist,” might have been the provocation for that arrest.
In fact he targeted Sound of Freedom even before its release, calling it a weapon of psychological warfare. This one post should suffice to illustrate his attitude.
CNAV has checked into the allegations in the thread. Jim Stewartson is the only source for the “Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby” story. Jessica Clark does exist – but little else Stewartson says, does.
This, then, is BroBible’s source. Whether he was the St. Louis Police Department’s source, is not clear.
From arrest to debunking
On August 4, the X account “Discussing Film” made this post.
Pay attention to the Community Notes that someone else added to the post. First, this person clarified the terminology with which BroBible and Discussing Films played so fast and loose. Second, they left this link to the real story, on Station KMOV-TV (Channel 4, CBS, St. Louis). According to that report, Fabian Marta did not actually lay a hand on the two children involved. A mother took her two children away from their “lawful parent” in a custody dispute. She happened to be staying in a property Marta owned, in exchange for her help in fixing up some of his other properties. The police charged him with refusing access to the mother’s rooms and “impeding the investigation.”
Likely translation: he insisted that no one enter those rooms, even under color of law, without a search warrant.
Three weeks and three days later, Marta appeared with the mother outside a St. Louis courthouse. He dropped this video that totally changed the complexion of the cases. Note carefully: the State never charged the mother with kidnapping. In fact, Marta and the woman involved both said the charges arose out of a “fake call.” Thus they charged misprision of a felony, and said that was what started all the trouble. Marta expected to be back in court on October 5 for the next step.
Sound of Freedom vindicated
But he might not have to keep that court date at all. On Monday (September 25), Fabian Marta proudly left this post, embedding a photo of the final disposition of his case.
Final, because the Grand Jury did not return a true bill of indictment. Jack Posobiec also passed along this link in The Post Millennial.
(The Latin phrase nolle prosequi in the Memorandum literally means “I do not prosecute” and uses a very strong negative. Nolle means null.)
Another X user left this post that referred to an article in Rolling Stone, also from August 4. They said Sound of Freedom moviegoers “shrugged off” the story of Marta’s arrest.
The phenomenal box-office success of Sound of Freedom suggests that this false police drama did not impede that success. But how many friendships ended, and how many families broke up, from differences of opinion about Marta’s guilt or innocence? Jim Stewartson has his imitators, not only in politics and legacy media but also in families and other social settings.
Furthermore, what happened to Fabian Marta could happen to anyone. Invest $500 in a film telling a story we need to hear – and get set up for railroading on a bum rap. Tell your story to a talented motion picture production crew – and that goes double. Especially if you run for the Senate.
But the flip side also applies. The legacy media cried “Wolf!” to distract from another, more dangerous class of wolves. And they have failed.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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