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In ‘Silver Screen Dreams’, a Strong Message of Perseverance and Forgiveness

Vision Times Staff
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Published: October 6, 2022
Actress Alyssa Zheng (3rd from right) poses with cast and production staff from 'Silver Screen Dreams' in Middletown, NY, on Oct. 2, 2022. (Image: Courtesy of New Century Films)

MIDDLETOWN, NY — The award-winning independent film Silver Screen Dreams is on until Wednesday, Oct. 12 at Middletown Cinemas after a successful screening on the weekend of Oct. 1-2. 

Set in modern China’s entertainment industry, Silver Screen Dreams follows the story of a rising young star (Leah Feng) who is cheated out of her role by a well-connected rival, and in her anguish suffers a career-ending tragedy. 

A generation later, she comes across the spiritual practice of Falun Dafa. Despite its being subject to severe persecution by the communist authorities, she dedicates herself to cultivation in the faith’s mind-body discipline. 

Falun Dafa not only grants her miraculous delivery from her years of torment, but also equips her with the courage to face those who once wronged her — this time not with resentment, but openness and compassion. 

Silver Screen Dreams resonated with audiences, who appreciated its powerful message delivered in a strong performance from the female leads. 

Cast and production staff of Silver Screen Dreams pose with audience members at the film’s Middletown screening on Oct. 1. (Image: Vision Times)

Produced by the Canada-based New Century Films, the movie debuted on Sept. 9 in Los Angeles. Before its release, Silver Screen Dreams won 12 film festival awards and nominations. These included the Best Female Lead Honorable Mention award and the Best Actress award from the American Golden Picture International Film Festival and the Canada Alternative Film Festival for the female leads Leah Feng and Alyssa Zheng, respectively. 

Values that ‘we very much need’

Veteran actor and director David Patrick Wilson, who attended the NY premiere on Saturday, applauded the “love, cooperation, trust, compassion, honesty, and truth” that he saw portrayed in the film. “The story, to me, had real resonance,” he told reporters at the screening. 

“All of those values are what we very much need in the film industry all over the world,” Wilson added in his comments. “I was very taken by this film, it’s really a surprise to me. 

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Veteran actor and director David Patrick Wilson (second from left), poses for a photo with Silver Screen Dream cast members Yan Li (left) and Alyssa Zheng (right). (Image: Courtesy of New Century Films)

Zhang Tianliang, a professor of Chinese history at Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, said the film reminded him of the way the Buddhist faith was originally popularized in ancient China through music and visual arts.

“Today we see the same with Falun Dafa, how its values of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance are displayed through the arts,” he said at the Oct. 1 screening. 

Alyssa Zheng, who starred alongside Feng, described the emotional impact the film’s message and context had on her in an episode of YouTube channel The Stories of Life. 

Zheng, who grew up in China and was trained as an actress, shared with hostess Xinyu in the March 16 interview her experiences with the entertainment industry in her native country.

“I thought it would be great,” she said of her career. After she finished college and found a company, she thought “I was bound to have some good opportunities and roles.” But she found that actresses were often pressured to compromise their dignity in exchange for favor. “Nearly every day I was taken to various venues to meet with some investors or some directors …”

Zheng said that her faith in Falun Dafa, which her mother introduced to her when she was a girl, allowed her to stay clear about her values in her profession. 

“It seem[ed] vulgar,” Zheng continued, describing how she eventually quit her line of work to become a teacher. “When someone asked me, I didn’t want to tell him I was an actress,” she recalled. 

In Silver Screen Dreams, Zheng portrays a character in a position similar to what she may have experienced in real life, which made the message all the more impactful for her, she said at the film’s Los Angeles debut.  

“When the other female lead [portrayed by Leah Feng] said, ‘Let bygones be bygones,’ it was not with feelings of surrender, despair, or sorrow. Instead, it was joyous, benevolent, and hopeful, and it really demonstrates one of the manifestations of compassion—forgiveness,” she said. 

Silver Screen Dreams is screening in Middletown, NY from Oct. 5 to Oct. 12, and on the weekend of Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 at Kent Theater in BrooklynMandarin Chinese with English subtitles.