‘Eternal Spring’ Selected as Canada’s Submission for the Oscars

‘Eternal Spring’ Selected as Canada’s Submission for the Oscars
A still from the film "Eternal Spring," which tells the story of a small group of Falun Dafa practitioners who tapped into Changchun City’s state-controlled cable television to broadcast information to counter the Chinese communist regime’s propaganda against the spiritual practice. (Courtesy of Lofty Sky Pictures)
Isaac Teo
Andrew Chen

“Eternal Spring,” a film about a daring operation by a group of Chinese citizens who brought uncensored news to China, has been selected as Canada’s submission to the upcoming Oscars as a contender for nomination in the International Feature Film category.

“It is with great enthusiasm that we announce that Eternal Spring (長春) was selected from among 16 films submitted to the pan-Canadian selection committee for having the best chance of positioning itself well in the multi-stage Oscar race,” Christa Dickenson, executive director and CEO of Telefilm Canada, said in a statement.

“Eternal Spring,” directed by Jason Loftus, is an animated documentary that looks at the 2002 circumvention of a Chinese state television station. The story and animation were drawn from acclaimed Chinese artist Daxiong, who endeavoured to piece together the events that occurred 20 years ago in his homeland, where he and his fellow practitioners of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa became targets of a persecution campaign by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) starting in 1999.

“Being nominated to represent Canada for Best International Film at the 95th Academy Awards is an immense honour,” Loftus told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

“Through Daxiong’s story and art, as well as the talent of our Quebec-based animation team, we hope this universal tale of courage in the face of injustice and repression resonates worldwide.”

The documentary is based on the stories of 18 Falun Dafa practitioners who tapped into a state cable television broadcast network on March 5, 2002, in Changchun city, in China’s northeastern Jilin Province. Programs of “Self-immolation or Hoax?” and “Falun Dafa Spreads Worldwide” were broadcast on eight channels simultaneously for about 45 minutes as a result.

Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a spiritual meditation discipline based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. The practice enjoyed immense popularity in China after it was first publicly introduced in 1992, with government statistics showing that between 70 million to 100 million people considered themselves adherents of the discipline in the 1990s.

However, this popularity was seen as a threat by the CCP, which launched a campaign of persecution against the practice in July 1999. Since then, many adherents have been sent to labour camps, many have died under torture, and many have lost their jobs and had their families destroyed due to the persecution.

The CCP has also directed a great propaganda effort against the practice in an effort to slander it, including staging a self-immolation incident to falsely claim it was a Falun Dafa adherent committing suicide.

The operation by the brave citizens depicted in the film was meant to clarify the falsehoods about their practice.

“Eternal Spring” has won a number of awards, including at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, the Movies That Matter in the Netherlands, and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece.

The Oscars is scheduled to be held on March 12, 2023.