A powerful documentary by Leon Lee, Avenues of Escape has just won 4 awards at the 2017 Leo Awards. The documentary is about three female Falun Dafa practitioners who escape spiritual persecution in China by crossing a jungle to find freedom in North America.
It won Best Program, Best Director, Best Screenwriting, and Best Score. A Chinese-born Canadian film director, Leon Lee is best known for his 2014 Peabody Award-winning documentary Human Harvest — a film about forced organ harvesting in China.
The Westender reported on a statement Leon Lee made during his second acceptance speech at the Leo Awards in Vancouver:
“If I were to make a film like this in China, I would not be expecting an award.”
The Leo Awards are a project of the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia, celebrating excellence in film and television since 1999.
— Westender (@WestenderVan) June 5, 2017
Synopsis for Avenues of Escape:
“Betrayed by their nation, persecuted for their beliefs, an impossible escape was their only option.
“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 Avenues of Escape website has an incredible interactive experience you can take that is based on the true story of Tian Jing — one of the ladies the documentary focuses on. It gives you an understanding of what it is like for the thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners who get sent to these “re-education through labor” camps where they are subject to torture and abuse.
Watch the trailer and rent the whole award-winning documentary from Vimeo on Demand: