First published in the Jan.13 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
The human rights advocacy film, “Unsilenced,” will make its theatrical release at the Pasadena Laemmle on Jan. 21 with the co-sponsorship of Amnesty International Group 22, which hopes to raise awareness about human rights in China ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
Mother and daughter team Wen Chen and Sylvia Wang, activists for Amnesty International Group 22 who live in Pasadena, will host a Q&A session on behalf of the nonprofit organization after the opening night show. Chen and Wang will answer audience questions about human rights in China and raise awareness about individuals such as Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been “disappeared” for years in China.
“Unsilenced” tells the tale of courage and resilience of an American journalist and a group of young Chinese in the face of a state propaganda machine, according to a statement about the film.
Based on true events, “Unsilenced” follows Wang, a student at an elite university in Beijing, and Daniel, a cynical American reporter, as they attempt to navigate the 1999 order that banned Falun Gong in China and remains in effect to this day. With the risk of prison, torture and even death looming over them, they must all make sacrifices to protect what’s true at all costs.
“When the Chinese communist regime launches a brutal crackdown against 100 million citizens, a jaded American reporter teams up with a handful of innocent students to expose one of the largest human rights violations that continues to this day,” the statement said.
Peabody Award-winning director Leon Lee brings the feature film that exposes how lies are fabricated and voices of dissent are crushed by the state propaganda machine. The film explores the role journalists play in times of oppression for “journalism can never be silent.”
The film stars Sam Trammell and Anastasia Lin, and an ex-special forces operative turned Taiwanese actor, Tzu-Chiang Wang. Zhen Pictures will open “Unsilenced” theatrically across the United States on Jan. 21.
Chen is a staff scientist for Caltech and a board member of Caltech Women in Biology and Biological Engineering. Wang is a former student of Pasadena High School and is a freshman at Caltech. They will provide people a chance to sign petitions for “prisoners of conscience” and teach other ways people can try to make a difference in advocating for human rights.