The story of a little girl who is determined to use the magic of art to bring her mother back to life after she was killed for her faith in Communist China, swept the animation category at the 2021 Leo Awards, which recognize excellence in British Columbia’s film and television industry.
“Rag Doll,” a stop-motion animation short film that highlights the plight of Chinese orphans suffering under persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), won Best Program, Best Direction, Best Art Direction, and Best Screenwriting in the Animation Program category at the awards ceremony, held virtually on July 7.
Four years in the making, the film tells the story of Yingying, a 5-year-old girl whose mother was killed in the CCP’s long-running persecution campaign against Falun Dafa adherents, leaving her alone on the streets of Northern China, using and creating art, one of the gifts her mother left her, to survive.
“The film is inspired by a true story,” said director Leon Lee in his acceptance speech. The Vancouver-based filmmaker also won the prestigious Peabody Award in 2014 for his documentary “Human Harvest” about China’s illegal organ harvesting industry. His company Flying Cloud Productions focuses on making films exposing China’s crimes against humanity.
The harrowing story of Luna Huang is what compelled Lee to create the film. Huang’s mother, Luo Zhixiang, was tortured to death while three months pregnant in 2003 in the brutal persecution of Falun Dafa adherents, launched by the CCP in 1999 and continuing today.
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a traditional Chinese self-improvement discipline that consists of five meditative exercises along with moral teachings centred on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. Then-CCP head Jiang Zemin ordered for the eradication of the practice after the number of its adherents surpassed the membership of the Party, claiming it was “a threat to the country’s stability.”
BY ISAAC TEO