Peabody Award-winning director Leon Lee’s latest documentary, Avenues of Escape, follows three incredible women’s journey as they escape political persecution in China.
A synopsis of the film:
During the decades long crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners in China, which claimed thousands of victims, the lives of three women intertwine as they embark on a dangerous journey to find freedom. Armed with only a road map and a desire for justice, they must rely on their wits, courage, and the compassion of strangers, to escape imprisonment and navigate a treacherous passageway out of communist China. Staying behind means certain death, but the road ahead holds no guarantees.
The film is composed of interviews from the three women and re-enactments of their monumental journey of escape. Crystal Chen, Tian Jing, and Cai Jing are the women whose powerful journey is documented.
Crystal was an actress in two popular Chinese television shows, and her escape eventually saved the lives of over 1,000 Falun Gong practitioners.
Tian was the first Falun Gong practitioner to bravely raise a protest banner in Tiananmen Square. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made an example of her arrest, with harsh penalties imposed upon both her and her her family. She was among the first practitioners in China to be sentenced to prison.
Cai is Tian’s younger sister. She specialized in Chinese history and worked in a bookstore before her escape. The two sisters now live in Vancouver, Canada where they are both actively involved in the human rights movement.
Once she made it safely to America, Crystal worked for Human Rights in China, a NGO composed of Chinese scholars and activists. She now works for a Chinese media organiztion in New York City and is a vocal member of the Falun Gong community.
Put yourself in Tian’s shoes and experience what life was like for her in a labor camp by exploring the interactive section of the film’s website:
The film’s director, Leon Lee, won a Peabody award for his 2014 documentary film, Human Harvest. His narrative feature film, The Bleeding Edge, starring Miss World Canada’s Anastasia Lin, was shown in the British Parliament earlier this year and is currently doing the rounds at film festivals.
For more information on the release and screenings of Leon Lee’s documentary, Avenues of Escape, please visit www.avenuesofescape.com.