China’s Leap of Faith hits front page

China’s Leap Of Faith hits the front page. Cogent/Benger’s new two-part exploration of the phenomenal religious comeback in China attracts media attention prior to airing on VisionTV. English and Chinese language news outlets pick up on the pre-Olympics treatment of one of China’s most sensitive topics.

A Globe & Mail review states, “It was a difficult odyssey for a team of Canadian filmmakers to shoot a documentary on religion in China because both the press and religion are sensitive issues in the Middle Kingdom. But at a time when the Holy See and Tibet are entering a moment critical to their relations with Beijing, and to the freedom of religion for millions of Catholic and Buddhist faithful, this documentary is sorely needed.”

AOL Canada says, ‘The current religious fervour in China is comparable to the revolutionary energy of the United States in the 1960s, but multiplied by thousands. And rather than rallies, tie-dye, and bra burning, the Chinese are clutching their Bibles and building temples. After more than 30 years of an oppressive Communist hold, China as a whole is finally embracing religious freedom. VisionTV’s new two-part documentary, China’s Leap of Faith, co-directed by Christopher Sumpton of Toronto producer Cogent/Benger Productions, dives head-first into the issue, and into the country that has kept its private affairs a secret for so long. In the film, we travel to China and witness peasants, city workers, and elite folk alike heading off to church and holding private praying sessions in their kitchen. Their closed eyes and clasped hands display an ardour previously suppressed.

From a Globe & Mail Review section feature: Ahead of the Beijing Olympics, China’s proclaimed openness to foreign media is being sorely tested, as a Canadian documentary film crew found in the heart of Hebei province. It happened when the filmmakers were interviewing a priest on camera. As he answered their questions about the state of religious freedom in China, Father Lu Zhi Zong, a priest in the Catholic enclave of Donglu, a village 150 kilometres south of Beijing, kept glancing over at three local authorities who were monitoring his every word. Authorities keep close tabs on Father Lu because his village is a major pilgrimage site, given its shrine to the Virgin Mary. The site, honouring an apparition of Mary that was reported in 1900, annually drew huge crowds of pilgrims before a mid-1990s crackdown by authorities. During the interview, the officials videotaped the priest behind the back of Canadian filmmaker Diana Xiaoping Dai. “When I did the interview, I noticed that Father Lu was very nervous. He answered my questions, but I could tell he was nervous,” she said. “Honestly, if I knew they were filming him, I would probably have asked less tough questions.”

China’s Leap of Faith can be seen July 22 and 23rd on VisionTV.

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