• Jessica Kneipp

    Jessica writes about films, and occasionally gets to direct them. Music, photography, art, poetry, reading and travel are pretty good too. She has a love of silent films, they are the closest she will ever get to "time travel."

Award-Winning Short Film ‘Ravage’ Reveals Real-Life Horror in China


Ravage is a visceral and hard-hitting short film by Peabody Award-winning director Leon Lee and stars human rights advocate, actress, and Canadian beauty pageant titleholder Anastasia Lin.

The film is just over 7 minutes in length and has all the settings of a psychological horror story as we enter the psyche of a victim of torture.

The sad truth, which is revealed later in the film, is that it is based on true events. It is the story of state-sanctioned organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China for profit.

The backstory for Ravage from the Films for Freedom website:

The Psyche of a woman tortured for her belief played by actress Anastasia Lin. (Image via Films For Freedom YouTube/Screenshot)
The psyche of a woman tortured for her beliefs portrayed by actress Anastasia Lin. (Image: via Films for Freedom YouTube / Screenshot)

‘Ravage’ is not for the faint-hearted

This film is not for the faint-hearted, even though it was toned down compared to accounts of true-life events. Probably the most chilling moment in the film was at the end. As the credits roll, we hear the voice of a guard as he gives his account. The energy in his voice hits you hard and is something that an actor could never re-create. But it is also a great act of courage for him to speak out about this event.

Her organs are harvested in the film Ravage.
Her organs are harvested. (Image: via Films for Freedom YouTube / Screenshot)

Anastasia Lin’s performance is powerful and emotive. We see her faced with the challenge of being persuaded to give up her belief as the film depicts her mental state inside a red room. As she struggles with the physical and mental pain, she endures by telling herself to “stay strong.”

One of the most tender moments is when she looks at a photo of her daughter and tells her through her tears: “Mommy loves you, be good and happy,” and: “Mommy tried to hold on for you.” This is intercut with a blade that cuts through the red room. The light is flickering and as an audience, we can only guess these were the final moments of her life.

Memories of the daughter she loves so dear continue to appear in the persecuted ladies mind.  (Image via Films For Freedom YouTube/Screenshot)
Memories of the daughter she loves so dearly continue to appear in the persecuted woman’s mind. (Image: via Films for Freedom YouTube / Screenshot)

The film then takes an unexpected turn, where the red room seems to fall into another space after doctors cut their way in, step inside, and put Anastasia on her bed. We are then in a hospital with a patient who has just received a heart transplant. We follow the doctors who harvested the organ as they give friendly waves to the unsuspecting patients and exit into an elevator.

The film takes us to unsuspecting patients in a hospital. (Image via Films For Freedom YouTube/Screenshot)
The film takes us to unsuspecting patients in a hospital receiving organ transplants. (Image: via Films for Freedom YouTube / Screenshot)

The film was released last week on the Films for Freedom website. It’s an informative site where you can watch more short films that focus on human rights and find out all the facts behind them.

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Short Film ‘Split by the State’ Documents a Powerful Letter to Malcolm Turnbull

'Split by the State' — A Short Film About a young mans wish to be re-united with his father who is being persecuted in China for practicing Falun Dafa. (Image via Alexander Vimeo / Screenshot)


Split by the State is a short film about a 17-year-old refugee boy living in Australia who becomes hopeful after learning Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will visit China.

He writes and hand delivers a powerful letter to him, sharing his story and pleading for the government to intervene in the case of his father — a man who is being wrongfully persecuted in China for practicing Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa.

Dear Malcolm Turnbull...(Image via Alexander Vimeo/Screenshot)
Dear Malcolm Turnbull… (Image: via Alexander Vimeo / Screenshot)

It has been 15 years since Eric last saw his father. He and his mother managed to escape China, but sadly his father was not so fortunate and has been brutally tortured in prison and sent to solitary confinement — not for committing any crimes — purely for wishing to have the freedom to believe in a spiritual practice the Chinese Communist Party persecutes.

