At the 2013 Hollywood Music in Media Awards, “The Courage to Believe,” theme song for Free China, won the Music in Visual Media Award for Best Song for Indie Film, Documentary, or Short.
The Free China documentary delivers a first-hand view of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
“This is a special award with no competitors, ladies and gentlemen,” said host Adam Gaynor during the sixth annual awards ceremony. “In this original song category, the independent producer winner is documentary Free China. The theme song is “The Courage to Believe,” composer Tony Chen and singer Q’orianka Kilcher.”
“I am so excited as an artist,” said actress and singer Q’orianka Kilcher, expressing her passion for the film upon receiving the award. “I feel we have great responsibility to shed light on important issues happening in the world.” Kilcher played Pocahontas in Terrence Malick’s The New World opposite Christian Bale.
Kilcher then challenged the audience: “All of these artists tonight, whether they be involved in music or films, I really believe that film and music and being an artist—you have the capability to bring important stories to life and help change the world little by little by informing people, because knowledge is power.”
Regarding receiving the award, Kilcher said, “It’s my first music award … and I’m so happy for the entire Free China team because they were so dedicated, worked so hard, and it’s really, really beautiful to see this film take off and spread its wings to fly. I hope more people will be watching it and also getting its sound track.”
“It’s really a great honor to win this award and to be recognized by Hollywood Music in Media Awards for this really important message,” said the film’s producer Kean Wong. “I really want to thank all those involved: Tony Chen for composing the music; Michael Perlman who wrote the lyrics with me and co-produced this song with Tony and me also; and of course Q’orianka Kilcher for lending her Hollywood celebrity status.”
“She put her whole heart and soul into this to help support our cause,” added Wong, speaking of Kilcher.
The two people featured in the documentary, who were innocent prisoners in China’s “laogai” system (meaning “reform through labor”), were warmly acknowledged.
“Thank you Jennifer Zeng and Dr. Charles Lee for sharing their incredible stories,” said Wong. “Without them, we would have had less of a chance to shed light into the tens of millions Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted in China today.”
Musician Tony Chen said of his work with the team, “They were the source of my inspiration—their experiences inside the slave labor camps truly touched me. I actually composed my music more vividly, expressing it from another perspective.”
“It’s a great honor,” he added.
Chen then raised his voice and said, “I want to tell you: Music can save lives!”
Free China, produced by Wong (NTD Television) and directed by Michael Perlman (World2Be Productions), is the story of a former Communist Party member, Jennifer Zeng, who became a Falun Gong practitioner.
Zeng lived through the horrors of China’s laogai system. After escaping from China, she felt that the world should know the truth, and she eventually published her memoir, Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom, which became a best-seller.
The other lead figure in the film is Chinese-American doctor Charles Li, who attempted to broadcast uncensored information on Chinese state-run television. Li and Zeng’s profound experiences reveal the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal persecution of Falun Gong, including the evils of the systematic organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners.
Kilcher was also nominated for best female vocals, and Chen was also nominated for best composer for the contemporary orchestra category.
Free China, the theatrical release of which was in June 2013, has altogether won six film and music festival awards.
To watch “The Courage to Believe” music video, please visit: www.FreeChinaSong.com
For more information about the film Free China, please visit: www.FreeChinaMovie.com