The award-winning documentary Hard to Believe, which exposes the state-sanctioned organ harvesting of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in China, premiered at the Hoboken International Film Festival in New York City on June 4.
Directed by Emmy Award winner Ken Stone, this in-depth investigation made a profound impact on the audience at the Paramount Theatre.
According to one of the documentary’s producers, Kay Rubacek, the response from the VIP screening on June 3 was enthusiastic, and the public screening the next day was so well attended that the theatre had to add extra seats.
Audience Moved to Tears
Ms. Rubacek explained the reason for making the film: “This is such a serious crime that the world hasn’t been paying enough attention to. In the film, we don’t only investigate the crime to prove that it is happening […], we investigate the next step, which is why so few people are paying attention, and that is even more shocking.
“This has been going on for so long. [audience members] have been crying after watching the film.” She added that some viewers have expressed remorse for ignoring Falun Gong practitioners who hand out flyers on the street to raise awareness of the brutality of the persecution.
Oriana D’Agostino, assistant director of the Hoboken International Film Festival, noted, “This documentary Hard to Believe is brilliant. It really touched my heart. I just can’t believe the pain and the suffering that the Chinese people have suffered during their lifetime. This issue is very disheartening, but at the same time, it makes me want to stand up [and take action].”
“This human rights violation is among the greatest of atrocities. The people who are doing this are evil doctors. It’s like the Nazis; I can’t believe what I just saw on the big screen. I want to join the campaign and spread the word and help make a difference,” said Ms. D’Agostino.
Comparison to Nazi Crimes
Penny Stoil, founder of Projects Plus, Inc. which has raised funds for more than 800 charities since 1972, remarked, “I think the documentary is powerful, is beautifully and truthfully presented, and is very moving.”
“Everything (in the documentary) shocked me, but I never understood that they actually took these organs while people are still alive. That is the most unbearable to me,” Ms. Stoil said. “It’s shocking that we haven’t paid more attention in this country. We pay attention to world democracy and attention to this symbol of human rights, but not the facts about them.”
People from All Walks of Life Shaken by Organ Harvesting Crimes
Audience members of all ages and backgrounds were stunned by the crimes taking place in China. Many of them signed the petition calling for the end of forced organ harvesting, and some talked to Falun Gong practitioners after the screening for more information on the persecution.
Deb Wendolousky from Rhode Island commented that it was an outrage for 65,000 people within a year to have their organs harvested while they were still alive.
She called on those who need transplants not to obtain organs from China. “All lives are equally important, and one should not be killed to save another,” she said.