A photo of Eric and his father when they were together in China. (Image via Alexander Vimeo/Screenshot)
A photo of Eric and his father when they were together in China. (Image: via Alexander Vimeo / Screenshot)

The Chinese regime confiscated his father’s passport to ensure he can’t reunite with his family now living in Australia. Eric hopes this letter will find its way to the Australian Prime Minister’s heart, and that his family will finally reunite.

Detail on car journey to Canberra - 'Falun Dafa is Good.' (Image via Alexander Vimeo/Screenshot)
Detail on car journey to Canberra — ‘Falun Dafa is Good.’ (Image via Alexander Vimeo / Screenshot)

Split by the State was written by Eric and based on his true-life story. It is just under 6 minutes and is shot as a documentary-style short film that follows his journey from Sydney to Canberra as he writes and delivers his letter.

Split by the State - A Short Film About a young mans wish to be re-united with his father who is being persecuted in China for practicing Falun Dafa. (Image via Alexander Vimeo/Screenshot)
Eric and his Mother wish they can one day be reunited with his father. (Image: via Alexander Vimeo / Screenshot)

Synopsis from Split by the State website:

Eric taking his letter addressed to Malcolm Turnbull to Parliament House in Canberra. (Image via Alexander Vimeo/Screenshot)
Eric taking his letter addressed to Malcolm Turnbull to Parliament House in Canberra. (Image: via Alexander Vimeo / Screenshot)

Split by the State is directed and produced by Gina Shakespeare, with cinematography by Alexander Nilsen, and music by A.Taylor and Tony Anderson. The film was shot in Sydney and Canberra, and uses archive footage of China.

Eric and his mother peacefully protesting with other Falun Dafa practitioners who wish to see an end to the persecution of Falun Dafa in China, signs are held outside Parliament house in Canberra. (Image via Alexander Vimeo/Screenshot)
Eric and his mother peacefully protesting outside Parliament House in Canberra with other Falun Gong practitioners who wish to see an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Image: via Alexander Vimeo / Screenshot)

Please watch the whole film, featured at the beginning of this article, to learn Eric’s story, and hear the powerful letter he wrote to Malcolm Turnbull.

If you have been touched by Eric’s story, please visit www.splitbythestate.org to learn more. Eric is now 19 years old and hasn’t given up trying to find a way to be reunited with his father. The latest news is that his father has been arrested again and is being held in a brainwashing center in China.

If you want to help, please Take Action: Sign the petition and share on social media.

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How Dystopias Act as Cautionary Tales

How to recognize a dystopia - Alex Gendler. (Image: TedED YouTube/Screenshot)

In this excellent Ted-Ed video that’s just under 6 minutes, Alex Gendler goes into how the genre of Dystopias emerged. He looks at how dystopian novels — such as Gulliver’s TravelsAnimal Farm, and Brave New World — don’t just come with warnings about governments and technology, the take-away message is that humanity cannot be molded into an exact shape.

Dystopias act as cautionary tales.
What does it take to create a perfect world? (Image: TedED YouTube / Screenshot)

Many people have imagined an ideal world without war, poverty, or crime. Writer Thomas Moore in 1516 gave this concept a name in his book called Utopia, which means in Greek: no place.

The name suggests Utopia is impossible, but with technological advancements, governments, time after time, have tried to make real this dream that becomes a nightmare ending in war, famine, and oppression.

Utopian thinking was questioned by artists and from this, the genre “Dystopia” was born.

Dystopia is Greek for “The not good place.”

Here is a list of Dystopian books that the video explores:

After the Second World War, we began to see Dystopian science fiction in films, comics, and games.

animation - drawing of details of films V for Vendetta and The Handmaid's Tale
V for Vendetta and The Handmaid’s Tale show how easily our rights could disappear in a crisis. (Image: via TedED YouTube /Screenshot)

The video ends by getting us to think back to the perfect world we imagined, and think about what it would take to achieve — how would you make people cooperate? How would you make sure it lasted?

Alex Gendler leaves us with the final thought:

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