Canadian Cinematographer: Purity of Mind Brings Inspiration and Wisdom

( Evan Ning is a Canadian cinematographer and lighting designer. He has participated in filming many notable Hollywood films, including films produced by Disney, Warner Brothers and Netflix. He also served as the director of photography for many Falun Dafa truth-clarification films. Evan started practicing Falun Dafa in China when he was young. How did he become so talented?

Evan Ning, Canadian cinematographer and lighting designer


Understanding What It Means to Cultivate Oneself

Evan said, “I wore glasses since the age of four and had eight hundred and fifty degrees of congenital amblyopia. The doctors said I would wear glasses for the rest of my life. A distant relative came to visit us in the summer of 1996 while I was in elementary school. He told my family that Falun Dafa was great and suggested we try it.

“My eyes started to feel uncomfortable wearing my glasses while watching Master Li’s nine-day video lectures [the introduction and in-depth overview of Falun Dafa cultivation practice]. I stopped wearing them and my family was worried that my eyesight had worsened. When they took me for a checkup, it turned out that I was able to read the bottom line of the vision chart, and my vision was normal.”

Evan wondered what the purpose of cultivation was. Master Li said that cultivation is to return to one’s true origin. “Master is teaching us to be better people. I accompanied my parents to group [exercise] practice sites and Fa study. I listened as the adults talked about their cultivation tribulations. I felt that the adults truly wanted to be better people.”

Evan practiced the Falun Dafa exercises with other practitioners at a park every weekend. A man from another qigong practice came over one day and told the Falun Dafa coordinator, “Falun Dafa practitioners cannot practice the exercises here. This is our spot.”

Evan recalled, “The coordinator did not get angry. He simply told the other practitioners to move to another spot.

“The coordinator recounted the event that evening and said something that left a deep impression on me: ‘There are many qigong practices out there and how are we different from them? We are different because we cultivate our xinxing.’”

The adult practitioners adhered to Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and being in that environment influenced Evan’s personality. “My understanding at that time was that I should be kind to others regardless of how I’m treated. My teacher wrote in my middle school yearbook, “Evan is a boy filled with compassion and sympathy.”


Exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s Lies

Evan often told his classmates the truth about Falun Dafa after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started a nationwide crackdown on practitioners on July 20, 1999.

Evan knew the CCP was persecuting Falun Dafa but he did not truly know how evil the CCP was since he was still young. That is, not until one day when a police officer came to see his father. Evan’s father was a very skilled surgeon who’d saved the life of that policeman’s mother. The policeman said, “You saved my mother’s life and I would like to repay you. I want to let you know that your daily routine, letters, Internet browsing history and phone calls are being monitored.”

Evan said, “We were shocked when my father told us about it. We started to take notice and realised that we were being followed, our letters were opened and there was always an echo during our phone conversations.”

However, Evan never stopped telling people the truth about Falun Dafa and the persecution. “We needed to be smart and efficient when talking to people about Falun Dafa. We distributed truth-clarification CDs wrapped inside the packages of pop songs to every door when there wasn’t anyone on the streets.”

A supervisor at the hospital called Evan’s father one weekend in 2000. He told him to bring his entire family to the hospital’s security unit. They were taken to a large meeting room filled with reporters and cameramen from the Jiangxi Province Television Station. Since Evan’s father never took kickbacks and was humble, many patients and doctors’ families approached his father to perform surgeries. The provincial television station wanted to use his father’s good reputation to make a program to slander Falun Dafa.

Evan’s father said he wanted to chat for a bit before recording the program. He told them, “Anyone who has read Zhuan Falun even once, knows that the media’s propaganda is fake.” His father described how everyone in his family benefited after they began practicing Falun Dafa, including how Evan’s vision returned to normal. The reporter asked for Evan’s cultivation insights. Evan said, “I practice Falun Dafa’s five sets of exercises and Master Li teaches us how to be better people. I abide by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in my daily life. It’s that simple.”

The reporter gave up the idea of slandering Falun Dafa after listening to the benefits Falun Dafa brought to Evan’s family.


Pursuing a Film Career to Tell People About Falun Dafa

The film industry has an established hierarchy. It was hard for Evan, since people in the film industry gave only their friends and family opportunities in the industry. Evan majored in finance, and no one in his family worked in the film industry. Yet he chose to pursue a career in the movie industry so he could tell people the truth about Falun Dafa through films.

“Everyone already had their assignments when I entered the film set on the first day. No one acknowledged my existence. I stood there not knowing what to do. My boss said to me over the intercom that I need not report for work tomorrow. I felt very depressed when I went home that night.”

Evan realised that it wasn’t just any ordinary job. He needed to learn the skillsets the film industry needed so he could help validate Dafa. He was determined to persist and felt that he would succeed.

He said, “Master told us to be hardworking and not to nitpick. I was a newbie in the beginning, but I never ceased learning. I kept detailed notes of the set and routine and wrote down names of various tools and equipment. I learned fast and was very responsible. I started to blend in with the crew members at different sets. I was soon hired whenever a new film crew was assembled.”

Evan (second on left) participating in filming a movie.


Upgrading Xinxing Leads to Skillset Improvement

Evan said, “I used to read books about valuing medical ethics for those practicing medicine, and martial arts ethics for those practicing martial arts.”

After he began practicing Falun Dafa, he realized, “There must first be an upgrade in my xinxing. I need to become more compassionate and have consideration for others before I can make a breakthrough in my skills.”

The relationship between Evan and director needed to be in sync. One time the director told Evan where to set up the camera and what kind of lens to use.

“I initially thought the director should just tell me what kind of effect he wanted and it was my job to achieve that effect without him telling me what to do. However, I realised that this mentality was wrong. As a Falun Dafa practitioner, I need to have consideration for others. I also realised that I was looking down on the director when I felt I could do a better job than him.”

Evan tried to understand the situation from the director’s perspective. “I tried to achieve an optimal picture and did my best to achieve the director’s point of view. When I put myself in his shoes, the results exceeded my expectations. My mentality and perspective broadened when my heart became more tolerant of others.”

Evan also shared an experience he had while filming movies related to Falun Dafa.

“All the crew members wanted to raise awareness about the ongoing persecution. The power went out while we filmed at Toronto University. We were unable to access any light switches. I thought this was an opportunity for me to hone my skills since I needed to figure out what to do, in order to get the shooting done.

“Each set was already in place and everyone was waiting to start filming. I knew I needed to cooperate with others so I surveyed my surroundings. I remained calm and the Divine bestowed wisdom on me. I managed to film that scene by replacing the lighting lamps with my self-charging video lights. The director was very satisfied with the results.

“On my way back, I realised that if I cooperate unconditionally, I’ll be granted inspiration and wisdom. My ability to improvise got better and my skillset improved. I’ve encountered fewer obstacles since I realised this.”

Evan kept detailed records and documented how the film was produced, in order to help other practitioners involved in films. “I’m not the only one who needs to have professional skills. Other participants should be experienced as well.”

Evan’s experiences exemplify a practitioner’s state of being altruistic and non-contentious. Viewers can also feel the purity and luminous inner world through Evan’s works. He said, “Cultivation is part of my life. Cultivation may seem like nothing out of the ordinary but in reality it is special and wonderful.”