Audience in tears at ‘Eternal Spring’ documentary premiere in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES—The award-winning documentary “Eternal Spring” premiered on June 15 at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, where audiences were moved to tears by the story of a peaceful and unwavering resistance to the crackdown on human freedom. expression by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). speech, assembly and belief.

Showing at Dances with Films, an annual independent film festival in Los Angeles, the Canadian documentary uses a novel combination of animation and in-person interviews to re-enact a 2002 incident where a group of people hijacked a state television in Changchun City to counter the CCP’s hate speech about its meditation practice, Falun Gong, which focuses on the values ​​of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.

An image from the movie “Eternal Spring”. (Courtesy of Lofty Sky Pictures)

Introduced to the public in 1992, Falun Gong was practiced by approximately 100 million people in China by the end of the decade. Feeling threatened by its popularity, the CCP launched a campaign of systematic elimination in 1999, resulting in millions being held in prisons, labor camps and other facilities and hundreds of thousands tortured while incarcerated, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

“I understood that it was sensitive. I understood there were risks,” the film’s director Jason Loftus shared with the audience after the screening. “When you encounter difficulties and you realize the pressure from China or the threats that you encounter, … and then you share your story with festivals, and you see how people react to that. It just makes me feel like it’s all worth it.

Epoch Times Photo
Jason Loftus, director of the award-winning documentary “Eternal Spring,” answers questions from the audience at the film’s Southern California premiere at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles on June 15, 2022. (Alice Sun/The Epoch Times)

Loftus said he heard about the story and the religious persecution from his colleague, Daxiong, a veteran Falun Gong practitioner from Changchun – where the story begins – and a comic book illustrator known for his work on graphic novels. , notably under the “Justice League”. and the “Star Wars” franchises.

During the process of making the film, Daxiong was able to trace the event as the lead animation artist, bringing the personal stories of the survivor interviewees to life.

“We saw his incredible illustrative ability and we have animation capabilities within our studio. We thought if we could use automation to bring his drawings to life,” Loftus told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
Artist Daxiong in an image from the documentary “Eternal Spring,” which tells the story of a group of Chinese expats who brought uncensored information to China and its aftermath. (Courtesy of Lofty Sky Pictures)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Lofty Sky Pictures)

It took Loftus six years to complete the documentary, not only due to the complexity of the animation making process, but also due to CCP interference. Meanwhile, his wife’s family in China was harassed by Party personnel, and her business partners in China were forced to cut ties with her company.

Audience members Wednesday night said the film shared an important message about human rights abuses in China.

Matthew Martinez, a Los Angeles resident invited by his friend to the festival, said he knew nothing about religious persecution in China, and the documentary took him to “a whole new level of [understanding of] human rights, the atrocities that are happening in the world.

“I loved it. I love the mix of animation and live action,” Martinez said. “I didn’t just feel lucky to be born here and live in a free country where I can say what I want, believe what I want. But I felt a huge sense of sadness for the Chinese people.

Epoch Times Photo
Audience members wait before the start of the Southern California premiere of the award-winning documentary “Eternal Spring” at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles, June 15, 2022. (Alice Sun/The Epoch Times)

Jeffrey Overbey, who heard about the premiere from The Epoch Times and NTD Television, said he really enjoyed seeing the film and would recommend everyone to see the documentary.

“It was extremely inspiring to understand what’s going on in China. I think it’s a way to get the message out to everyone around the world,” Overbey told The Epoch Times.

Robert Liu, a Falun Gong practitioner for over 25 years, praised the documentary for perfectly restoring the entirety of the incident and its aftermath.

Liu told The Epoch Times that he deeply resonated with the film, not only because he was from Changchun, but also because he had previously been held in a prison with the mastermind behind the broadcast interruption. , Zhenxing Liang, whom he described as “a faithful man with great strength”. .”

Epoch Times Photo
A still from the movie “Eternal Spring,” which tells the story of 18 Falun Gong practitioners who tuned into Changchun City’s state-controlled cable television to broadcast information to counter the propaganda of the Chinese communist regime against spiritual practice. (Courtesy of Lofty Sky Pictures)

Liu said he was shocked when he learned how fellow television hijacking team member Chengjun Liu was persecuted to death in 2003, but it also strengthened his resolve to tell people the truth.

“At that time, I really wanted the world to know what Falun Gong is. I said to myself: ‘What they haven’t finished, we will finish’. We will do our best to do what they couldn’t do,” he said.

“Eternal Spring” has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, including Movies That Matter in the Netherlands, Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece, and Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto. For more information on future screening times, visit eternalspringfilm.com

Alice Sun

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